ALBANY, NY ( January 15 2021)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today praised Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his extraordinary leadership in support of New York state park infrastructure and the protection of the state’s vital natural resources.
Among the highlights of his State-of-the-State announcement is a new Parks 100 initiative that continues the governor’s historic commitment to rebuilding and expanding New York’s state parks and a plan to maintain the critically important Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
“Governor Cuomo’s historic commitment to revitalizing our state’s magnificent parks is particularly appreciated as New Yorkers are flocking to the outdoors for comfort, inspiration, and physical and mental wellness during this time of need,” said Kim Elliman, OSI president and CEO. “His investments in parks and the Environmental Protection Fund will be one of the most enduring legacies left to the next generation of New Yorkers and we look forward to seeing these vital programs included in the final budget.”
Parks 100 Initiative
Through the new Parks 100 initiative, the Governor has pledged $440 million, over the next four years, toward the revitalization of New York Parks. The fund is building up to the 2024 celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the New York State park system.
In addition to welcoming the capital improvement commitment for state parks, Elliman called attention to the plan’s goals of relieving overcrowding at popular outdoor destinations, emphasizing local recreation options, ensuring that parks and greenspaces are welcoming and accessible to new visitors, and protecting New York’s environmental and historic legacies.
Environmental Protection Fund
The Governor also pledged to continue funding the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at the historic level of $300 million. The EPF is a critical source of funding to protect natural resources and the communities that depend on them.
The EPF has a strong track record in protecting open space, preventing pollution, improving water quality, protecting family farms, and supporting parks and trails across the state. The program supports 350,000 jobs across the state and approximately $40 billion in economic activity each year.