Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

OSI Applauds Governor Cuomo’s Historic Funding

Commitment to Environment and Parks

Gov Cuomo at Minnewaska



EPF Expansion, Continuation of Parks 2020 Build Cuomo Legacy of Environmental Leadership


ALBANY, NY— January 13, 2016—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today praised Governor Andrew Cuomo for his extraordinary leadership in protecting clean water and other vital natural resources; maintaining forests, open space and farmland; promoting recreational access to protected landscapes; and building strong and healthy communities throughout New York State. Notably, the governor’s budget provides a record-level commitment for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and maintains historic support for the revitalization of New York’s magnificent state parks.

The governor’s proposal to fund the EPF at $300 million represents an historic advancement in the conservation and protection of New York’s natural resources, and supports clean water, land preservation, job creation and stronger environmental communities. In addition, the proposed $90 million parks capital budget builds on $380 million allocated over the past four years and reinforces ongoing park revitalization.

"This year’s executive budget is an unparalleled victory for New York’s environment, economy, communities and people. Governor Cuomo’s historic commitment to the EPF builds on his tremendous record in support of revitalizing New York’s state parks. Without question, Governor Cuomo has set himself as a national leader in support of our natural resources and landscapes,” said Kim Elliman, President and CEO the Open Space Institute. “We look forward to working with members of the state legislature to ensure these landmark proposals are enacted.”

An Extraordinary Commitment to Protecting New York’s Environment

Under the governor’s executive budget, funding for the EPF would grow by $123 million to a record-setting $300 million. Among the EPF categories slated for increase are the open space acquisition fund, which will grow from $26.5 million to 40 million.

“The increased support for open space conservation underscores the value that smart and effective land conservation can and does play a role in building stronger communities,” noted Elliman. “From promoting clean water and air, outdoor recreation, working farms and forests, to protecting habitats and mitigating the storm-related impacts of climate change, land conservation is an invaluable, long-term solution in the pursuit of environmental security.”

Leading the Way for State Park Revitalization

“We are extraordinarily grateful to Governor Cuomo for his unwavering commitment to New York’s beloved state parks,” said Erik Kulleseid, Senior Vice President at OSI and Executive Director of its Alliance for New York State Parks program.“Thanks to the governor, great things are happening at state parks throughout New York. His ongoing commitment marks the most significant and sustained infusion of resources needed to repair, upgrade and enhance New York’s increasingly popular state parks.

After decades of state park underinvestment resulting in a $1 billion backlog in maintenance and repairs, Governor Cuomo launched his Parks 2020 initiative, resulting in a state park renaissance that is underway in every region throughout the state. Funding announced in the executive budget builds on this success.

Throughout its 40-year history, OSI has been strongly identified with its conservation projects that create, protect, and enhance New York’s state parks. Through nearly 80 conservation successes, OSI has added more than 40,000 acres to New York’s state parks. These transactions achieved a variety of goals, from creating new parks and adding valuable acreage, to providing important buffer zones and connectivity. OSI’s work accounts for more than ten percent of the state park system’s total acreage of 335,000 acres.



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Eileen Larrabee
Open Space Institute
518-427-1564, ext. 127,




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