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Thread: REALLY bad news - Governor's list of NY park closures

  1. #1
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    REALLY bad news - Governor's list of NY park closures

    For Immediate Release: February 19, 2010
    Contact: Marissa Shorenstein | marissa.shorenstein@chamber.state.ny.us | 518.474.8418 | 212.681.4640


    STATEMENTS FROM GOVERNOR DAVID A. PATERSON AND COMMISSIONER CAROL ASH

    The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today put forward a recommended list of closures and service reductions in order to achieve its 2010-11 agency savings target and help address the State’s historic fiscal difficulties.

    Governor David A. Paterson issued the following statement:

    “New York faces an historic fiscal crisis of unprecedented magnitude. It has demanded many difficult but necessary decisions to help ensure the fiscal integrity of our State. The unfortunate reality of closing an $8.2 billion deficit is that there is less money available for many worthy services and programs. In an environment when we have to cut funding to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and social services, no area of State spending, including parks and historic sites, could be exempt from reductions. We cannot mortgage our State’s financial future through further gimmicks or avoidance behavior. Spending cuts, however difficult, are needed in order to put New York on the road to fiscal recovery. Going forward through the budget process, I look forward to a productive dialogue with the Legislature on parks and historic sites, as well as other issues.”

    OPRHP Commissioner Carol Ash issued the following statement:

    “The 2010-11 Executive Budget included reductions to every area of State spending. As such, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has today put forward proposed closures and service reductions to meet its agency savings target. These actions were not recommended lightly, but they are necessary to address our State’s extraordinary fiscal difficulties.”

    ###

    A fact sheet on the proposed closures and service reductions is included below:

    The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today put forward a list of closures and service reductions in order to achieve its proposed 2010-11 agency savings target and help address the State’s historic fiscal difficulties. As part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit, the 2010-11 Executive Budget included necessary cost reductions to each executive State agency, as well as cuts to education, health care, social services, and every other area of State spending.

    OPRHP’s plan includes the closure of 41 parks and 14 historic sites, and service reductions at 23 parks and 1 historic site.

    The plan also assumes $4 million in park and historic site fee increases that will be identified at a later date, and the use of $5 million in funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to finance OPRHP operations. These two actions were part of the 21-day amendments to the Executive Budget and are intended to reduce the number of parks and historic sites subject to closures and service reductions.

    Specific recommended closures and service reductions are detailed below:

    Long Island

    Brookhaven State Park Suffolk Close Park
    Bethpage State Park Suffolk Eliminate Winter Sports; Reduce picnic area and polo field
    Caleb Smith State Park Preserve Suffolk Close Park
    Cold Spring Harbor State Park Suffolk Close Park
    Connetquot River State Park Suffolk Close Weekdays
    Heckscher State Park Suffolk Close Swimming Pool
    Jones Beach State Park Nassau Close West Swimming Pool
    Eliminate July 4th fireworks
    Montauk Downs State Park Suffolk Close Swimming Pool
    Nissequogue River State Park Suffolk Close Park
    Orient Beach State Park Suffolk Close Park
    Trail View State Park Suffolk Close Park

    New York City Region

    Bayswater Point State Park Queens Close Park
    Riverbank State Park New York Reduce Operating Hours
    Close Outdoor Swimming Pool;
    Eliminate Seniors Classes, and
    Community/Cultural Events
    Palisades Region

    Fort Montgomery Historic Site Orange Close Historic Site
    Harriman SP– Anthony Wayne Orange Close Park Area
    Harriman SP – Group Camps Orange Reduce Maintenance
    High Tor State Park Rockland Close Pool
    Knox Headquarters Historic Site Orange Close Historic Site
    New Windsor Cantonment SHS Orange Close Historic Site
    Schunnemunk State Park Orange Close Park
    Stony Point State Historic Site Orange Close Historic Site
    Tallman Mountain State Park Rockland Close Pool

    Taconic Region

    Donald J. Trump State Park Westchester Close Park
    FDR (Roosevelt) State Park Westchester Reduce Swimming Pool Season
    Hudson Highlands State Park Putnam Close Arden Point Area
    James Baird State Park Dutchess Reduce Golf Course Season
    Mills Norrie State Park Dutchess Reduce Golf Course Season
    Olana State Historic Site Columbia Close 2 Days per Week
    Philipse Manor Hall Historic Site Westchester Close Historic Site
    Rockefeller State Park Preserve Westchester Eliminate Interpretive Programs
    Taconic Outdoor Education Center Putnam Eliminate Interpretive Programs
    Taconic State Park – Rudd Pond Dutchess Close Rudd Pond Area
    Wonder Lake State Park Putnam Close Park

    Saratoga-Capital Region

    Bennington Battlefield State Park Rensselaer Close Historic Site
    Hudson River Islands State Park Rensselaer Close Park
    John Boyd Thacher State Park Albany Close Park
    John Brown Farm Historic Site Essex Close Historic Site
    Johnson Hall State Historic Site Fulton Close Historic Site
    Max V. Shaul State Park Schoharie Close Park
    Schodack Island State Park Rensselaer Close Park
    Schuyler Mansion Historic Site Albany Close Historic Site
    Schoharie Crossing Historic Site Schoharie Close Historic Site

    Central Region

    Chittenango Falls State Park Madison Close Park
    Clark Reservation State Park Onondaga Close Park
    Fort Ontario State Historic Site Oswego Close Historic Site
    Helen McNitt State Park Madison Close Park
    Herkimer Home Historic Site Herkimer Close Historic Site
    Hunts Pond State Park Chenango Close Park
    Oquaga Creek State Park Broome Close Park
    Old Erie Canal State Park Onondaga Close Park
    Oriskany Battlefield/Steuben SHS Oneida Close Historic Site
    Pixley Falls State Park Oneida Close Park
    Robert Riddell State Park Delaware Close Park
    Selkirk Shores State Park Oswego Close Public Swimming Beach

    Finger Lakes Region

    Beechwood State Park Wayne Close Park
    Bonavista State Park Seneca Close Park
    Chimney Bluffs State Park Wayne Close Park
    Newtown Battlefield State Park Chemung Close Park
    Springbrook Greens State Park Cayuga Close Park
    Two Rivers State Park Tioga Close Park
    Buttermilk Falls State Park Tompkins Close Public Swimming Area
    Seneca Lake State Park Seneca Close Lake Swimming Beach
    Stony Brook State Park Steuben Close Public Swimming Area

    Thousand Islands Region

    Canoe Island State Park Jefferson Close Park
    Cedar Island State Park Jefferson Close Park
    Eel Weir State Park St. Lawrence Close Park
    Keewaydin State Park Jefferson Close Park
    Macomb Reservation State Park Clinton Close Park
    Mary Island State Park Jefferson Close Park
    Point Au Roche State Park Clinton Close Park
    Sackets Harbor State Historic Site Jefferson Close Historic Site

    Genesee Region

    Hamlin Beach State Park Monroe Close Swimming Beach 3 Days per Week
    Oak Orchard State Marine Park Orleans Close Park
    Regionwide Multiple Eliminate Camper Recreation Program

    Niagara Region

    Joseph Davis State Park Niagara Close Park
    Knox Farm State Park Erie Close Park
    Niagara Falls State Park Niagara Reduce Interpretive Programs
    Wilson-Tuscarora State Park Niagara Close Park
    Woodlawn Beach State Park Erie Close Park

    Allegany Region

    Allegany State Park Cattaraugus Close Quaker Area Swim Beach;
    Close Quaker Cabins Area on December 1st
    Eliminate Winter Trails Maintenance
    Reduce Recreation Programs
    Long Point State Park Chautauqua Close Park
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  2. #2
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Ouch! Have been to many of the parks that will be fully or partially closed. There are two that hit especially hard:

    I grew up in Elmira and have been to the Newtown Battlefield Reservation (aka, Sullivan's Monument) dozens of time.

    I have also swum at Buttermilk Falls many times. Hard to believe they will be closing what used to be an extremely popular swimming area.

    Very sad.

    Marty
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a lot of closures!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I hope they are willing to allow community groups, neighborhood associations, non-profits and other credible entities to takes over certain programs, facilities or even a whole park. That would take another level of bureaucracy but I expect the savings will not come form full time employees as it will from seasonal employees and contracts so staffing may be available to coordinate and administer this anyway.

    You can bet there would be opposition to this, even when it is a no-brainer that benefits everyone, because public employee unions will resist it as a form of "privatization".

    Still, things could get worse. The current way of doing a lot of things is not sustainable ... look at Jersey ... so extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures ... or in the words of a former entrepreneurial employer, "problems create opportunities."

    Change comes very hard.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
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    Given the budgetary cuts I wonder if NY will consider adopting the NH model of charging for rescues in the Adirondack Park.
    Enjoy your best

  6. #6
    Senior Member NorthShore's Avatar
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    They are going to have to double the staff to keep people out of some of those parks. This totally smacks of "further gimmicks or avoidance behavior".

  7. #7
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Any idea what closure means? In NH a "closed" park is usually still open to recreation but doesn't offer amenities.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mark Schaefer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoySwkr View Post
    Any idea what closure means? In NH a "closed" park is usually still open to recreation but doesn't offer amenities.
    It is likely to be similar to NH. The details are yet to be defined and will be on a park by park basis, per the following statement:
    State parks spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee said officials would review each closed park to determine whether the public still could visit the state-owned land. Parking areas and restrooms probably would be closed, though, and there would be no plowing, mowing or trail maintenance, and gates would be down across some entrances, she said.

    “There are clearly some safety issues if there’s no parking,” Larrabee said. “Finding the exact access, we’re going to have to look at park by park.”
    Some other observations from this and other news articles: At present this is merely a proposed budget by the Governor. The proposed closings and reductions represent a savings of $6.3 million. Including the cuts the proposed 2010-11 budget for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) is $230 million. There are also additional administrative cuts within OPRHP compared to their $263 million budget in the prior year. So for a rather limited reduction in OPRHP's budget we have draconian closures and reductions at 64 of 213 total properties overseen by OPRHP. The impact of the closures and reductions does not appear commensurate with the budget savings.

    Further the savings represent less than 1/1000 of the current 2010-2011 state budget deficit of $8.2 billion in the proposed $132 billion annual budget. While one would rightly expect across the board cuts in all state departments including some closures/reductions within the state park system, one would not expect this much for such a minimal savings. Given that there appears to be widespread opposition within the State Legislature to these proposed closures within the Governor's own majority party, these extensive closures in the state parks are unlikely to be enacted by the legislature as proposed. Nonetheless the New Yorkers among us should voice our concerns with our local representatives.
    Last edited by Mark Schaefer; 02-21-2010 at 03:07 AM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Taconic Outdoor Education Center Putnam Eliminate Interpretive Programs

    I'm taking app 70 students there in April for our 2 night 3 day trip....I've been taking students there since 1996 minus 2 years....our cost went up this year from $70 to app $135 per student....state didn't pay for buses for the first time in 29 years....I hope they don't close down the 8 cabins that we use....students work in cooperative groups doing the "project adventure" team building skills.....I'd rather sacrifice some adult activities and not take away from the kids....that will leave them with just battery games I'm sure the reading scores will never go up.....I'll call tomorrow and talk to the administrator in charge...this is sad news....

  10. #10
    Senior Member hikingmaineac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
    Taconic Outdoor Education Center Putnam Eliminate Interpretive Programs
    This is definitely not good! I used to work there and would definitely agree that it would be a shame to see such a fine program be eliminated.

  11. #11
    Senior Member beverly's Avatar
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    Parks and Trails New York - Save our State

    Save 0ur State Parks Day - March 3, 2010

    55 parks will close unless you speak out

    Meet, call, write, or e-mail your legislators on March 3 - Save Our State Parks Day

    Imagine if 56 million people-the number of park visitors last year-contacted their legislators to protest park closings.

    If we all act, we can win the battle to keep parks open.

    Please be part of this historic day.

    Here's how:
    • Come to a rally in Albany at noon
    • Visit legislators - don't worry, you'll be part of a team
    • If you can't come to Albany, you can still participate by calling or emailing your assembly member and senetor on March 3 - let's tie up their switchboards and flood their inboxes!
    We'll be sending you more details next week. But for today, please put March 3 on your calendar.

    Here's the tentative schedule for Save our State Parks Day on March 3

    9:00-9:15 Arrive & enjoy coffee and bagels
    9:15-9:45 Orientation
    10:00 - 11:00 Meetings with legislators
    11:00 Press conference
    12:00 Save Our State Parks Rally at the Capitol
    1:00 - 3:00 Meetings with legislators
    3:00 to 4:00 Debriefing

    http://www.ptny.org/

  12. #12
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    Thumbs down

    It's very strange doing as governments talk more and more of eating healthy and doing exercices to close parks. Sort of like the Olympic being mostly sponsored by McDonald and CocaCola... short-sighted little savings that will cost bib big big in the end!

  13. #13
    Senior Member NorthShore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackSpruce View Post
    It's very strange doing as governments talk more and more of eating healthy and doing exercices to close parks. Sort of like the Olympic being mostly sponsored by McDonald and CocaCola... short-sighted little savings that will cost bib big big in the end!
    It's a power play to try and coerce the state into letting NYS redirect money from the voter approved Environmental Protection Fund. It is a disgrace.

    Some of the facilities they are threatening to close locally are revenue generating and usually packed in-season. Closing some of the others will mean one less garbage can to empty once a week. I'm not an insider, but its really hard to see where the net savings come from in the overall plan. Add to that the diminishing value of an Empire State Pass and you can probably factor some more revenue loss into the calculation.

    Plus, as you said, even if there were some real savings they are short-sighted.
    Last edited by NorthShore; 02-24-2010 at 10:13 PM.

  14. #14
    Junior Member spicedoubt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
    Taconic Outdoor Education Center Putnam Eliminate Interpretive Programs

    I'm taking app 70 students there in April for our 2 night 3 day trip....I've been taking students there since 1996 minus 2 years....our cost went up this year from $70 to app $135 per student....state didn't pay for buses for the first time in 29 years....I hope they don't close down the 8 cabins that we use....students work in cooperative groups doing the "project adventure" team building skills.....I'd rather sacrifice some adult activities and not take away from the kids....that will leave them with just battery games I'm sure the reading scores will never go up.....I'll call tomorrow and talk to the administrator in charge...this is sad news....

    If they close these parks and the cabins or campsites in which they rent out, wouldn't they be losing money?
    "Surrender to the flow"

  15. #15
    Senior Member MattC's Avatar
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    Here is a link to the ADK action alert on the park closure proposal:

    http://www.adk.org/issues/Park_Closu...ion_Alert.aspx

    The list they have linked is different from the one Alan originally posted and it includes Minnewaska SP, beloved to so many locals and visitors to the Shanwangunk Ridge. I wonder how much $$$ New Paltz small businesses would lose if Minnewaska were to close.

    Matt
    Last edited by MattC; 03-14-2010 at 06:11 AM.
    "...a man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." - Henry David Thoreau

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