Catskill Park Awareness Day 2014 Pays Off!

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in News | 0 comments

The results are in, and they show that our 49 representatives from 28 Catskill environmental and community groups speaking with one voice made an impression on state officials during our February 25 visit to Albany.

The tally:

    • Our land acquisition priority to protect the entirety of Balsam Mountain was fulfilled when the DEC closed on the purchase of 560 acres of in-holdings (see the article).
    • The Catskill Interpretive Center received $85,000 for building a fire tower at the site as well as constructing trails. While this was less than we had asked for, it represents a good start in adding to the attractions at and surrounding the new Center.
    • The Catskill Association of Tourism Services (CATS) will receive $100,000 in additional funds for marketing the Park, as we requested.

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  • The EPF gained $9 million over last year, rising from $153 million to $162 million—more than Governor Cuomo’s originally proposed $4 million increase, less than the ask we joined in seeking a total EPF of $200 million, but progress nevertheless.
  • While we did not succeed in getting additional full time Forest Rangers assigned to the Catskill Park, the Assistant Forest Ranger program will go from zero to 18 positions this season (with three designated for the Catskills), which, given the extra funding for Catskills promotion and possibly more visitors, will help DEC efforts to protect both the forest and the public.
  • Finally, the Coalition is following up on its request for a unified Catskill Park recreation plan, which could help with coordinating greater use of both Forest Preserve and NYC Department of Environmental Protection lands.

We are buoyed not only by these accomplishments but also because of the broad representation of Coalition members who came to Albany and advocated for the Park on February 25. The results show that coordinated advocacy can make a difference, and we thank all of those who joined the effort. Next year, the goal is to make our Albany group at least 100 strong and to make the Catskill Park a topic of regular conversation and action in the halls of the legislature and executive.

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