“Remember when the Rutland Railroad was the center of activity in Chateaugay. Age was no obstacle in obtaining employment. All that was necessary was a pick and shovel, strong arms, and a strong back.”
To the Editor of the New York Times:
The dispatches given below are of bad omen to those who are interested in the preservation of the Adirondack Forests, or what is left of them:
“ALBANY, June 13.–The Saranac and Lake Placid Railroad Company was incorporated today in the Secretary of State’s office. The road will be constructed from the southerly terminus of the Chateauguay [sic] Railroad in Harretstown [sic], Franklin County, to the village of Lake Placid; a distance of ten miles. Capital, $100,000. Among the incorporators are Smith M. Weed, LeGrand B. Cannon, George S. Weed, and Alvin L. Inman.
“UTICA, June 15.–A movement is on foot among capitalists of Northern Herkimer County and elsewhwere, of which C. V. B. Barse of Olean, N.Y., is one of the principal leaders, for the purchase of the Herkimer, Newport and Poland Narrow-Gauge Railroad. A considerable portion of the stock has already been secured at 50 cents on the dollar, and it is believed by the date of the annual meeting for the election of officers on June 24 a sufficient amount will have been obtained to give the new stockholders a controlling interest. It is their intention, should they get control, to change the road from a narrow gauge to standard gauge, and extend it into the heart of the Adirondacks.”
The Forest commission recognizes in its report for 1888 the destructive agency of the building and operation of railroads in the wilderness. It says: “The extension of railways into the forest preserve proper cannot but be regarded as a calamity. * * * If the forests are to be preserved one thing is certain, railroad building among the forests must be stopped, and to that end the commission respectfully recommend that the present railroad law be amended by enacting that in future all building of railways on State lands within the forest preserve be prohibited. and that all existing laws permitting State land to be taken as a right of way by railroad companies be repealed.”
We know from sad experience that some of the names mentioned above are a guarantee that the mischievous work proposed will be carried out successfully. Those who wish to preserve our forests, though backed by almost the whole body of the people, seem to make little progress against the comparatively small number who are financially interested in their destruction. The latter are led by material inducements, are well organized and ceaseless in activity, and know just what they wat and the means, foul or fair, by which to attain it.
Through the selfishness of these few the people in general are suffering a loss that can never be made good to them. Mountains once denuded by axe and fire are never clothed again. THE TIMES and its allies must gird themselves for a new fight against these despoilers of the public domain.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Friday, June 20, 1890.