Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

January 19, 2006

Maureen Wren (DEC) 518-402-8000
Wendy Gibson (OPRHP) 518-486-1868

State DEC And OPRHP Highlight Environmental Initatives In 2006-07 Executive Budget

Funding Would Support Important Environmental, Recreational and Economic Initiatives

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Denise M. Sheehan and State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) Commissioner Bernadette Castro today highlighted key initiatives in Governor George E. Pataki's 2006-07 Executive Budget that will be instrumental in protecting open space, restoring historic and environmentally-important sites, and improving recreational access and opportunities throughout the Empire State.

DEC Commissioner Sheehan said, "Once again, Governor Pataki has presented a clear vision for the continued protection of our State's diverse natural resources and unique environmental heritage. The Executive Budget proposal will further build on the environmental accomplishments achieved throughout the past 11 years by providing the funding to support critical programs, improvements, and initiatives across the State."

OPRHP Commissioner Castro said, "This year's funding levels in the Executive Budget underscore Governor Pataki's unprecedented commitment to safeguarding New York's natural resources and preserving historic treasures for the future. With capital investments in our facilities and additional funding to staff our growing number of properties, our State parks and sites from Long Island to Niagara will continue to flourish, providing unmatched enjoyment for millions of families and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages."

In the 2006-07 Executive Budget, Governor Pataki proposed more than $1.4 billion for environmental and recreation programs. In addition to the record $180 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), 16 new positions would be created within OPRHP for the operation and maintenance of newly-acquired and expanded parks and heritage programs and 43 new positions within DEC. The additional DEC staff will include 15 for DEC's stewardship efforts and land management projects, seven for a new and enhanced wetland program, and 21 for critical inspection and compliance functions.

Other important funding initiatives in the Executive Budget include:

  • $6.5 million to support the construction of the Adirondack Natural History Museum in Tupper Lake, Franklin County. When completed, the Museum will include state-of-the-art exhibits highlighting the history and diverse array of natural resources of the Adirondack region. The mission of the Museum is to inspire a broad public understanding of the natural systems that shape and sustain life in the Adirondacks.
  • $5 million to perform necessary upgrades to DEC's fish hatchery system. The funding will support upgrades and reconstruction of the Rome Hatchery in Oneida County; the Randolph Hatchery in Cattaraugus County; and the Salmon River Hatchery in Oswego County. DEC hatcheries produce fish for stocking into more than 1,200 public waters across the State. The Executive Budget funding will support a new hatchery building and enclosure of the major raceway at the Rome Hatchery; enhanced wells at Salmon River; and rebuilding of the Randolph Hatchery.
  • $2.5 million for rehabilitation at the Bear Mountain Inn, Bear Mountain State Park, Rockland County. This additional funding will enable the completion of the ongoing redevelopment of this historic Hudson Valley landmark this year. The project involves complete rehabilitation of the Inn's first floor, a new roof, elevators and fire suppression systems, geothermal heating, new entrances and renovation of dining and lodging areas;
  • $1 million for Old Fort Niagara, Fort Niagara State Park. The recommended funding will complete a renovation of the Fort's Visitor Center, providing new exhibits and landscaping improvements to this very important cultural site in Western New York. Visitors to the Fort can experience the oldest buildings in the Great Lakes region, living history programs, exhibits, and special events.
  • $1 million for DEC's Camp Santanoni in the Town of Newcomb, Essex County. The funding will be used for important repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction work at the only publicly-owned Adirondack Great Camp. The complex is listed in the State and National Historic Registers as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark. Funds will be used for projects including the restoration of masonry walls and bridges, fire protection, and preservation of the main lodge, farm complex, and the gate lodge complex.
  • $750,000 to support the retention of the railroad right-of-way for the 30-mile rail line that runs between Newcomb and North Creek. Funding will allow the tracks, ties and other infrastructure to remain intact so that state and local officials can explore the use of the rail corridor - a significant feature of the State's purchase of the beautiful and historic Tahawus tract - as a recreational and tourism resource.
  • $500,000 for newly acquired Jamesport State Park and Preserve. The funding is recommended for this unique natural area located on Long Island Sound in Suffolk County. The support will provide for trail development and for improved public access to the property.
  • $500,000 for DEC's Mattituck Boat Launch Facility to be used for improvements to the boat launch and other facilities at the Long Island Sound public access site located on Mattituck Creek, Town of Southold, Suffolk County. Plans for the entire 15-acre creekfront complex include shoreline restoration and a visitors parking and information area.

These initiatives are anticipated to provide important environmental, recreational, historical and economic benefits Statewide. For instance, the American Sportfishing Association has estimated the annual economic output derived from sportfishing in New York to be $2.1 billion. DEC estimates that $600 million of that total is attributable to fish reared and stocked from DEC hatcheries.