On Tuesday, November 16th, Senator José M. Serrano received the George W. Perkins “Parks Champion” award from Parks and Trails New York, for his continued advocacy on behalf of New York’s State Parks. I am honored to receive this prestigious award. Financially, this has been a tough year for parks, and thanks to the hard work of parks advocates such as Parks and Trails New York, elected officials, and most importantly an energized and vocal public, we were able to save our parks for the summer season. This summer saw some of the largest increases in state park usage, reinforcing the fact that parks play an important role in the lives of all New Yorkers.
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Whether closing state parks could mean the loss of federal funding tied to them may depend on how one defines "close." The state previously came up with a list of state parks to be closed as a way to save money. The plan has 41 parks on a closure list including Long Point State Park in Bemus Point. Instead of saving the state money as intended, however, closing the parks could actually cost funds.
"I am so thrilled and excited to learn of the major increase in park attendance that we are currently seeing. Now more than ever, we should recognize the significance that State Parks hold for the people of New York," stated Senator José M. Serrano after the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced that with 1.17 million visitors over Memorial Day weekend (May 29-31), attendance at State Parks soared by 245,296 visitors. This translates to a 17 percent increase from the 2009 holiday weekend.
“As Chair of the committee that oversees the State Park system and living museums, I am thrilled that Governor Paterson and the Legislature have worked out a plan that will keep our parks open in time for Memorial Day weekend, and will allow us to enjoy all that our zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums have to offer in advance of the summer season.”