of Governor Herbert R. O'Conor 131
issued a proclamation setting aside the area named in this Chapter as a wild
And now, I should like to inform you exactly what principles have guided,
and will continue to guide, the present State Administration in every step
affecting Conservation. When I took office, I was impressed with two salient
facts, which I was convinced were responsible, in no small degree, for the
State's failure to take full advantage of our natural resources.
The first thing, apparent to me, was the marked difference of opinion be-
tween persons interested in the tidewater fisheries and the sportsmen's groups.
The second, political considerations had apparently entered into the handl-
ing of Conservation questions and had affected the enforcement of existing
With respect to the first consideration, it was clear to me that the last
Legislature was not ready to pass any of the several proposed measures, in the
form in which they were submitted. A continuation of the old set-up would,
to my mind, have accomplished nothing. Basing my proposal on the firm belief
that decided betterment would be noted if we started off by having each group
concentrated on its own problems, rather than have a hopeless conflict between
the diverse interests, I submitted to the Legislature two bills which would
separate the handling of tidewater questions from those affecting in-land fish
and up-land game.
The magnitude of the problems involved in the protection and development
of our tidewater industries; the extensive commercial interests connected there-
with; the importance in terms of employment to thousands of our citizens, made
it advisable, in my opinion, to separate the responsibility for the conduct of a
tidewater fisheries department, from that of the State Game and Inland Fish
Commissions than would be possible if one Commission had the responsibility
effort and attention to its particular problems on the part of each of these
commissions than would be possible if one Commission had the responsibility
of such different interests and activities. Whether at a later date, a general
coordination of «very kind of conservation activity, under a department of
natural resources, should be made remains to be seen. If. in the light of further
experience, such a change is shown to be advisable, I will be the first one for
it. But, in the light of conditions as they existed last winter, I preferred to
make as much progress as possible at this time. I believe that any fair-minded
observer will agree that conditions have improved since, in effect, we have been
operating for more than six months under a divided conservation set-up.
It may be argued that the tidewater interests should be administered by
a three-man, rather than a five-man commission. But what is more import-
ant, in my opinion, is the caliber of the men appointed to such a commission,
whether it be three or five in number.
I am gratified to report to you that in the present Conservation Commis-
sion, consisting of Edwin Warfield, Jr., Robert T. Harrison, and Allan A.
Sollers, we have experienced, sound and forward-looking officials, in support
of whom I intend to stand unflinchingly for the best interests of conservation.
And that brings me to a discussion of the second of the two underlying
faults which heretofore affected conservation; namely, political considerations.
Not in a single instance, since the present two Commissions have assumed
their office, have I attempted to inject political influence in the consideration
of their problems. Furthermore, there has been no suggestion of the injec-