Posted by: owlgorge | March 10, 2010

Save Our Parks!

This photo, from the state webpage for Buttermilk Falls State Park, is about to become obsolete.

Most of us are now aware that the Governor’s budget proposes to close between 57 and 91 state parks and historic sites as State Park’s tiny contribution ($6.4 million) towards closing the state’s $8.4 billion budget deficit. Many are speaking out against this plan, asserting that the amount of pain inflicted on the public is not worth this relatively small amount of savings. One group in particular has organized a very effective campaign to let legislators know that state parks have a big constituency–Parks and Trails New York. They just held a very effective parks lobbying day in Albany last week and will be holding a trails lobbying day on March 11. Their website has lots of information and links to other sites, including how to contact your state senators and assemblypeople.

The Finger Lakes Region is slated to close several parks, the closest one to Treman being Newtown Battlefield near Elmira. There also will be lots of cutbacks and eliminations of service in other parks, including Treman’s sister park, Buttermilk Falls, where the swimming area will be closed. (See my piece in the Ithaca Journal online about this. I also was interviewed at the park by Syracuse Channel 3 TV yesterday.)

State Parks are not in a position to advocate for themselves. It is we, the people, who must do it for ourselves. That includes Friends groups. I encourage you to contact your state senator and assemblyperson (in Ithaca, that is George Winner and Barbara Lifton) and express your feelings about park closings and cutbacks. We are the parks’ constituency!

(Click on the colored words above to open links to the related websites to get more information and to take action.)

-Tony Ingraham

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