Here's a media release from Chris Barons, Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s possible opponent this November, in response to Hawley’s ‘No’ vote on re-opening state parks:
Although I deplore the backroom politics and pretentious raiding of the Environmental Protection Fund, Mr. Hawley's assessment is short-sighted.
In March 2009, a study prepared for Parks & Trails New York by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) (Heintz et.al., 2009), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, found that the combination of annual state and visitor spending at all New York State Parks supports up to $1.9 billion in economic output and business sales and up to 20,000 jobs throughout the state.
In February, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) released a list of closures and service reductions in order to meet the budget reduction, part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit.
The OPRHP’s list of closures included 41 parks and 14 historic sites, and service reductions at 23 parks and 1 historic site. Included in the closure list was Allegany State Park, which provides $62 million in revenue and 860 jobs to its three-county area.
Park visitor expenditures within the Allegany Region were estimated to be between $33.7 million and $69.3 million annually with 87% of its visitors from outside the tri-county area.
Clearly the nine Finger Lakes Region Parks and three Genesee Region Parks would generate more local revenue than the $14.9 million outlay to keep them open. Allegheny Park alone generates nearly five-times the outlay, and there are eight other regions across the state.