The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

[This column has emendations. View original version]


NEW YORK—I have just been reading an article in The New York Times on the Northway route. This is Question No. 2 on the New York ballot to be voted in the November 3rd election—"a proposed amendment to Section 1 of Article 14 of the Constitution in relation to interstate route highways on forest preserve lands." The people of the state will have to decide on this question and it is not a very easy one to decide.

This particular article gives both sides very fairly but leaves out one or two points which have been put to me. The Adirondack forest preserve is 2,300,000 acres of woodland scattered inside an imaginery blue line that circles 6,000,000 acres of mountain land between the Mohawk Valley and the St. Lawrence River, the Vermont border and Lake Ontario. There is much private property held in this area and only the state land is preserve land.

A number of the conservation groups are opposed to cutting into this preserve land at any point. They feel that each time we take even a little land away, and in this case the number of acres is rather small, we nevertheless cut off a part of the preserve and make it useless as a shelter for wildlife and probably make it easier to do it again in the future.

I am told that I should not oppose this because my husband backed a road up Whiteface Mountain, which at the time many conservationists thought was a great mistake and which is now found to be useful to many vacationists. That was in the past. I cannot judge now by what my husband did in the past.

I am also told that this road will be cheaper to build, will be an expressway and alternate highway which is much needed, that it will open up an area which needs to be opened up for the economic interests of the state, that the proposed Champlain route is much more expensive, will siphon off people and make it easier for them to vacation in Vermont instead of staying in New York State and that it will not serve the economic interests of the state as well.

I must say that when four governors—two Republicans and two Democrats—are in favor of the Northway route it shakes my confidence in my own judgment on this subject considerably. Even more am I disturbed by the fact that one of the younger members of my family in whose judgment I have great confidence and who has worked in the Adirondacks for sometime tells me I am wrong.

The map shows me that the amount of preserve land to be cut away from the main portion will be fairly small, but nevertheless I shall vote against this amendment for the simple reason that basically I am against the temptation of cutting down on these areas which we need to preserve our water supply and wildlife and camping areas for the future.

It is easy to find reasons why we should open up areas for economic purposes, and I realize that we have added to our preserve land in the last few years, but our population is growing and is making it harder and harder to keep wild land. I just have a feeling that it is more important for the future of our nation that we give away none of the land which we have wisely set aside for the preservation of nature and wild life.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 24, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.