County Protests NYS Land Acquisition For Bowman Lake Expansion

By: Shawn Magrath

PRESTON – The Chenango County Board of Supervisors is joining the Town of Preston in an official stance against New York’s acquisition of real property to expand Bowman Lake State Park.

In January, the Open Space Institute announced the acquisition of land adjacent to Bowman Lake State Park. The 307-acre property, located in the towns of Preston and McDonough, was secured by OSI at the request of New York State Parks. OSI will hold the land until it’s acquired by State Parks using funding provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.

The property is expected to grow the size of the park by almost 50 percent to nearly 1,000 acres. OSI says the preserved land will provide an important buffer to the camping park’s entrance, add hiking trails, and add new landscapes and habitats to the park.

But county officials are objecting for fear that the state’s acquisition of real property may add an extra burden to local taxpayers, namely in the Town of Preston. Although much of the state-owned land in the county is partially taxable, state park land is tax exempt.

“Bowman Lake State Park is surrounded by thousands of acres of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forest lands,” the resolution states, “and additionally, the Finger Lakes Trail traverses not only the adjacent NYSDEC forest lands, but Bowman Lake State Park itself.”

The resolution also notes that due to fiscal constraints, several state parks were at risk of closure in recent years. The state ceased operations at Hunts Pond in New Berlin in 2010.

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