Catskill Park Advocates Go To Albany for Funds

Advocates For the Catskill Park Descend on Albany to Lobby for Desperately Needed Resources

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY Catskill Mountainkeeper and our partners in the Catskill Park Coalition will be heading to Albany on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 for the Catskill Park Awareness Day. We will deliver a petition with over 1,648 signatures to Governor Cuomo calling for the state to direct urgently needed resources to the Catskill Park—the crown jewel of our region, and one of the largest and most ecologically diverse natural areas in the East.

Mountainkeeper and our partners also will be meeting with members of the state legislature and other government officials to encourage them to allocate essential funding to help maintain and improve the park’s infrastructure. In addition, we will urge decision makers to provide the same kind of investment in marketing to help grow tourism in the Catskills that has been enjoyed by other regions of NY State.

When Governor Cuomo traveled to the Catskills in October 2015, he committed to invest in building tourism in our region. The Catskill Park Coalition applauds the Governor for his focus on the Catskills—one of the largest tourist attractions in the Northeast--and we will be asking the Legislature and government officials to direct money for the Catskill Park.  The Park has been neglected for years, and is in dire need of resources to fund essential repairs and improvements that will help more people enjoy these spectacular wild lands, and preserve them for future generations.  The Catskills region is experiencing a surge in public attention to its unique attractions--from farms and food to fishing and eco-tourism—and we will urge decision makers to keep this momentum going by investing in the region.

According to Ramsay Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper and Co-Chair of the Catskill Park Coalition: “The Catskill Park has experienced years of financial neglect.  Administration after administration have passed over the Catskill Park and focused on other regions in New York State. But thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo and the elected representatives whose districts include the park, it’s the dawning of a new great era for the region. We are optimistic that the 2016 budget will finally include real investment in our beloved Catskill Park.”

The Catskill Park Coalition has identified $5 million in immediate and urgent funding priorities to ensure that the park can be maintained and enhanced for public use. These include $1 million in aid to localities for planning, infrastructure, and grants to Catskill towns; $2 million for stewardship, including support to fill Forest Ranger vacancies, expand Park oversight and maintenance, and counteract degradation due to increased visitorship; and $2 million for capital projects (including improvements at the Catskill Park Interpretative Center) and the acquisition of priority land parcels to knit public lands together for more recreational opportunities and increased access to the Catskills.  The commitment of these funds would cover only a small part of what is needed to realize the full recreational and economic development potential of the Park, but it would be a good beginning, and would help establish the base for increased funding in the future.

"The Catskill Center is proud to co-chair the Catskill Park Coalition and excited for another successful Catskill Park Awareness Day. Through these efforts we can continue to build a modern park that protects our state's leading legacy of first-in-the-nation conservation, stewards our natural environment and sustainably supports our region's economy," says Jeff Senterman, Executive Director, Catskill Center.

Adams concluded: “On February 9th, a large contingent of Catskill Park supporters representing dozens of organizations that make up the Catskill Park Coalition will descend on Albany to deliver a petition with over 1,648 signatories to Governor Cuomo and to meet with legislators and representatives of the Governor to ask that $5,000,000 of State funding be allocated to the Park as a first installment in an ongoing campaign to expand the recreational and economic value of this extraordinary New York State asset.”

The Catskill Park Coalition is an alliance of likeminded groups committed to working together to broaden public appreciation for the Catskill Park and seek additional resources to enhance, maintain, and make available to the public the extraordinary opportunities the Park and its surroundings offer and can offer. 

Contact: Ramsay Adams, Executive Director Catskill Mountainkeeper

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