Local government officials and conservation organizations are cheering the money that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $216 Billion spending proposal is intended to benefit the Adirondacks, Catskills and other areas in New York.
The moeny includes millions to preserve and conserve land, and money for trail building and fighting invasive species. Hochul hopes to invest $400 million in the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.
As parks have seen an increase number of visitors in recent decades, the funding is expected to be increased. This has led to concerns about overuse on trails.
“We are so happy to see Gov. Hochul back up her State-of-the-State commitment to protecting the Catskill and Adirondack Forest Preserves in her budget proposal,” said Jeff Senterman, the executive director of the Catskill Center. “Increasing EPF funding will help manage high use in the Catskill Park. We will continue to advocate for this funding and other Catskill Park-related funds to be included in the final budget.
The plan includes $50m for trail building, sanitation facilities, education, and $40m for open space. Hochul is seeking $17 million to manage invasive species within the parks and $13 million for programs related to environmental justice.
The budget also includes a plan to increase staff and provide funding for the Department of Environmental Conservation as well money for Adirondack Park Agency.
“The governor’s vision to support local government in providing state land access, promoting stewardship and improving our water infrastructure is greatly appreciated by Keene Town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson,” said Joe Pete Wilson, whose community lies in the heart Adirondacks’ High Peaks region. “The state has been a strong partnership and it’s wonderful to see this commitment.”