$10M Annual “Catskills Package”

Catskill Park Coalition Works to Build a Stronger Catskill Park and Forest Preserve

Catskill Park Awareness Day: Albany, NY, Tuesday, February 7th, 2017, CatskillCenter.org/events for details.

Arkville, NY – Catskill Park Coalition seeks a commitment from the Governor and the State Legislature to build on regional collaborative successes by establishing an annual $10M “Catskills Package” that would improve our regional economy by supporting both enhanced access to, and stewardship of, our public lands, ultimately providing a world-class experience for visitors and residents alike, that strengthens the economy on Main Street and our natural environment by spurring the development of permanent sustainable jobs.

In years past, thanks to support from Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature, our beloved region has seen strong growth in the marketing and promotion of our region, providing a boost to our recreational tourism-based economy. Programs like the Catskills Challenge, have drastically raised awareness and the profile of the Catskills as a region. We’ve also seen expanded support for our local tourism groups, like Catskill Area Tourism Services, as well as the opening of the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center. The Coalition also looks forward to advancing a Comprehensive Recreational Planning process in the coming months that will update recreation plans for a variety of public lands, more places and more ways to play in the Catskills will be a boon to our region’s recreation-based economy.

The Catskill Park Coalition unanimously agrees that the following projects are to be priorities for the Catskills. These are all projects that the diverse members of the Coalition, a group representing regional enterprise, conservation groups, land trusts, environmental advocates, sportsman’s groups, religious groups and recreational users, believe will continue to improve our public lands to benefit all stakeholders in the future. Please visit CatskillParkCoalition.org for details on the Coalition.

These projects were developed with input from members of the Catskill Park Coalition andthe Catskill Park Advisory Committee. Together these efforts will continue to expand the positive economic benefit of public lands in the Catskills, growing a sustainable economy that protects our ecosystems while maintaining vibrant Main Streets.

The Catskills Package - $10,000,000

  1. Continue the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Aid to Localities line recurring annually at $500,000 for Catskill Park access improvements and add an additional $50,000 in annual recurring support for staffing and operations at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center - $550,000
  2. Additional  Environmental Protection Fund and New York Works funding towards stewardship and maintenance activities in the Catskill Park - $4,000,000
    • Remove the cap on Line 3 of land stewardship money to allow for additional spending within the Catskill Park’s Forest Preserve
    • Fund contracts for the Catskill Conservation Corps, Summit/Trail Stewards and Professional Trail Crews in the Catskills, create new stewardship opportunities, and increase overall stewardship efforts to match growth in users realized by regional tourism marketing and promotion
    • Develop a greater equity between stewardship funding at the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), which needs to result in more resources for the DEC to manage and maintain the Forest Preserve and Catskill Park
  3. Support the “Save the Hemlocks” project to reduce the impact of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid by developing effective biocontrol (laricobius negrinus) administered by Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP)/Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) through Cornell University, DEC and DEP efforts - $2,000,000 
  4. Increased support for Catskill Area Tourism Services (CATS) to improve regional marketing efforts, direct visitors to the Catskill Interpretive Center as a Catskill Park visitor center, and provide better connections between the Catskill Park and its communities - $2,000,000
  5. Increase the budget and staffing for the DEC Lands and Forests Division to better manage Catskill Park lands. Continue annual Forest Ranger academies to maintain and grow the Ranger force to maintain public safety within the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve - $1,000,000
  6. Comprehensive economic study for the Catskills building on prior Catskill Park Coalition study, acts as snapshot of before and after Sullivan County Casino development - $450,000

We applaud and thank Governor Cuomo and Senators Seward and Amedore for their recent work supporting our Catskills community, in particular recent funding to develop a recreation plan that expands all the ways one can play in the Catskills. We look forward to working with the full legislature to continue to improve the Catskill Park for the benefit of all.

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ABOUT THE CATSKILL CENTER FOR CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Our Mission: To protect and foster the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the Catskill region. Guided by the foundational understanding that conservation creates opportunity, we are the major force advocating for the Catskill region.  Since 1969, we have led the effort to protect the Catskill Park and Catskill Forest Preserve, while advancing local and regional economic development initiatives.  Our interdisciplinary approach to protecting our ecosystems and creating vibrant communities encompasses four program areas – Arts & Culture, Education, Natural Resources, and Regional Planning. 

Connect with us on social media @catskillcenter#catskillcenter

 

ABOUT THE CATSKILL PARK COALITION

The Catskill Park Coalition is an alliance of like-minded 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. The Catskill Park Coalition is co-chaired by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and Catskill Mountainkeeper.

CatskillParkCoalition.org 

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