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.
Welcoming and Accessible State Parks and Public Lands for All
- 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 and recreational opportunities, feel welcomed in our public lands, and ensure our shared cultural history is reflective of all voices.
- Preserve and steward open spaces for future generations to enjoy
Secure $250 million in capital funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Since 2010, more than $1 billion in capital funding has been dedicated for upgrades to New York’s world-class state parks system. State residents rely on these parks for recreation, exercise, and to find solace, and every dollar invested in state parks generates $5 of economic activity. Building on the state’s investments over the past decade is critical to ensure the continued revitalization of these essential resources.
Ensure full and sustainable funding of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)
Support a $400 million appropriation for the EPF, addressing environmental needs across the state, including providing resources to environmental justice organizations, conserving land and water, creating new parks and recreation opportunities, and supporting climate adaptation and mitigation projects. Protect the EPF against ‘raids’ used for unrelated or extraneous finances by providing state agencies with sustainable operations funding.
- Maintain the Connect Kids to Parks Grant Program at $3 million to continue connecting 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, and other outdoor recreation areas.
- Expand opportunities for equitable access to parks for residents in underserved areas: Support the continuation and expansion of the Parks, Preservation and Heritage Program (Municipal Parks), funded by the EPF, which facilitates and provides matching grants to projects that acquire, develop and plan municipal parks and recreational facilities in our cities. Maintain a requirement that nearly 40% of funding be directed toward Environmental Justice communities.
Sustain the Park and Trail Partnership Grants at $2 million.
This competitive grant program supports projects that strengthen non-profit grassroot organizations; enhance public access, stewardship and recreational opportunities; and address barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion at our state parks, historic sites, trails, and public lands across New York.
Expand State Parks’ operations budget to ensure increased visitation needs are met
Increasing OPRHP’s staffing level to correct an imbalance with state park operations, ensure that there is enough staff to direct strategic funds in a timely manner, and make sure that all visitors continue to have access to safe outdoor places for recreation and respite.
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.