Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chairwoman Mabee, Saratoga-Capital District region of Parks sends letter to Saratogian

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Posted on Sat, Apr 12, 2008 Zoom + | Zoom -
Letter: Help keep New York state park system alive
By Heather Mabee, chairwoman, Saratoga-Capital District region, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission
New York state’s heralded state park system — widely regarded as one of the finest in the nation — is at a crossroads. Over the past 15 years the system expanded 27 percent, with 29 new parks, which is great news for millions of people who visit our state parks.

However, as owners of these irreplaceable assets, we New Yorkers have not kept up with our obligation to keep our parks in good condition. Adjusted for inflation, the system’s capital budget in the last 15 years has shrunk in half.

As a result, state parks and historic sites now face a backlog of over $600 million in capital projects and overdue repairs that threaten the high quality, safety and public access to these wonderful facilities.

The Executive Budget proposes a $100-million capital initiative to revitalize our state parks system. This proposal is the first step in a long-term, comprehensive effort necessary to keep the system contributing to the state’s economy and New Yorkers’ quality of life.


The initiative will address the system’s most urgent needs — particularly the public health and safety risks such as out-of-compliance drinking water and sewage treatment systems and potentially hazardous dams and bridges. It also includes projects to make long-deferred repairs, open newly acquired parkland to the public, and protect sensitive environments.

New York state has a long history of protecting our abundance of scenic beauty, recreational opportunity and historic significance through our world-class parks system.

Now it is up to the members of the state Senate and Assembly to carry on that tradition. I urge them to support this proposal to help keep our state parks safe, beautiful and exciting.

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