State putting $17M into outdoor recreation facilities

New York state will fund more than $17 million for outdoor recreation improvement projects that are scheduled to begin this summer.

The eastern Adirondacks and Champlain Valley will receive $11,294,847, by far the most money alloted to any region. The western Adirondacks will receive $899,727.

The projects are geared toward improving recreation areas located on public lands, including campgrounds, day-use areas, trails and boat launches.

Statewide, $12 million will fund 27 projects across the state to develop, renovate or reconstruct boat launches, improve trails and public access – including work related to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance – and upgrade infrastructure such as roads, bridges, utilities and buildings. In addition, 83 projects totaling $5 million will use Environmental Protection Fund awards for enhanced fishing and boating access, educational camp and center improvements, new kiosks, and upgrades to campgrounds, day-use areas, roads and parking areas.

Among the projects being funded are those which will facilitate public access to the former Finch lands along the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake this summer and into the Essex Chain of Lakes this fall. These facilities include designated parking areas, signs and kiosks that will assist visitors to these historic lands. These projects will make it easier for residents and tourists to access the 7,200 acres of Forest Preserve lands that will be open to the public for the first time in 100 years.

The governor’s office claims that state lands support New York’s $54 billion outdoor recreation and tourism industries, and therefore are a key component of many regional economies. Last year, more than 10 million people visited state Department of Environmental Conservation lands and facilities, according to the state.

“Improving the infrastructure of New York’s outdoor recreation hot spots will help spur economic development and job creation, boost tourism and strengthen regional economies,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release. “New York’s vast network of camping, hiking, fishing and boating recreation sites provide millions of tourists with incredible opportunities for outdoor adventures at every turn. This funding, an important component of our New York Works program, will help upgrade and expand recreation prospects across the state and allow even more visitors to take advantage of the tremendous natural resources New York has to offer.”

“New York’s beautiful natural resources offer great outdoor experiences for individuals and families, whether it is a day trip, afternoon hike swim, or overnight stay,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release. “These projects will help to ensure that our outdoor recreation facilities are easily accessible and offer a multitude of activities for people of all ages.”

Local outdoor recreational projects to receive funding