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
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 Kulleseid, Executive Director
Alliance for New York State Parks
More Parkland to Love
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.
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.
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
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.
New Letchworth Nature Center and Thacher Park Center Grants
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
Smoothing the Way for Minnewaska Carriage Road
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.
Taking a Closer Look at Minnewaska Visitors
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.
the Alliance moving full steam ahead, we look to new, exciting projects and campaigns.
Included in our upcoming efforts are:
for the restoration and interpretation of the Beaverkill Covered Bridge
modernization of the Riverbank State Park Cultural Theater; and
improvements to trail access at Fahnestock State Park.