WNY Outdoors Blog

Friday, February 19, 2010

NY to close parks


NY to close parks due to budget gap

Two state parks in Erie County, two in Niagara County, and one in Chautauqua County are on a list of 41 parks and 14 historic sites that are recommended for closing in 2010 because of New York’s fiscal crisis.
Two other parks — one in Niagara County and one in Cattaraugus County — are among 23 parks and one historic site facing a reduction in hours or attractions if Gov. David Paterson’s executive budget is enacted.
The recommended closings are: Knox Farm State Park and Woodlawn Beach State Park in Erie County; Joseph Davis State Park and Wilson-Tuscarora State Park in Niagara County; and Long Point State Park in Chautauqua County.

Reduced services are recommended at Niagara Falls State Park and Allegany State Park in Cattaraugus County.

Niagara’s interpretive programs would be reduced. At Allegany State Park, recommendations include closing the Quaker Area Swim Beach, closing the Quaker Cabins Area on Dec. 1, eliminating winter trail maintenance, and reducing recreation programs.

Oak Orchard State Marine Park in Orleans County also is on the closing list.
In a statement Friday, Paterson said the closures and cutbacks will help the state close an $8.2 billion deficit as it deals with “an historic fiscal crisis of unprecedented magnitude.”

Historic sites set for closing include a number associated with New York’s connection with the Revolutionary War - Bennington Battlefield in the Capital Region, Fort Ontario in Oswego, Herkimer Home in Herkimer County, Oriskany Battlefield in Oneida County and Newtown Battlefield outside Elmira.
The list was announced by the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

A citizens group opposed to the closings, the Albany-based Parks & Trails New York, is calling on the state Legislature “to restore $11 million to the State Parks’ operating budget that will allow parks to remain open and help New York’s communities through the current economic crisis.”

The group says another 34 state parks will close if $5 million slated for park operations in the Environmental Protection Fund is not enacted.

It says state parks and historic sites generate $1.9 billion annually in economic activity statewide and account for 20,000 non-park jobs.
Read the rest here

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