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COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE
STATE FOREST ADMINISTRATION WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE STATE
OF NEW YORK
By James W. TOUMEY, New Haven, Conn.
EW YORK is in the peculiar put this property out of reach and into
position of having the largest safety.
and best-timbered state forest Soon after this publication is in the preserve of any State in the Union, and, hands of the reader the voters of New at the same time, has a constitutional York will vote for delegates to a State provision which prohibits the cutting or Constitutional Convention to be callea utilization of a single stick of timber in next May. All those interested in the them for any purpose whatsoever. Mil forests of the State should exercise lions of feet of good timber of high their influence to secure a change in value are going to waste because of this section VII, article 7 of the constitution foolish constitutional provision. I say which relates to the State preserves. " foolish," because, if the forests were The outgoing Legislature passed a rightly handled, the removal of the ma proposed amendment to this section and ture and burned timber and other ma article of the constitution. This amendterial taken out in the process of thin ment under usual procedure will be subning would not only be the source of mitted to the incoming Legislature, and, a large revenue but would also improve if approved by them and by the Govthe preserves as a great forest prop ernor, will then be put before the peoerty, as a pleasure ground for the peo- ple as a referendum. In any event, ple, as a game refuge, and, at the same therefore, a change of the forestry protime, not reduce its value as a protec vision of the New York Constitution tion to the headwaters of the most im will soon be submitted to her voters and portant rivers in the State.
must be acted upon. When the preserves were first estab This question is now before the peolished, their organization and manage- ple of New York: Should the forest ment came under the political spoils sys- products from 1,600,000 acres of forest tem of the State and they have con property owned by the State be longer tinued under this system up to the pres- permitted to go to waste and rot on the ent time. Although the constitutional ground? Or should they be utilized provision, which prohibits the cutting or and the receipts from their sale used utilization of timber on the preserves to adequately protect and improve the has, in the opinion of the writer, saved preserves? The answer to the first part the State preserves from unregulated of this question is No or it is Yes, deexploitations and destruction in the pending entirely upon whether the peopast, are the people of New York satis- ple of New York are going to permit field with a system of political control the forest preserves to remain a politiwhich makes it necessary to prohibit cal football to be booted back and forth cutting altogether or else subject the by party politicians, or whether they public forests to the possibility of are going to remove them by constitudestruction?
tional provision from possible future The constitutional prohibition of cut control by political tricksters. So long ting in the State preserves was enacted as political appointees in control of the in 1894. There had just previously preserves candidly state that the first been many scandals in the Administra question they ask a forest ranger is, tion of the Forest Preserves, hence "Are you a Democrat or a Republithere was then a seeming necessity to can?"; so long as large areas remain
NEW YORK STATE FORESTRY ASSOCIATION
unprotected because the appointing direct and clear a manner as I am able powers are squabbling over " who shall what it is necessary for New York to be appointed ; so long as the political do in order that she may safely remove machines of the counties dictate the ap the present constitutional restriction to pointment of rangers and guards, it is the cutting of timber and the proper unsafe to remove the present constitu management of the forest preserves. tional provision that prohibits the cut 1. She must create a State Forest ting of timber on the preserves.
Service. There should be a department Are the citizens of New York going of forests separate from the administo continue to withhold their valuable tration of waters, fish and game or any preserves from forest management be other resource. Past experience in cause they dare not trust them to the many States has clearly demonstrated
whom they themselves put in that wherever forestry is combined with charge? Are the citizens of New York the administration of fish, game and going to prohibit a sane management of other resources but little progress has 1,600,000 acres of forest property, been made in forestry. Oregon tried which means the absolute waste of mil it, but it was soon abandoned for an lions of dollars belonging to the State, independent department. West Virbecause they cannot trust themselves to ginia and Alabama have the administra the proper management of this prop tion of their forests combined with the erty? I believe that they are not. I do administration of other resources and believe that they will take the wiser largely because of it have made little course and annul the present constitu no progress in forestry in recent tional restrictions that prevent the cut years. New York is the most conspicuting of timber and the organization of ous example of this wretched policy. the preserves for forest management. The writer has been a careful student At the same time, however, I believe of the progress of forestry in New they will guard them by constitutional York for nearly two decades and freely provisions which absolutely remove admits that the situation is worse to-day them from party spoils or political than at any other time during the past control.
decade. If the citizens of New York Many people in New York are very desire an improvement over the presskeptical as to the possibility of remov ent, the very first thing neces
essary is ing the preserves from under the dam the creation of an independent State nable and blighting influence of party forest service. spoils. If I thought for a moment that All of the States that are moving this could not be done, I should say, forward in forestry have independent let the present constitutional provision forestry departments.
Such departremain as it is : let the timber rot on ments now exist in Maine, New Hampthe ground; let the forests remain un shire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Conthinned ; let them go unmanaged until necticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the citizens of the State feel that they Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Mincan trust themselves to adequately pro nesota, Kentucky, Tennessee, North tect and manage their own property. If Carolina, Washington, Oregon and the people of New York want to re California. I beg to ask the question, move the preserves from political con “ Is it not time that New York with her trol and management, if the people of splendid forest preserves, now the prey New York want to improve the pre of political spoils, turned to her little serves and make them more fully serve neighbors. Vermont and New Hampthe public, they can do so. All that it shire, and learned how they, with is necessary for them to do is to formu meager appropriations, are moving forlate a sound forest policy and stand ward at a rapid pace in the administrasolidly behind the forest officials in the tion of their forests?" maintenance and improvement of the The present Conservation Commisforests.
sion of New York has, in the judgIt is my purpose to set forth in as ment of the writer, been able to ac
York is getting the service of her greatest men as members of her Board of Regents for the benefit of education. She is also getting the best of her men and women as members of charitable boards to look after these institutions. This shows what can be done when people, who are unselfish, are interested. What is going on in education and charity can take place in forestry if a similar organization is adopted. What the situation needs is the services of a commission of big, free men, nonpartisan and public spirited, who can put into effect and maintain a rational forest policy.
complish little in forestry. How can it? The Commission is charged with such broad duties that they have no time to initiate and little time to carry out the work.
Water power, water supply, drainage, fish production, fish and game protection, as well as all land and forest matters, OCcupy its time.
It is so large that it clogs with work. The men can have no first-hand knowledge. The administration has been made more ineffective by cutting down of the appropriations; $50,000 in fire protection and $10,000 in reforestation work in 1914.
2. The State Forest Service must be in charge of five persons known as Commissioners.
Selection of a Commission. The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, the Empire State Forest Products Association, and the New York State Forestry Association shall each select one member. The Governor of the State shall appoint two commissioners, one of whom shall be a regularly appointed and serving professor of forestry in a college or university of the State, and the other shall be a business man not engaged in the manufacturing of wood, lumber or its products. Any such commissioner not already receiving a salary paid by the State shall be entitled to pay for his services at the rate of $15 per day for time actually employed, but during no fiscal
year to exceed $500 each. The terms of office of the commissioners should be so arranged at the outset as to expire at different times, and also so arranged that neither the whole commission nor a majority of its members change in any year. All commissioners shall be entitled to their necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their official duties. Each commissioner shall file with the State Comptroller a
bond with sufficient surety to the amount of $10,000.
Such a commission would be nonpolitical in character; personal interests would be avoided; public interest would predominate; such a commission would ensure safety in the management of the State preserves under a rational forest policy. Experience shows that New
Powers of the Commission.
1. They shall elect one of their members chairman and another vice-chair
Such officers shall continue in office one year or until their successors are elected.
2. They shall appoint a State Forester who shall act as secretary of the board. He shall be a technically trained forester, a graduate of a forest school, which offers not less than a four-year undergraduate or a two-year graduate course in forestry, and shall have had not less than five years' experience in practical forestry. His salary shall be $4,000 per annum. The State Forester shall serve at the option of the State Forestry Commission. He shall be provided with suitable offices and allowed necessary traveling expenses while on official business.
3. They may designate two of their number to act with the chairman of the Commission as an Executive Committee. Said committee shall have power to act on such matters as may be designated by the Commission.
4. Meetings shall be held once each month and at such other times as may be called by the chairman or requested by a majority of the Commission.
5. They shall have the care, control and supervision of the forest preserves and all parks and reservations herein described.
6. They shall make all necessary rules and regulations for the enforcement of the provision of this article, and when any such rules are filed in the