AUGUST 23, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—It seems to me that I have never received so much literature on the subject of conservation as I have this year. The National Forest Recreation Association has just sent me a pamphlet, and in this pamphlet they point out that, because of lack of appropriations to our Forest Service, we the people are in danger of losing the recreational facilities that are used by so many of us.
Many of these camp sites are no longer clean and sanitary, and therefore not safe places to camp. Congress has neglected to give sufficient money for the purpose of increasing camping-ground areas and making in the forests small recreational areas for picnickers. This means that the outdoor recreation which so many people could have at low cost is not as widely available as it should be.
The money which comes in from the forests, which far exceeds the expenses of wise administration and improvement of the recreational facilities, is actually simply going into the general fund, and an equivalent is not being appropriated by Congress for the use of the Forest Service.
Perhaps even more important than providing recreational facilities is the protection against fire. Wherever fire sweeps the forests, grazing ranges are ruined. Water sources are injured, also. People must realize that the national forests belong to us, the people, and when Congress neglects them, it is because they think we do not care. It is vastly important that we let them know that it does matter to us how our natural resources are being preserved.
* * *
I want to tell you more about the Fifth International Congress for Mental Health in Toronto, where I spoke the other day. Fifty-four nations were represented, and the papers presented were of a very high order.
I was introduced by a gentleman from Turkey who is a psychiatrist, Mayor of Istanbul and Governor of that province. I found myself talking to a man from the Sudan, and there was a varied group of men and women from throughout the world, including four Soviet representatives—which gave one the feeling that, in science and medicine, perhaps we would find a bridge to greater understanding. More confidence in ourselves and therefore less suspicion of others may be one of the ways we can begin to move toward a more peaceful world.
My trip up to Toronto and back produced two rather pleasant gentlemen as traveling companions. One was from Atlanta. He was going on a holiday. He was much involved in politics and assured me that the present Governor Talmadge of Georgia was much more able than his predecessor of that name. I only wish I could believe him. Much that he told me of Atlanta was of interest, and he seemed to have a real interest in Warm Springs.
He even was interested in our New York State politics. He wished my son Franklin well in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor, though he said he hoped Franklin would come down and speak in Georgia, for now he was afraid people thought him a little too radical perhaps than they liked.
On the trip back, I met a man from Chicago whose wife I had met when she was working in Adlai Stevenson's office during the 1952 campaign. Since taxies were scarce at New York's Idlewild Airport because of the rain, we shared one coming into town.