New York State has embarked on a commendable journey to enrich its natural and historical treasures, announcing a substantial $1.8 million in grants to 27 not-for-profit organizations.
This initiative, pivotal in the stewardship of state parks, trails, historic sites, and other public lands, marks a significant stride in preserving and enhancing the Empire State’s environmental and cultural legacy.
The grants, aimed at fostering public-private partnerships, will channel funds into new amenities for state parks, maintenance of historic sites, and the development of educational programs and special events.
The Park and Trail Partnership Grant program, a cornerstone of this initiative, is funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund, according to a report by The Troy Record.
This program is a testament to New York’s commitment to its natural and historical assets, administered by Parks & Trails New York in collaboration with the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The ninth round of these awards, matched by over $350,000 in private funds, underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in environmental stewardship. Recipients of these grants are required to raise outside funding of at least 10% of their total project budgets, ensuring a shared investment in the future of New York’s natural landscapes.
Governor Kathy Hochul, in a news release, highlighted the critical role of Friends Groups in the success of State Parks. “Our state parks, trails, forests, and historic sites offer some of the best outdoor recreational and cultural opportunities found anywhere in the world,” she stated.
These grants are designed to leverage the hard work of these groups, enhancing the State Park system for the benefit of all New Yorkers. State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid echoed these sentiments, praising the grassroots Friends organizations for their enduring contribution to the success of the New York State Park system.
As New York approaches its 100th anniversary in 2024, these grants are seen as a catalyst for making these organizations even more effective partners in the coming decades.
The Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos also emphasized the critical partnership of friends groups and not-for-profit stewardship organizations. These collaborations are vital to DEC’s efforts to advance conservation, encourage responsible recreation, and improve visitor access on State lands.
The $1.8 million in grants, supported by Governor Hochul, bolsters the ongoing work to improve State lands, sites, and facilities. This initiative is a clear indication of New York’s dedication to its natural and historical sites, ensuring their preservation and accessibility for future generations.
The diverse range of projects funded by these grants is a reflection of New York’s rich environmental and cultural tapestry. From trail restoration at Bannerman Castle to the installation of an ADA kayak launch at Point au Roche, each project contributes uniquely to the state’s ecological and historical landscape.
These initiatives, varying in nature and scope, collectively enhance the quality of life in New York, making it a healthier and happier place to live and visit. The projects not only cater to the preservation of natural beauty but also ensure that these spaces are accessible and enjoyable for all.
Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Paul Steely White encapsulated the essence of these efforts. “Behind many of our favorite outdoor experiences—hikes, picnics with our family, bike rides—there is a hard-working local organization making that experience possible,” he said.
These grassroots organizations, fueled by dedication, expertise, and volunteerism, are the unsung heroes behind the state’s cherished green spaces. The Park and Trail Partnership Grants are not just financial aids; they are acknowledgments of the tireless efforts of these groups in making New York’s parks, trails, and historic sites accessible and enjoyable for millions.