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NY Advocacy Days: Encouraging Support for Trail Lands
Trail Conference staff and volunteers will be meeting with New York State representatives about the importance of trails and trail lands.
Our voices are one of the most powerful tools we have in ensuring trail lands remain protected, open, and safe for all people to access. That’s why Trail Conference staff and volunteers are heading to Albany on several days over the next two months to speak with elected officials about the importance of connecting people with nature. This year, we’ll be focusing on the following issues:
February 5: Catskill Park Day
As a member of the Catskill Park Coalition, the Trail Conference will ask state representatives to support a $14.3 million “Catskills Package." This funding would directly impact our ability to improve the trail experience in the Catskills through support of our Trail & Summit Stewards Program and our work as managers of the Catskill Conservation Corps.
February 12: EPF Day
Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo appropriated $300 million for the 2017 Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), continuing the historic funding level he established for the EPF the previous year. The EPF has directly supported the Trail Conference by providing funding for the rehabilitation of trails on Bear Mountain, including the original section of the Appalachian Trail, as part of the iconic Bear Mountain Trails Project. It funds the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), for which the Trail Conference serves as the host organization. The EPF is an annual avenue of support for Trail Conference projects, and we will ask representatives to back its full funding.
March 4: Park Advocacy Day
The Trail Conference supports the continued revitalization of the New York State park system, home to a significant number of trails that we maintain and monitor for invasive species. We will meet with representatives to stress the importance of funding for state parks, particularly the operating resources that keep our parks open. Inadequate staffing of maintenance crews and forest rangers affects park accessibility and visitor safety. It is a perennial that we will continue to raise.