By Jeff Senterman, Director of Catskill Conservation Corps & Senior Program Coordinator
On February 10, dozens of representatives from the Trail Conference and a number of other organizations attended the third annual Catskill Park Awareness Day in Albany. During this day of advocacy, we educate lawmakers about the importance of the Catskill Park and the Catskill Forest Preserve to the region’s local communities, to visitors, and to New York State. As members of the Catskill Park Coalition—an alliance of like-minded groups committed to broadening public appreciation for the park and seeking resources to enhance and maintain it—the Trail Conference and fellow attendees chatted with legislators about the work we do and why it should be supported.
During our visit, the Catskill Park Coalition requested the following from Albany in 2015:
• Environmental Protection Fund: Support the creation of a dedicated line of $4 million in the Environmental Protection Fund for the Catskill Park.
• New York State Forest Rangers: Fully fund an Assistant Forest Ranger Program in NYS DEC Regions 3 & 4 and establish a 2015 Academy for Forest Rangers.
• Land Protection: Act on a number of priority parcels for acquisition in the Catskills.
• Recreation Plan for the Park: Help to secure funding to conduct a planning process for a Catskill Park Recreation Plan.
• Catskill Association for Tourism Services: Support additional funding in the amount of $100,000 for CATS to implement its marketing program in 2015.