WASHINGTON, D.C. – Those advocating for New York’s parks to stay open will no doubt be heartened by news that federal stipulations could prevent Governor David Paterson from proceeding with his plans to close 41 of the state’s parks and historical sites. But according to state parks officials, even those stipulations won’t be enough to keep them open.
The bearer of what is viewed by many as good news is Congressman Maurice Hinchey. On Friday the New York Democrat, who represents the state’s 22nd Congressional District, issued a statement indicating he had been told by the head of the National Park Service that New York could be prevented from closing any park which had received federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act.
“The plan to close state parks in New York would be a huge mistake and now we’ve received confirmation from the National Park Service that such closures aren’t even allowed in parks that receive federal funding,” said Hinchey, who suggested the revelation would “lay the groundwork for a dramatic reversal” of Paterson’s plan.
According to Hinchey, a number of the 55 state parks and historical sites on Paterson’s list have received funding through LWCF. Enacted in 1965, the fund subsidizes the acquisition of property by state and federal authorities for recreational and conservation purposes, and also regulates admission and fees at certain recreation areas...