Local government officials and conservation groups are cheering the money set aside in Gov. Kathy Hochul's $216 billion spending proposal that is meant to benefit the Adirondacks and Catskills in New York.
The moeny includes millions of dollars for land preservation and conservation, as well as money for combating invasive species and trail building. All told, Hochul wants to put $400 million in the state's Environmental Protection Fund as part of the new budget.
The added funding is coming as the parks have seen an increase in visitors in recent years, leading to overuse concerns on trails.
"We are so pleased to see Gov. Hochul back up her State-of-the-State commitment to protecting the Catskill and Adirondack Forest Preserves in her budget proposal," said Jeff Senterman, the executive director of the Catskill Center. "Increasing EPF funding will help manage high use in the Catskill Park. We will advocate for this and other Catskill Park-related funding to remain in the finalized budget."
The plan includes $50 million for trail building, sanitation facilities and education, while $40 million would be spent on open space. And Hochul wants $17 million for handling invasive species in the parks as well as $13 mllion for environmental justice programs.
At the same time, the budget includes a planned increase in staff and funding for the Department of Environmental Conservation and money for the Adirondack Park Agency.
“The town of Keene is grateful for the governor's vision of supporting local government in providing access to state land, promoting stewardship, and improving our water infrastructure," said Keene Town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson, whose community is in the heart of the Adirondacks's High Peaks region. "The state has been a strong partner and it's great to see this commitment."