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Report proposes dedicated funding stream to save state park system

Camusett GreenhousesA report from Parks & Trails New York and the Alliance for New York State Parks depicts a state park system in crisis and puts forward a three-fold plan of action to protect and revitalize New York's parks and historic sites


Recommended actions Mills Mansioninclude strategic increases to the parks operating and capital budgets and permanent state parks funding through a new dedicated funding stream.  


The recommendations complement Governor-elect Cuomo's Cleaner, Greener New York Plan, which pledges to keep state parks and historic sites open, recognizing them as economic drivers, particularly Upstate


Read the full report, Protect Their Future: New York's State Parks in Crisis.


In these photos: crumbling greenhouses in Caumsett State Park (top) and wire barely holding together the top of a column at Mills Mansion State Park (bottom)

Three trail projects selected to receive assistance

Three New York trail projects have been selected to receive assistance from Parks & Trails New York as part of our Healthy Trails, Healthy People program.  Selected communities will receive help with technical issues, planning, public outreach, grant writing, fundraising, programming, organizational development and other activities critical to the long-term success of trail projects. Parks & Trails New York staff has assisted trail development efforts in 35 communities since it launched its Healthy Trails, Healthy People program in 2004.

Projects chosen this year include: 

Kingston Rails to Trails Connections, Ulster County

Village of Copenhagen, Lewis County

Village of Cayuga Recreation Trail, Cayuga County

Read more about the projects.

Report cites need to "close the gaps" in Erie Canalway Trail


close the gapsAt a November 9 press conference at Camillus Erie Canal Park south of Syracuse, the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) and Parks & Trails New York released the first of what will become an annual report on efforts to complete the Erie Canalway Trail between Buffalo and Albany. Closing the Gaps:A Progress Report on the Erie Canalway Trail 2010 summarizes the status of what will be, when complete,  the longest multi-use trail in the country, including recent progress and current obstacles to closing the six remaining major gaps. Our Close the Gaps report got attention in a Schenectady Gazette editorial.


Why we support Parks & Trails New York


Joining PTNY was our way of becoming New Yorkers


Moving a family from one state to another can be stressful.  When Margaret Logan and Charles Coulter moved to Southampton, NY after living for many years in Boston,MA, they chose a surefire means of feeling more at home: becoming members of Parks & Trails New York.

"Bicycling is our favorite outdoor activity," says Margaret.  "We've bicycled widely in New England and in Europe, and whenever you can leave the road for the peace and beauty of a trail it gets even better.  Joining Parks & Trails New York, back in 1995, opened a wish book of possibilities for us."

"Our favorite ride to date was the Erie Canalway Trail, rich in natural beauty, history, architecture,and nice people along the way," she added.  "It was one of the best vacations we've ever had, and  it confirmed our initial decision to join PTNY.  The excellent guidebook PTNY publishes for the trail assures you'll have a great trip."

Ms. Logan and Mr. Coulter also support PTNY because of the organization's parks advocacy and grassroots trail planning and promotion. And they wholeheartedly support PTNY's Campaign to Save Our State Parks from destructive budget cuts.

"What's more important than parks?" Margaret asks.  "We hope the politicians will understand that parks are essential."

Park champions honored


Serrano and Englebright

On November 16, in NYC, Parks & Trails New York recognized champion park advocates by honoring them with our coveted George W. Perkins Award for important contributions to New York's parks. State Senator Jose Serrano (left) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (right) were honored, as well as intrepid park Friends groups statewide, represented by four outstanding groups - Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands, Knox Farm, Riverbank, and Thacher and Thompsons Lake State Parks.


Tributes to the honorees were offered by Andy Beers, Acting State Parks Commissioner, and Dr. Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, Chair, State Council of Parks.  Anne Perkins Cabot and David Mortimer served as Honorary Co-Chairs, along with Dr. Waletzky.


Click here to see some pictures from the event.

You Gotta Have Friends Parks E-Newsletter


Read the latest issue of our e-newsletter for friends of the NYS Park System, You Gotta Have Friends.  The newsletter is produced quarterly and features stories about Friends groups from across the state as well as information regarding Parks & Trails New York's advocacy campaign.  This edition highlights the work of the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, Friends of Taconic State Park, and Friends of Rockefeller State Park Preserve.


Parks suffering disproportionate and dramatic cuts

Governor Paterson's recent proposal to lay off 90 additional staff at the State Parks agency is a tremendous blow to parks. While the maintenance, security and service workload at state parks has been going up, budgets and staffing have been going down. The office lost 17 percent of its permanent staff and almost 20 percent of its seasonal staff since 2008 - a total of more than 1,400 permanent and seasonal workers. 


Yes, the state is in fiscal trouble, but parks are being disproportionately hit. The parks jobs the governor proposes to cut by Dec. 31 represent almost 5 percent of the workers at the agency. Compare this with proposed cuts at the Department of Motor Vehicles of 2.6 percent, or the Department of Transportation of 1.4 percent. Parks, key to our quality of life, should be seen as no less essential.  Plus, unlike other agencies, the vast majority - more than 85 percent - of the parks agency's staff works directly on operations, out in the field. 


Read our opinion piece in Newsday and our letter to the editor

And so it begins...Knox Farm State Park to Close

 Knox Farm

 Although there is no confirmation from the state, effective December 31 there will be no parks staff left to keep open Knox Farm State Park, located about 10 miles southeast of Buffalo.  Local and state government officials and the Friends of Knox Farm State Park are scrambling to figure out how to keep the park open.  

Read more.

Healthy Trails, Healthy People community wins $200,000 grant


Ribbon CuttingThe Village of Chittenango was awarded a matching grant of $200,000  from the Environmental Protection Fund for the Dyke Road Spur of the Chittenango Creek Walk.  The project was selected from amongst 259 applications requesting a total of $61 million.


The Village and the Creek Walk and Neighborhood Trail Committee are working to develop 3.3 miles of trails. The grant will allow the Village to move forward with the next phase of this ambitious project that, when complete, will link the Canalway Trail and the popular Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum with the business district.

PTNY began working with the Creek Walk and Neighborhood Trail Committee in 2006 as part of our Healthy Trails, Healthy People 



Parks & Trails New York blog debuts

Check us out at http://ptny.wordpress.com/. The new blog allows us to post up-to-date information about park and trail issues, news, and events. Readers that subscribe to the blog can select from a range of delivery options - from immediate delivery after a post to weekly digests.

We're very excited about this opportunity to provide more up-to-date information to our members, supporters and friends. Subscribing is easy - simply write your email address in the subscription box at the far right of the screen and click "subscribe to this blog." You'll receive an e-mail that walks you through the process.

PTNY Comments on Statewide Trails Plan


PTNY recently commented on the draft Statewide Trails Plan prepared by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The plan will guide the agency's future policy decisions and resource allocations affecting trail creation, operation, management, and promotion.

PTNY endorsed the plan's vision of a statewide, interconnected system of land and water trails linking communities, parks, and natural and historic resources, a long-standing vision of PTNY and the New York State Trails Coalition, but expressed concern that the Plan needs greater detail regarding responsibility for and timing of its implementation for it to serve as the actionable, accountable blueprint we need for New York to become a pre-eminent trail state.

Hudson River Valley Greenway Grants available

Three funding opportunities are available for eligible communities within the Hudson River Valley Greenway.  Application deadlines are December 10, 2010 and February 11, 2010.

Greenway Communities Grant Program

Greenway Compact Grant Program

Hudson River Valley Greenway Water Trail Grant Program

Parks & Trails New York is a member of Earth Share of New York, an alliance of leading nonprofit environmental organizations. For more information about workplace giving via payroll deduction to Parks & Trails New York and Earth Share, check out www.earthshareny.org.

December 2010


Happy holidays 

Celebrating 25 years of advocacy for New York's parks and trails


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Your support makes all of this possible

 Thank you!


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Trail Finder

Ontario Pathways


Ontario Pathways


If you're looking to experience the rich farm lands and pastoral views of the Finger Lakes region, the 23 miles of trail owned and operated by Ontario Pathways is worth a visit.  This trail system southeast of Rochester is fully owned, maintained, and funded by an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization.  Memberships, donations, and fund-raising events such as the well known Pumpkin Walk™ have allowed the group to purchase the rail bed in 1994 and pay for all trail improvements, including a number of significant bridges.


Open for hiking, jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding, the cinder-surfaced trail connects Canandaigua to Finger Lakes farming communities like Stanley, Flint, and Orleans.


Welcome new staff 


Ben Orcutt


Communications Assistant Benjamin Orcutt studied English at SUNY  New Paltz, where his love for the outdoors flourished in the nearby Shawungunk Mountains.  After graduating with his bachelor's degree, Benjamin returned home to the capital region to start a career in the non-profit sector with a focus on environmental conservation.


Outside of work, Benjamin enjoys practicing the guitar, writing, and playing with his dog Kelso.

Double the advocacy
Alliance for parks
 A new organization, the Alliance for New York State Parks, is joining Parks & Trails New York in efforts to protect and enhance New York's state parks and historic sites for present and future generations. We look forward to partnering with the Alliance in advocating for our wonderful but beleaguered park system.

Grant awarded to improve access and use of Erie Canalway trail


The Federal Transit Administration awarded the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (ECNHC) a $225,000 grant to study opportunities for alternative mass transportation including bus, rail, and sightseeing services throughout the Corridor. The program also allows for the development of bicycle and pedestrian trails. PTNY has submitted a list of study recommendations to the ECHNC.



       Join us this




    Cycling the Erie Canal

              July 10-17


  Great Husdon Valley Pedal

            August 15-21


Registration opens January 1.



Great Green Holiday Gifts

Cycling the Erie Canal guidebook

GuidebookThe perfect gift for walkers, bicyclists, history buffs,
our Cycling the Erie Canal guidebook, with 42 full-color maps, includes attractions, historic sites, parks, lodging, bike shops and other services along the Erie Canalway Trail.

Order today.

PTNY membership

You'll save time while helping to protect New York's parks and trails.

Give the gift of membership.

Passport to parks


For just $65, you can give someone the gift of many lovely days in NYS parks. The Empire Passport is an annual pass providing unlimited day use vehicle entry to most of New York's state parks and recreational facilities.


GreenSpace Newsletter

The winter edition of GreenSpace is now available. Read it online.

Visit us on-line at www.ptny.org
Read our Blog at www.ptny.wordpress.com

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Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide advocate for the expansion, protection, and promotion of a network of parks, bike paths, greenways and rail and canal trails across the state.

 29 Elk St. Albany, NY 12207
(ph) 518-894-2195,  (fax) 427-0067