Bowman Lake park could still face closure

McDONOUGH – Bowman Lake could still face closure if state legislators decide not to transfer $5 million from the Environmental Protection Fund to help cover the cost of operating New York State’s Office of Parks Recreation and Historical Preservation, a department spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

According to NYSOPRHP Spokesperson Dan Keefe, the 660-acre McDonough park is one of 34 state parks and historical sites whose continued operation hinges on the transferal of those EPF funds. In addition, another 18 - including Chenango Valley State Park in Broome County - would see service reductions.

“The hope is that these (measures) would be temporary,” Keefe reported in a phone interview on Monday.

The 52 facilities on the list are in addition to the 41 state parks and 14 historic sites which have already been slated for closure as a result of Governor Paterson’s executive budget proposal. Chenango County’s only other state park, Hunt’s Pond State Park in New Berlin, was included on that initial list, which was released on Feb. 19.

All tolled, 22 of the 26 state parks in the Central New York region would be affected, if the greater cuts are realized.

The state agency has been hit hard by budget cuts over the last two years – to the tune of 25 percent of their overall budget. Last year, Keefe explained, they were forced to cut services at 100 parks across the state.

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