Environmental Protection Fund

Support a $300 million appropriation for the EPF


Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) programs improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Through the EPF, New York is conserving and enhancing community parks, trails, farms, forests, rivers, beaches, and lakes. The EPF supports recycling programs, zoos, and botanical gardens. It attracts businesses, creates jobs, protects our natural resources, and preserves our natural heritage.

The EPF is critical to the future of New York's parks and trails. It funds the following:

  • New York state and local governments to acquire land for trail corridor and parks;
  • municipal park and water front revitalization grants;
  • state land stewardship and public access to state parks, historic sites, state forest lands, recreation facilities, and;
  • capacity-building grants to grassroots Friends groups that support the state parks system.

Unfortunately, current demand for EPF programs far outpaces appropriations and spending. Delays and long waiting lists for EPF dollars continue to threaten opportunities to leverage millions of dollars from local, federal and private sources. Parks & Trails New York supports the Governor's proposed appropriation of $300 million for the EPF. This level of funding for the EPF will enable environmental needs across the state to be addressed.


Among the important programs supported by the EPF is the Park and Trail Partnership Grant, a $1 million capacity-building grant program for organizations that promote and support the state parks system. The grant is administered by Parks & Trails New York in partnership with the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. It helps develop the potential of these organizations by increasing their effectiveness, productivity, capability to raise funds, and their volunteer efforts. This enhances outdoor recreation, leading to greater economic benefits and healthier, more sustainable communities. (See our report on the impact of Friends groups on our state parks and historic sites.)

PTNY applauds Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders for their support in this landmark investment in grassroots Friends organizations. We thank the NYS government for increasing the PTPG funding to $1 million in the FY2018-2019 state budget.


State agencies responsible for administering the EPF and that implement important programs that protect our shared environment need resources to meet existing needs. Staffing levels at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Department of State remain deeply reduced. Previous disproportionately large reductions to staff at these levels by prior administrations must be addressed. Staff restorations in each agency would increase efficiency of crucial programs.


Plastic bottles and single-use plastic bags have polluted our parks, trails, and waterways for decades. Efforts are needed to reduce their usage and encourage recycling efforts. Expanding the current bottle redemption law to include additional types of plastic containers will help reduce plastic refuse levels and increase water diversion rates. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and require greenhouse gas emissions from cradle-to-grave. This poses long-term threats to our health and environment. Parks & Trails New York supports the Governor's ban on plastic bags effective March 2020. Let's make New York greener for all.