State Parks and Public Lands
New York has one of the largest and most diverse state park systems in the nation. Record visitation to parks over the last decade, thanks in part to historic reinvestment in the system, highlights the need for continued investment and commitment; not only for state parks and historic sites, but public green spaces of all kinds, particularly in areas where opportunities for safe, local recreation are limited or non-existent.
- Ensure New York’s State Parks system is amply funded to guarantee it is protected and revitalized for future generations
- Secure long-term funding for grant opportunities that are made available for grassroots volunteer organizations to advance necessary projects and programs at their sites
- Provide all New Yorkers the opportunity to access open space in their communities
- Preserve and steward open spaces for future generations to enjoy
Expand State Parks’ operations budget to ensure increased visitation needs are met
Increase OPRHP’s staffing level to 2,300 Full Time Equivalents which will correct an imbalance with state park operations and ensure that all visitors continue to have access to safe outdoor places for recreation and respite. Support OPRHP’s operations budget at a level that allows state parks and historic sites to continue to realize their potential as treasured destinations and economic engines for local communities.
Maintain capital investment and modernization programs
Invest $330 million in capital funding next year, and annually over the next decade, to upgrade and expand New York’s world-class state parks system. Every dollar invested in state parks generates $5 of economic activity.
Increase the Environmental Protection Fund appropriation from $300 million to $500 million
Over the last three decades, the EPF has become essential to New York, providing resources to environmental justice organizations, conserving land and water, creating new parks and trails, and supporting climate adaptation and mitigation projects. Increasing this funding now would allow for strategic program expansions to address needs throughout the state.
Increase funding for Park and Trail Partnership Grants from $1 million to $2 million
Increasing funding for this competitive grant program will expand the impact of Friends groups by further advancing public-private partnership efforts towards stewardship, expanding access to the state’s parks and public lands and addressing barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Increase funding for the Municipal Parks Program from $19.5 million to $40 million
Increasing funding for the Parks, Preservation and Heritage Program will create more equitable opportunities for all New Yorkers to access open spaces and outdoor recreation. The total amount of applications meets or exceeds $90 million annually, yet only a tenth of that demand is awarded each year.
Continue to expose students to nature through the Connect Kids to Parks Grant Program
Maintain the Connect Kids to Parks Grant Program at $2 million to continue to connect students, especially youth from Title 1 communities, with nature and history via a reimbursement for field trips to state and federal parks, forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries and other outdoor recreation areas.
Facilitate a more rigorous process for the taking of parkland, or park “alienation”
Expedite the passage of legislation that creates a more stringent process for park alienation that holds the government accountable and provides transparency, specifically as it relates to the acquisition of replacement land, adequate monitoring, and enforcement of approved projects.