Conservation Spotlight: State Parks and Open Space (AMC,02/13)
The following is an excerpt from theÂ FebruaryÂ 2013 edition of ‘Get Out, Speak Up’, the monthly conservation e-newsletter from the Appalachian Mountain Club. Links have been added by the editor.
Outlook for State Parks and Open Space in 2013
For many people, state parks and other local open spaces are the easiest way to get outdoors for an after-work breather or quick weekend adventure. Even though 720 million people visit state parks each year, most park systems are struggling after ongoing budget cuts. As state budget deliberations get underway, there is reason to be hopeful, but your voice will be needed to ensure our parks, forests, and waters are protected. Hereâ€™s the outlook for some states in our region:
- In New York, park and trail funding received a boost under Governor Cuomoâ€™s recently released 2013-2014 budget, which calls for $19 million more for the Stateâ€™sÂ Environmental Protection Fund, an increase of 15% over previous years. New York has most recently celebrated newly protected parkland around the Hudson River Gorge, in the Adirondacks, and within the New York Highlands.
- In Massachusetts, Governor Patrickâ€™s proposed budget would re-open closed parks and provide additional funding for environmental agencies. Without this additional funding, more parks will be closed and natural resource protection will continue to suffer from the severe cuts implemented over recent years.
- Maineâ€™s Governor LePage has indicated he will issue $53.5 million in bonds for conservation, clean water upgrades, and construction and energy efficiency at post-secondary educational institutions. This includes $5 million for the Land for Maineâ€™s Future bond that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November, thanks to support from many of you!
- In New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan will be delivering her biennial budget address to the state legislature on February 14th. The conservation community will be listening carefully for mention of restoring funding to LCHIP (Land and Community Heritage Investment Program), addressing critical needs in the state park system, and ensuring state resource agencies like the Department of Environmental Services are adequately funded.
Click here to learn more about the Appalachian Mountain Club’s conservation efforts.