Open Space Institute
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May 2015

Dear Friend,

The Open Space Institute’s Alliance for New York State Parks program is off and running in another exciting and eventful year. Terrific, transformative park projects are moving ahead; new projects are taking shape; and another successful year of advocacy for public investment in state parks is under our belt. Just four years after getting started, the Alliance has hit its stride and is generating real results.

In what has become a welcome rite of spring in recent years, we gathered our advocacy forces and worked to secure an unprecedented fourth round of substantial capital investment for our state parks in the recently completed New York State budget. Thanks to a four-year, $380 million commitment by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, our state parks are on a generational upswing. Learn more about this year’s park improvement projects here.

Further, just last month, the administration announced a historic initiative aimed at carrying this transformation to the next decade. The ambitious New York Parks 2020 Plan will leverage approximately $900 million in public and private funding to upgrade, repair and modernize the state park system.

Your support for the program has been key to securing this commitment. Thanks to you, the Alliance has been able to amplify the voice of New York’s parks and our specialized capital campaigns continue to bolster the creativity, quality and modern-day relevance of the park experience.

We are proud of what we have accomplished, and prouder yet of the support we have garnered over the past four years. As the park season gets into full swing, we ask that you recommit to this effort to transform and protect our great natural treasures for future generations.

As always, I welcome your input and thoughts. But most of all, I express my gratitude for your support in restoring our parks as sources of pride, community vitality and economic strength.

Erik Signature

Erik Kulleseid, Executive Director
Alliance for New York State Parks

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More Parkland to Love

Roaring Brook Header, Fahnestock

An important aspect of the Alliance’s early success has the been the long and successful track record the Open Space Institute has in protecting landscapes and building state parks. A full 10 percent of the total acreage of New York’s state parks can be traced back to the work of OSI.

The Alliance program has strengthened the preservation partnership between OSI and State Parks. Recent property transfers from OSI to State Parks highlight this successful partnership. In each park expansion project, OSI has acquired targeted priority properties with the ultimate intent of transferring the land to the Office of State Parks. 

The three projects have added more than 800 acres to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Fahnestock State Park, and the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, collectively. Two additional properties, adjacent to state parks, have been secured by OSI with the expectation that they, too, will ultimately be added to Minnewaska and Goosepond State Parks. Not only do these expansions further protect spectacular landscapes, they also aim to enhance access to the parks and improve overall connectivity with the public.

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New Letchworth Nature Center and Thacher Park Center Grants

2 panel Letchworth Thacher Alliance_header.jpg

Two ongoing OSI capital campaigns received a boost as OSI secured four individual New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Grants in December. The awards will support major visitor enhancement projects planned for Letchworth and Thacher State Parks, located in the Finger Lakes and Capital District regions, respectively.

The grants totaling $1.02 million complement the private dollars being raised by OSI and our partners to construct a nature center at Letchworth State Park and a visitor center at Thacher State Park and furnish each with first-rate education and interpretive exhibits. 

Learn more about the Letchworth and Thacher projects

 

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Smoothing the Way for Minnewaska Carriage Road Users

Minnewaska’s Castle Point Carriage Road Restoration is about to undergo an OSI-sponsored overhaul. The Castle Point Carriage Road, part of a network of carriage roads that follow the graceful contours of the land, has fallen into disrepair over the past decades.

The Castle Point project is being funded by OSI through the support of its Butler Conservation Special Projects Fund, Lucy Waletzky and Friends of the Shawangunks. An effort is underway to raise the $175,000 balance needed to complete the project.

OSI, which raised $500,000 in private dollars to restore the gloriously re-opened Hamilton Point Carriage Road, is working in collaboration with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to complete the Castle Point restoration.

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Taking a Closer Look at Minnewaska Visitors

Pulse of the Parks, Minnewaska, Map Graphic

OSI’s efforts to shed light on the experiences and expectations of state park visitors continue this spring with the release of our fourth "Pulse of the Parks" report focusing on Minnewaska State Park Preserve in the Shawangunks.

The study highlights the park's broad constituency and confirms that the popular park, like so many others throughout the state, is in need of additional amenities and services to serve the public.   

 Read more and download a copy of the report.


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Up and Coming

With the Alliance moving full steam ahead, we look to new, exciting projects and campaigns. Included in our upcoming efforts are:

  • Planning for the restoration and interpretation of the Beaverkill Covered Bridge Landing;
  • The modernization of the Riverbank State Park Cultural Theater; and
  • Long-needed improvements to trail access at Fahnestock State Park.  

 

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
291 Hudson Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
518-427-1564

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