Oppose further cuts to park funds
To the Editor:
How will the budget deficit in New York State affect its citizens? Unfortunately, cutbacks will affect us where we least expect.
One of these areas is the reduction or elimination of services or possible closings of New York State parks.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) operates and maintains 178 state parks and 35 state historic sites, covering a total of 325,000 acres. The park system represents a valuable collection of natural and recreational assets, including 1,350 miles of hiking trails, over 8,000 campsites, numerous swimming pools, beaches, boat launches, nature centers, and golf courses. All of these facilities are threatened.
The impact of the State Park System on New York’s economy is sizable: the benefits exceed the direct costs of maintaining the state parks many times over. The benefit-to-cost ratio is more than 5 to 1— more than $5 in benefits for every $1 in costs.
We need public support to keep the state parks operating with the proper funding.
Please join me in writing the Governor and our elected representatives in Albany to oppose any further cuts or budget reductions to our NYS Parks and Historic Preservation Budget.
Robert H. Scharf
Scharf is an appointed commissioner of the Finger Lakes State Park, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Commission