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State Park Sites in Rockland Set to Close

by Cliff Weathers

New York State Parks officials announced today that they plan to close 55 parks and historic sites and reduce services at other parks to help shrink the state’s $8.2 billion budget deficit. Several parks and sites located in Rockland County will be affected. The cuts are reportedly in addition to park services cuts implemented over the past two years, which included reduced services at Nyack Beach State Park. The affected parks and sites include:

  • High Tor State Park. The pool will be closed.
  • Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site. The site will be closed.
  • Tallman Mountain State Park. The pool will be closed.
  • Harriman State Park. The Anthony Wayne park area will be closed and there will be reduced maintenance at group camps.

Unfortunately, there is now no public place in Orangetown where children can swim outdoors this summer. That is, unless some enterprising local politicians decide to do something about it. Perhaps the Town of Orangetown can convince the State to keep the pool open or rent the pool from the State. How about purchasing the pool at Tallman Mountain for a nominal amount to take it off the state’s hands? It certainly would be an inexpensive way of finally providing this town service.

Also, we should consider that our exceptional State Park system is a revenue and job generator for the State and the local economies near the parks. New York’s parks attract out-of-state tourists and generate up to $2 billion in annual economic activity. Every $1 of taxes spent on parks generates $5 in jobs and economic activity. So the loss of parks in Rockland county also means a loss of revenue and wealth.

In addition to these sites in Rockland, many other parks in the region will be affected:

  • Knox Headquarters Historic Site (Orange County). The site will be closed.
  • New Windsor Cantonment SHS (Orange County). The site will be closed.
  • Schunnemunk State Park (Orange County). The park will be closed.
  • Donald J. Trump State Park (Westchester County). The park will be closed.
  • FDR (Roosevelt) State Park (Westchester County). Reduced swimming pool season.
  • Hudson Highlands State Park (Putnam County). Arden Point Area will be closed.
  • James Baird State Park (Dutchess County). Reduced golf season.
  • Mills Norrie State Park (Dutchess County). Reduced golf season.
  • Olana State Historic Site (Columbia County). Will close two days per week.
  • Philipse Manor Hall Historic Site (Westchester County). The site will be closed.
  • Rockefeller State Park Preserve (Westchester County). The park will be closed.
  • Taconic Outdoor Education Center (Putnam County). The site will be closed.
  • Taconic State Park ‘€“ Rudd Pond (Dutchess County). The site will be closed.
  • Wonder Lake State Park (Putnam County). The park will be closed.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation released this suggested list of closures and cuts today. The office is facing a $29 million cut in funding, which is about 16 percent of its annual budget. It’s fiscal year begins in April. The cuts are in addition to park services cuts implemented over the past two years, which included reduced services at Nyack Beach State Park.

See also: PTNY’s “Call to Action: Don’t Close My Park!”

This article is cross-posted at the Rockland Progressive Dems Web site.

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