It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than four years since OSI's
Alliance for New York State Parks first took shape. During that time we
have initiated and completed our inaugural capital campaign for the
restoration of Minnewaska’s Hamilton Point Carriage Road; advanced two other campaigns; completed three informative park user
studies to develop a better understanding of park constituency groups;
and, of course, fought successfully to reverse the decades-long trend of
underinvestment in our state parks. Read more about our recent work.
Parks on the Upswing!
The result of our efforts has been tremendous. Over the past three
years, thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the state
legislature, more than $270 million in state funds has been earmarked for state park
repairs, upgrades and improvements.
Hundreds of projects at state parks throughout New York
ahead. A full 80 percent of improvements from the first two years of
this program are underway. And although we typically focus on the major
initiatives and flagships parks such as Niagara Falls and
Jones Beach, the list of individual projects being undertaken is
impressive. A complete list of this year’s projects is available here.
A quick scan of the projects, big and small, provides a useful overview of just
how significant our success has been. And as always we thank our supporters for
their continuing commitment to the parks advocacy work that has been the
foundation of this success.
OSI Improves Access to Walkway
OSI recently acquired a half-acre parcel that runs adjacent to the
Poughkeepsie entrance to the Walkway Over the Hudson. The Walkway
Landing transaction will eventually lead to improved public amenities and access and allow the agency to create a base of operations and management.
$65 Million Plan to Restore Jones Beach
Following months of support work and planning, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a Jones
Beach Revitalization Plan to promote the restoration and transformation of one of New York’s most beloved state parks.
The project, which has taken shape through a collaboration
between OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks and New York State Parks
Department, focuses on restoring the park’s historic and aesthetic
grandeur, strengthening storm
resiliency, expanding recreational opportunities, improving food and
options, and streamlining park entry. All of which will increase and
dramatically improve the visitor experience.
In support of the project, OSI engaged a top-notch landscape
architecture firm that spearheaded the planning; and brought in outside
consultants and expertise in such areas as concessions, lighting, recreational
planning and coastal resiliency.
OSI Studies Reveal Broad Support For Parks
As part of our efforts to better understand the
experiences and expectations of visitors to state parks, OSI, with the support
of the Dyson Foundation, commissioned a series of surveys. Last year, we issued a report on the far reaching draw of Jones Beach State Park. More recently, we
turned our sights to two Hudson Valley parks.
Lake Welch in Harriman State Park is a favorite
destination for people who live in and around New York City and is a
particularly popular getaway for Hispanic families. Less than an hour north of
the city, the park offers hiking trails, camping and picnic areas tucked
into the wooded hills of the Hudson Highlands.
Our most recent visitor study finds the Walkway
Over the Hudson to be a valued cultural and
recreational asset for local residents; easily accessible to families and
people of all ages; and a unique tourist destination.
And because these surveys provide valuable insight to the
work we do, four more surveys are underway this summer.
Sam's Point Acres Added to
Building on decades of success and commitment, OSI,
working with New York State and The Nature Conservancy, added another 1,068
acres to Minnewaska State Park Preserve through the transfer
of the Sam’s Point Preserve. For OSI, the transfer is part of a much
larger, ongoing vision to permanently preserve and protect property along the
Over 20-plus years, OSI and its partners have more than
doubled Minnewaska’s size, with the end result being a 21,000-acre park
preserve, all permanently protected and accessible to the public—and less than
100 miles from New York City.
Having just completed a capital campaign to restore the
Hamilton Point Carriage Road at Minnewaska, OSI is now working with the park
to transform an abandoned residence, known as Phillips House, into a public
Visitor Center to better inform park goers about the abundant recreational and
natural features of the popular park. Minnewaska has long been an OSI signature
landscape. These restoration and enhancement projects take OSI's commitment to a
new, exciting level.