2012_July_06_North-South_Lake_from_Sunset_Rocks.jpgDear Governor Cuomo,

I, the undersigned, ask that you do all you can in the 2016 New York State Budget Process to provide the necessary funding to maintain and enhance the environmental and recreational well-being of our magnificent Catskill Park and Forest Preserve. These 700,000 acres form one of the largest natural areas in the East; its forested mountains, winding valleys and rushing streams and rivers provide a haven for wildlife and an attraction for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. I thank you for your help in 2015 when, for the first time in history, the state Department of Environmental Conservation budget included a line item for the region!

And I am thrilled that your proposed executive budget for 2016 includes $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). I hope this funding will cover our specific requests for the Catskills:

  • FUNDING -- $4 million line item in the Environmental Protection Fund for the Catskill Park and a fully funded and expanded Catskills line item to $1 million for stewardship;
  • LAND ACQUISITION -- Funds for priority land acquisition projects to knit public lands together for wildlife protection and recreational opportunities;
  • PARK STEWARDSHIP -- Growth of programs like the Catskill Conservation Corps and Catskill Summit Steward program to reverse degradation from increased visitors and to prevent spread of new invasive species;
  • FOREST RANGERS -- Expansion of the budget for DEC Forest Ranger Division – more Forest Rangers will help protect wildlands and the people who visit the park; and
  • CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS --Underwriting for capital projects for the Catskill Interpretive Center including solar panels, an amphitheater, tower and trails

Thank you for giving the Catskill Park and Forest Preserves the support it needs to continue as an icon of our natural heritage. Sincerely, 

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