- September 30, 1929 Conservation Department Report
Page 53 – Reforestation Areas
The so-called Hewitt Reforestation Bill (Chapter 195 of the Laws of 1929), which was passed by the last legislature and signed by the Governor early in the spring, provided the sum of $100,000 for the acquisition and reforestation of abandoned and idle lands outside of the Forest Preserve Counties.
The bill provides that no area of less than 500 contiguous acres may be acquired. For the reason that these areas are made up of lands which have once been cleared for agricultural purposes, it will be appreciated that the acquisition of blocks of over 500 acres involves negotiations with several owners, in some cases running as high as seven or eight for each area.
In acquiring this class of land, it is necessary to first secure provisional options and when the required area has been optioned, to change those options into contracts which, of course, must be made conditional upon the approval of title to the legal acreage.
The Hewitt Law became effective March 26, 1929 and work was begun promptly under this program. Before the end of September areas in Chanango, Cortland, and Otsego counties totaling 1,951,57 acres had been contracted for, surveyed and final payment made upon the approval of title by the Attorney General. The lands acquired in these counties are located on hill-tops at elevations ranging from 1,800 to over 2,000 feet. Generally, they are about two-thirds open land and the reforestation of the open portions of these lands was completed during the fall planting season. The average price per acre for lands acquired and paid for under this program is $3.08/ Prices for lands acquired and under contract have ranged between $3.00 and $3.50 per acre. The areas actually acquired are as follows:
Chenango County Reforestation Area No. 1, Town of McDonough, one parcel – 564.73 acres.
Cortland County Reforestation Area No. 1, Town of Scott, one parcel – 529.73 acres.
Otsego County Reforestation Area No. 1, Town of Roseboom, six parcels – 857.66 acres.
Total – eight parcels aggregating 1,951.57 acres.
Contracts have ben secured, referred to the Department of Law and surveys are in progress for additional areas as follows:
Two additional contracts totaling 214 acres for Otsego County Reforestation Area No. 1
Six contracts in the Town of Cherry Valley, totaling 658 acres have been secured for Otsego County Reforestation Area No. 2.
Five contracts in the Town of Brookfield, totaling 1,297.40 acres have been secured for Madison County Reforestation Area No. 1
Another contract for 575 acres in the Town of Lebanon was secured for Madison County Reforestation Area No. 2.
At the close of the purchase year, negotiations were also pending for two additional areas in Schoharie county and a third area in Otsego county, together with a large number of scattering parcels under the required acreage in extent.
Land acquisition activities under the reforestation program between the passage of the bill last March and the end of the land acquisition year on September 30, 1929, may be summarized as follows:
Eight parcels aggregating 1,951.57 acres in three counties have been paid for and planted. The average cost of these lands is $3.08 per acre. Contracts have been executed for 13 other parcels in four counties, the total area of lands under contract and actually paid for is 4,695.57 acres, the average price of which is $3.11 per acre.
Adirondack Preserve 1,982,924.87
Catskill Preserve 176,440.95
Total Area September 30, 1929 2,159,365.82