14 State Historic Sites, 41 State Parks to Close, Another 24 At Risk

At least 14 state historic sites and 41 state parks are targeted to close if Governor Paterson’s Executive Budget is enacted, according to a list released today by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). Twenty-four more parks and historic sites will face severely reduced hours and services. The historic site closures would mean nearly half of the 36 state operated historic sites would close indefinitely. In all a total of 25 of 36 historic sites will either close or under threat of closure. A complete list of the closings and those threatened is included after the jump.

“If parks are forced to close it will be the first time in the 125-year history of the System,&#8221 Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York, said. &#8220Even during the Great Depression our parks remained open for people to enjoy and spend time with their families in nature.”

According to a 2009 report [pdf], state parks and historic sites generate $1.9 billion annually in economic activity statewide. Visitors from outside the community account for about 40% of that activity&#8211visitors and money communities will lose if parks are forced to close.

Additionally, state parks and historic sites account for 20,000 non-park jobs statewide. These are long-term, sustainable jobs that will last as long as our state invests in its parks system. The investment in State Parks is a good one- for every dollar the state spends on parks, it gets back $5 dollars in economic activity.

“News of the closings will devastate many communities as their citizens rely on parks for affordable, close to home recreation and their businesses rely on parks to bring in revenue,” said Dropkin.

In addition to economic benefits, state parks preserve wildlife habitat, provide an escape for millions of New Yorkers in these difficult economic times, and protect the state’s heritage for future generations. The NYS Park System is the oldest and most historic state park system in the nation.

The State Parks budget is only one-quarter of one percent of the total state budget. The savings to the state from closing the 57 parks is estimated to be $6.3 million.

Here is the list of Historic Sites to close (and those under threat of closure according to a memo leaked to the media yesterday):

Long Island Region
Walt Whitman State Historic Site [Under Threat]

Lower Hudson Region
Fort Montgomery Historic Site
Knox Headquarters Historic Site
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
Stony Point State Historic Site
Philipse Manor Hall Historic Site
Senate House State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Washington’s Headquarters Sate Historic Site [Under Threat]

Taconic Region
John Jay Homestead Historic Site [Under Threat]
Staatsburgh State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Olana State Historic Site {Under Threat]

Saratoga-Capital Region (Including the Adirondacks)

Bennington Battlefield State Park
Crailo State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Crown Point State Historic Site [Under Threat]
John Brown Farm Historic Site
Johnson Hall State Historic Site
Schoharie Crossing Historic Site
Schuyler Mansion Historic Site

Central Region
Fort Ontario State Historic Site
Herkimer Home Historic Site
Hyde Hall State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Lorenzo State Historic Site [Under Threat]
Oriskany Battlefield/Steuben State Historic Site

Finger Lakes Region
Ganondagan State Historic Site [Under Threat]

Thousands Island Region
Sackets Harbor State Historic Site

4 thoughts on “14 State Historic Sites, 41 State Parks to Close, Another 24 At Risk

  • November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This is an atrocity. Our elected officials are more than willing to throw billions of dollars to save financial institutions, run by people who don’t have the decency to forgo millions in bonuses, for ruining our country. But support historic sites & parks, or support small businesses, that’s a sin to them. No lobby money in that.We as a people need to stand up & let these carpetbaggers know, YOU SERVE THE PEOPLE. Vote them out of office, if they can’t or won’t do the job they swore to do.These sites are not just curiosities, they serve to show the amount of sacrifice that our forefathers made to build this country. Many of these sites are the last resting place of those very people.
    This is an atrocity!!!
    Dan Hess
    Colonel Albert Pawling’s Levies
    Brigade of the American Revolution

  • November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    In my opinion, this is among the most short-sighted budget decisions I’ve ever heard. Others will make the economic arguments against this action, how heritage tourism is an important and growing component of our economy, and how closing these sites will require expensive moving and storage of the collections, that maintaining security alone will prove expensive, and so on. These are sound arguments.

    I make another argument: These facilities are necessary for the happiness, good health, and education of the people of the State of New York. Without them we will be less as a people. It is at least partly through a shared history and through common recreation that we realize we are a people who share common needs and common aspirations.

    Edward Knoblauch

  • November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    As usual government threatens to use a hammer to fix a problem. It is hard to fathom the reasoning behind such a stupid action. Or is it the old “see what will happen if you don’t cough up more money” trick. Or “let’s get everyone really riled up” and then “restore” the money for some of the the parks and historic sites so that we will all say “good job government” and be placated before another round of “the sky is falling” cries. It is really discouraging to have become so cynical about the motives of our governor, legislators and those who claim to be public officials.

    Marjory Allen Perez

  • November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    If this is to pass, it would make sense in this time of need for the government to relax the rules that the unemployed can not do volunteer work. I would have to think that there are many good people who are sitting around without work, who would enjoy helping the parks and trails in this time of need. But the rules of collecting unemployment say that one can not even do volunteer work without losing your benefits. Even if volunteers were to patrol the parks to decrease vandalism, it would help to preserve the resource for the time. It seems strange that the CCC created many parks as work for the unemployed, and now we will close the parks when they can do the most good. Let the willing unemployed help.
    Mike Riley, Port Byron


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