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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Renovations Planned at State Parks

Nice weather is upon us and soon it will be time for Grafton beach visits, picnics at Thatcher's escarpment, and hiking in Moreau.
It looks like our very own Grafton Lakes State Park and Moreau State Park will see some changes with a recent state announcement of projects throughout NY. Each will see improvements to their restrooms while Thatcher Park will get better parking and picnic areas.
This is a long way from where we were not long ago when the state parks were threatened due to budgetary reasons. I just hope that little episode helped re-awaken some state park enthusiasts so we all stop taking these parks for granted.
For more information, here's a release about the construction:
Parks & Trails New York today reacted enthusiasticallyto the release of the list of infrastructure projects planned at state parks included as part of the new New York Works Fund.
The Fund includes $89 million for capital improvements at 48 specific stateparks and historic sites that account for 37 million of the park system’s 57 million annual visitors.
“At a time when many New Yorkers are preparing to gather with family to celebrate the season of renewal, this announcement by the Governor also breathes new life into our beloved park system,” said RobinDropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York. “After decades of disinvestment, this injection of capital will reinvigorate parks and historic sites that have suffered from decline. Parks in every region are going to get a boost thanks to this infusion of capital funding. All New Yorkers will benefit from this revitalization, either directly as visitors or through a boost in tourism.”
“Some of these projects may not be glamorous, but they are essential and will nonetheless enhance the visitor experience and strengthen local economies through construction and engineering jobs and increased tourism dollars. Visits to Grafton Lakes and Moreau Lake State Parks in the Capital Region, for example, will be enhanced by the rehabilitation of restrooms. Visitors to Thacher State Park will benefit from improvements to picnic shelters and parking areas. These improvements will go a long way to create inviting and welcoming places for New Yorkers and out-of-state tourists alike.”
“Parks & Trails New York commends the Governor and Legislature for making this investment in our park system. It’s a great first step in what we hope will be a multi-year revitalization of the state park system.”
Through a series of reports over the last few years, Parks & Trails New York has documented both the many challenges facing the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP),particularly the agency’s enormous capital projects backlog, and the substantial economic benefit the park system generates for the people and economy of the Empire State. On a statewide basis, direct spending by OPRHP and spending by visitors to state parks supports up to $1.9billion in output and sales, $440 million in employment income, and 20,000 jobs.
The benefit-to-cost ratio is more than 5-to-1—more than$5 in benefits for every $1 in costs.
For more information, see Parks at a Turning Point and The NYS Park System: An Economic Asset to the Empire State. Parks & Trails New York is the state’s leading advocate for parks and trails, working since 1985 to expand, protect and promote a network of parks, trails and open spaces throughout the state for use andenjoyment by all.
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