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The List of New York State Parks to Be Closed

I have not heard much of anything since Governor Paterson announced in February that New York State government would be closing 41 state parks and historic sites. Is this really going to happen?

In February, Governor David A. Paterson had issued the following statement at nysparks.state.ny.us/newsroom/press-releases/release.aspx?r=776:

“New York faces an historic fiscal crisis of unprecedented magnitude. It has demanded many difficult but necessary decisions to help ensure the fiscal integrity of our State. The unfortunate reality of closing an $8.2 billion deficit is that there is less money available for many worthy services and programs. In an environment when we have to cut funding to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and social services, no area of State spending, including parks and historic sites, could be exempt from reductions. We cannot mortgage our State’s financial future through further gimmicks or avoidance behavior. Spending cuts, however difficult, are needed in order to put New York on the road to fiscal recovery. Going forward through the budget process, I look forward to a productive dialogue with the Legislature on parks and historic sites, as well as other issues.”

OPRHP Commissioner Carol Ash issued the following statement:

“The 2010-11 Executive Budget included reductions to every area of State spending. As such, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has today put forward proposed closures and service reductions to meet its agency savings target. These actions were not recommended lightly, but they are necessary to address our State’s extraordinary fiscal difficulties.”

The National Park Service sent a warning letter to Governor Paterson, saying that closing any parks that have received federal funding in the past might disqualify them for federal funding in the future. This from troyrecord.com/articles/2010/04/11/news/doc4bc158c7d5ec4232719776.txt:

National Park Service officials have warned the state that closing the parks could put New York in violation of federal requirements. Under the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, New York has received approximately $230 million in assistance since 1965. According to the NPS, most of the parks and sites slated for closure have received federal funding from the LWCF or from the Federal Lands to Parks programs. NPS said closure of any state park or site that has received that assistance would be seen as noncompliance with federal requirements, which could jeopardize the state’s eligibility for participating in the program and could prevent the state from receiving thousands in federal assistance.

In a March 31 letter to Gov. David Paterson, national park service officials said closure of any park acquired through FLP could result in “reversion of the property to federal ownership and subsequent sale of the property.”

“Our position is that these are temporary closures, not permanent. We have no plans to convert the lands to other purposes,” said state parks spokesman Dan Keefe. “They’re temporary closures in response to the state’s fiscal crisis and they should not jeopardize federal funding.”

On Friday, Paterson’s office also responded to the National Park Service’s concerns, promising the parks and historic sites will be maintained as public outdoor recreation use in perpetuity. He said he’s asked Ash to meet with NPS to ensure that spending reductions won’t jeopardize the state’s eligibility to receive funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. His letter also pointed out that the state now receives only $2 million annually from the LWCF.

Here’s the list, issued by the State, of the recommended closures and service reductions:

    Saratoga-Capital Region

  • Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site (Rensselaer)–Close Historic Site
  • Hudson River Islands State Park (Rensselaer)–Close Park
  • John Boyd Thacher State Park (Albany)–Close Park
  • John Brown Farm Historic Site (Essex)–Close Historic Site
  • Johnson Hall State Historic Site (Fulton)–Close Historic Site
  • Max V. Shaul State Park (Schoharie)–Close Park
  • Schodack Island State Park (Rensselaer)–Close Park
  • Schoharie Crossing Historic Site (Montgomery)–Close Historic Site
  • Schuyler Mansion Historic Site (Albany)–Close Historic Site
    Central Region

  • Chittenango Falls State Park (Madison)–Close Park
  • Clark Reservation State Park (Onondaga)–Close Park
  • Fort Ontario State Historic Site (Oswego)–Close Historic Site
  • Helen McNitt State Park (Madison)–Close Park
  • Herkimer Home Historic Site (Herkimer)–Close Historic Site
  • Hunts Pond State Park (Chenango)–Close Park
  • Oquaga Creek State Park (Broome)–Close Park
  • Old Erie Canal State Park (Onondaga)–Close Park
  • Oriskany Battlefield/Steuben SHS (Oneida)–Close Historic Site
  • Pixley Falls State Park (Oneida)–Close Park
  • Robert Riddell State Park (Delaware)–Close Park
  • Selkirk Shores State Park (Oswego)–Close Public Swimming Beach
    Finger Lakes Region

  • Beechwood State Park (Wayne)–Close Park
  • Bonavista State Park (Seneca)–Close Park
  • Chimney Bluffs State Park (Wayne)–Close Park
  • Newtown Battlefield State Park (Chemung)–Close Park
  • Springbrook Greens State Park (Cayuga)–Close Park
  • Two Rivers State Park (Tioga)–Close Park
  • Buttermilk Falls State Park (Tompkins)–Close Public Swimming Area
  • Seneca Lake State Park (Seneca)–Close Lake Swimming Beach
  • Stony Brook State Park (Steuben)–Close Public Swimming Area
    Thousand Islands Region

  • Canoe Island State Park (Jefferson)–Close Park
  • Cedar Island State Park (Jefferson)–Close Park
  • Eel Weir State Park (St. Lawrence)–Close Park
  • Keewaydin State Park (Jefferson)–Close Park
  • Macomb Reservation State Park (Clinton)–Close Park
  • Mary Island State Park (Jefferson)–Close Park
  • Point Au Roche State Park (Clinton)–Close Park
  • Sackets Harbor State Historic Site (Jefferson)–Close Historic Site
    Genesee Region

  • Hamlin Beach State Park (Monroe)–Close Swimming Beach 3 Days per Week
  • Oak Orchard State Marine Park (Orleans)–Close Park
  • Regionwide Multiple Eliminate Camper Recreation Program
    Niagara Region

  • Joseph Davis State Park (Niagara)–Close Park
  • Knox Farm State Park (Erie)–Close Park
  • Wilson-Tuscarora State Park (Niagara)–Close Park
  • Woodlawn Beach State Park (Erie)– Close Park
  • Regionwide–Reduce interpretive programs
    Allegany Region

  • Allegany State Park (Cattaraugus)–Close Quaker Area Swim Beach; Close Quaker Cabins Area on December 1st; Eliminate Winter Trails Maintenance; Reduce Recreation Programs
  • Long Point State Park (Chautauqua)–Close Park
    Long Island

  • Brookhaven State Park (Suffolk)–Close Park
  • Bethpage State Park (Suffolk)–Eliminate Winter Sports; Reduce picnic area and polo field
  • Caleb Smith State Park Preserve (Suffolk)–Close Park
  • Cold Spring Harbor State Park (Suffolk)–Close Park
  • Connetquot River State Park (Suffolk)–Close Weekdays
  • Heckscher State Park (Suffolk)–Close Swimming Pool
  • Jones Beach State Park (Nassau)–Close West Swimming Pool; Eliminate July 4th fireworks
  • Montauk Downs State Park (Suffolk)–Close Swimming Pool
  • Nissequogue River State Park (Suffolk)–Close Park
  • Orient Beach State Park (Suffolk)–Close Park
  • Trail View State Park (Suffolk)–Close Park
    New York City Region

  • Bayswater Point State Park (Queens)–Close Park
  • Riverbank State Park (New York)–Reduce Operating Hours; Close Outdoor Swimming Pool; Eliminate Seniors Classes, and Community/Cultural Events
    Palisades Region

  • Fort Montgomery Historic Site (Orange)–Close Historic Site
  • Harriman SP– Anthony Wayne (Orange)–Close Park Area
  • Harriman SP – Group Camps (Orange)–Reduce Maintenance
  • High Tor State Park (Rockland)–Close Pool
  • Knox Headquarters Historic Site (Orange)–Close Historic Site
  • New Windsor Cantonment SHS (Orange)– Close Historic Site
  • Schunnemunk State Park (Orange)– Close Park
  • Stony Point State Historic Site (Orange)–Close Historic Site
  • Tallman Mountain State Park (Rockland)–Close Pool
    Taconic Region

  • Donald J. Trump State Park (Westchester)–Close Park
  • FDR (Roosevelt) State Park (Westchester)–Reduce Swimming Pool Season
  • Hudson Highlands State Park (Putnam)–Close Arden Point Area
  • James Baird State Park (Dutchess)–Reduce Golf Course Season
  • Mills Norrie State Park (Dutchess)–Reduce Golf Course Season
  • Olana State Historic Site (Columbia)–Close 2 Days per Week
  • Philipse Manor Hall Historic Site (Westchester)–Close Historic Site
  • Rockefeller State Park Preserve (Westchester)–Eliminate Interpretive Programs
  • Taconic Outdoor Education Center (Putnam)–Eliminate Interpretive Programs
  • Taconic State Park – Rudd Pond (Dutchess)–Close Rudd Pond Area
  • Wonder Lake State Park (Putnam)–Close Park

As I’ve stated before, closing New York’s parks would save very little money, and would most likely cost the state much more. Moreover, this seems more like punishment toward us New Yorkers, especially when a.) this “financial crisis” has been evident for decades but NY government refused to address it at all, b.) New York government could slash a lot more government and bureaucratic jobs to save money, c.) there’s so much waste and corruption in Albany and New York City that squeezing out a few nickels and dimes from our tourism department would be humorous if it wasn’t so explosively outrageous.

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About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (9)

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  1. First, I am so glad to be here. I think there is so much I can learn from your pages. Second, I think that is too bad about the NY parks closing. I am sure we have had some of that in CA, and increases in park parking and fees. I feel that is the only way sometimes to get people who uses these parks to pay-up. It seemed that the contributions and donations tend to come from people who have a good heart and not so much the people who actually use the parks.

  2. Marta says:

    That is really too bad that so many parks are on the list. Our state may do something similar but so far I think most are still open. Also some of the trailheads (parking, restroom) are planning on closing.

  3. Chris says:

    It would be nice if all of us that buy that buy outdoor licences in NY could maybe pay another $2 of $3. This could go towards buying or “EMINENT DOMAINING” these parks for the better use of the land. Better use would be “of the people”, “by the people” and “for the people” that want to keep our tourism and state lands open. Our outdoor licences would be personal watercraft permits, boat & trailer licencing, hunt/fish/trap licences, landowner permits–varmints, resorts-cabin-camper fees etc… Maybe 5 cents on all tackle/hunting/boating equipment, etc. by the pack or box. And don’t leaave out the other sports too-golfing, softball/baseball, hiking, skiing–5 cents won’t kill anybody. People have to understand that park fees cover all the expenses in every park–if we could all collectively get together on this, we will take control of our own space like we should be able to. We all know the state has way too much control over the things that attract people. Lots of individual nickles and dimes will add up and at least this would a little sanity to our rate increased on all our licences. We should just have to pay a fee for operating these parks to the state and not losing all we have left. I’m sure with all the outdoor groups we have in this state, we can take care of our own. We have to unite for ourselves-not just against the govt.. NRA, ducks unlimited, gun clubs, civil war re-enactments, stocking programs, trout unlimited, waterfront property owners, where are you all? Lets put something like this to a vote for us that understand the outdoors. With the $$ we can have our board committee to oversee our own business,our own rangers, groundskeeping,rental depts. etc.. while all the time keeping within the state laws–unless of course we want to make our own special regulations. The DEC can still be free to answer complaints when needed–poachers, etc. I’m sure if we can do this together I can work with us to create our own petiton offer to the state. A few of us won’t work–WE NEED ALL OF US THAT DO OUTDOOR THINGS to create our own business in this state. Remember the only state fees will be Operating Licence and whatever Fair Tax the state and us can negotiate as doable and willing. I live in Rochester and you have my email. One final though “””LETS GET TOGETHER AND STAY TOGETHER””” for the good of all of our own livelyhoods. Hope to hear from somebody soon on this–with NY involved time is running out. Especially when they want to take!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Chris says:

    I left out one thing. We would have name ourselves something different like “NYS parks of the people Assn.” or “Saving our NYS public lands” etc.. Would it also be possible to maybe take over most of our state forrest lands too? After all our licence fees go to pay for that too!!!!!
    Thanks again Chris

  5. Mark W. Englert says:

    Albany plus Washington D. C. =a Welfare state within a Welfare state-hence the double whammy

  6. Chris says:

    Is anybody reading these–or is this a govt web page to see some reaction to thier own ignorance towards the people that live in this state. We need to get together and fight for our state, or whats left of it. We need more than 4 of us here. I don’t know how to start a group to get petitions to force Albany’s hand on reality. I also have no contacts to keep these parks in the public eye. We need places for relaxation and thats what parks were made for–a place for families to go and enjoy the area. If anybody reads these notes and has any care or “pull” with any organizations—Please make yourself known so the few millions of us that do want to enjoy our state and county lands can have our say in this. Albany and the rest of our government is supposed to be there for our interests not to serve the $$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!

  7. Chris says:

    Oh yeah. Add this up $230 million since 1965(45 yrs) = about $1/2 million /yr on average. I know it didn’t start out at $500K and it is more than that now obviously. Even with these fugures (given above in the article) look at this. 500 cars / week @ $10 each is
    $5000/wk just for cars. 5K X 25 wks = $125,000/park. Add on boat launching, pavillion permits, special shows and attractions, diners, baitshops, boat slips, and camping/cabin rentals,etc. The park revenue will bring in more than enough to function. Most parks are just land with no expenses but taxes. Non-profit and non-profit eliminates taxes by being tax exempt. Taxes are the killer here–not the upkeep. There are probably many more services that could be bringing revenue too, I only mentioned the most well known.

  8. Walter Clark says:

    If NYSOPRHP decides to close down some state parks in New York State to save money, U.S. Department of interior, who are in charge of the Nationsl parks in the United States should someday purchase them from the state, and then turn them to national parks to help bring in more tourism in New York State. New York State should have a national park, like Arizona, Maine, Florida, Wyoming, Hawaii or State of Florida. That will help bring in more economy for both New York State, and the United States.

  9. Walter Clark says:

    Governor Paterson IS Closing 41 state parks. Keeping them open will cost money. This move will kill the state’s economy like it did in the 1970s and 1980s Governor David Paterson has punished the state’s tourism industry by taking away places where people can go to and get away from stress, or relax in their daily lives State parks, and historic sites are part of quality of life for people who travel in or out of New York state. They play an important role especially for school field trips, that are attractions for New York State.
    NYSDEC

    It seems like Governor Paterson don’t want people to gain access to state parks or state historic sites he is slated to close.
    Economic impacts on park closures could turn small towns into ghost towns 9even wiping them off the map).
    When Cuomo becomes our governor, he should raise money to keep the state parks, and historic sites open.
    New York State should scramble to get its parks off the government role, and the federal government (U.S. Dept. of the interior taking over them, and turn them into national parks.
    These parks are filled with historic treasures and endsngered
    species.
    If the state parks in New York were to close, its buildings, such as cabins, restrooms, picnic pavilions, beach houses, gift shops, and snack bar, its roof will leak and that building will be destroyed, and over the years, they will become abandoned, and become a target for vandals, and drug dealers, there will be abandoned trails will cause erosion, water pollution in nearby streams and lakes, which will become an easy access for hunters, who shoot wildlife.
    Closure of even one year will cause a state park, or a historic building to degrade (or to dilapidate), which will take years, (even decades) to recover