Parks

Protecting and Revitalizing Parks for Future Generation

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Parks & Trails New York is committed to protecting and revitalizing the NY State Park System. Every year we work with thousands of volunteers and members who share these goals. We bring together the people who use and love parks, Friends organizations that support our state parks and historic sites, and other environmental organizations to promote and protect parks for future generations.

New York’s parks preserve priceless landsapes and ecosystems, provide opportunities to improve our physical health and mental well-being, and enhance our quality of life. Often overlooked, but equally important, is parks’ contribution to the economy. As highlighted in Parks & Trails New York’s report, The NYS Park System: An Economic Asset to the Empire State, our state parks generate nearly $2 billion in economic benefits for the state and local economies, supporting small businesses and creating more than 20,000 jobs in addition to state parks employees.

Funding for State Parks and Historic Sites

In 2014, more than 62 million people visited the 180 state parks and 35 historic sites that comprise the state park system. In spite of parks’ overwhelmingly broad-based support they often get short shrift in the state budget process. Years of neglect have led to a more than $1 billion backlog in infrastructure needs across the park system. Buildings, walkways, bridges, and water systems are in various stages of disrepair.

Over the past four years, Governor Cuomo has put parks in the forefront of his efforts to rebuild the state’s infrastructure and economy. Thanks to the leadership of the Governor and the Legislature, state parks have received an historic infusion of capital funding through the New York Works initiative - nearly $380 million - to restore and rebuild state parks’ aging and dilapidated infrastructure. This ongoing commitment is breathing new life into a park system that has suffered from decades of underfunding while creating thousands of good-paying local jobs and helping to grow the state’s economy.

Parks & Trails New York looks forward to continuing to work with the Governor, Legislature, Friends groups and park supporters on protecting and preserving the legacy of our great park system.

Overall Goals of the Parks Program

  • Ensure that state parks are adequately funded and remain open, clean, safe, and accessible.
  • Organize parks Friends groups and other parks supporters into a broad-based, effective force for New York’s parks, mobilized to protect parks’ extraordinary legacy for years to come.
  • Build the capacity of park and historic site Friends groups so they can be stronger partners in supporting and advocating for the state park system.
  • Increase state support of parks through funding for the Environmental Protection Fund and federal support through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Establish a dedicated funding stream for parks and increase private support of state parks.

At the Forefront Since 1985

Parks & Trails New York is proud of our role as the leading statewide advocate for New York’s parks since 1985. Our comprehensive efforts have led to a renewed state commitment to state parks and historic sites and a state parks renaissance.

Groundbreaking Reports

PTNY has published a series of influential park reports. Our landmark 2006 Parks at a Turning Point report documented the crumbling infrastructure in state parks and historic sites and called for a long-term capital plan for parks. Our 2009 report, The NYS Park System: An Economic Asset to the Empire State, demonstrated the importance of the state park system to NY’s economy.

Our reports have spurred conversation, been referenced repeatedly by the Governor, and led to an unprecedented commitment by the state to repair and improve our treasured state park system.

Advocacy

Through meetings with decision-makers, testimony at hearings, our annual Park Advocacy Day, and the mobilization of our constituents, we kept parks open in 2010 when they were threatened with closure and have repeatedly secured historic levels of funding for parks infrastructure needs.

Building the Community of Park Supporters

PTNY organizes the annual I Love My Park Day in partnership with State Parks, when friends and neighbors of New York’s state parks and historic sites participate in cleanup, beautification and stewardship projects to bring visibility to the entire state park system and its needs, as well as boost the capacity of Friends groups. In its fourth year, more than 6,500 volunteers took part in 95 events held in every region of the state on May 2, 2015.

PTNY has also developed a robust suite of opportunities and resources to help strengthen Friends groups. Building the community of park supporters will ensure that New York’s parks and conservation legacy is upheld for future generations.