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September 2014

Dear Friend,

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.

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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
are moving 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.

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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.

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$65 Million Plan to Restore Jones Beach

Jones Beach Plan RestorationFollowing 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 retail 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.

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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.

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Sam's Point Acres Added to Minnewaska

Hamilton Point Carrige Road, Minnewaska PIPC

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 Shawangunk Ridge.

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.

 
Mission

The Alliance for New York State Parks is a program of the Open Space Institute. The mission of the Alliance is to protect and enhance New York’s unparalleled state parks and historic sites for present and future generations.


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Alliance for New York State Parks
Open Space Institute
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Albany, NY 12210
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