The second I Love My Park Day, a statewide effort to connect people and parks, is set to take place Saturday.
I Love My Park Day was organized by the nonprofit advocacy organization Parks and Trails New York.
Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks and Trails New York, said the public rallied its support for state parks in New York in 2010 when dramatic funding cuts curtailed operating hours at some parks and threatened the outright closure of dozens of others.
I Love My Park Day was meant to reinvigorate that support and help strengthen the connection between the public and the parks — places, Dropkin notes, that exist thanks to the state’s taxpayers.
“It’s really helping the parks get spruced up for the season,” Dropkin told The Journal News for a story on the inaugural event.
New York’s parks see 57 million visitors annually, second only behind California, and bring in $2 billion to the state’s economy each year, Dropkin said.
The 178 parks and 35 historic sites provide recreation and respite and also help protect watersheds, flora and fauna habitat and air quality, making them important resources to protect, Dropkin said.
Just two years after facing drastic cuts, the 2012 state budget included about $89 million for capital improvements in the parks, including $5 million to renovate Rockland Lake’s north pool.
Park advocates estimate that $1 billion is needed statewide to address all the infrastructure needs, but have praised the support that is being given.
Parks are of particular focus in Rockland, where more than one-third of the county is set aside as a village, town, county or state park.
The list of parks in the Hudson Valley where volunteers can pitch in Saturday follows below.
Go here for details: http://www.ptny.org/ilovemypark/
Fahnestock State Park (Clarence Fahnestock)
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
Franny Reese State Park
Harlem Valley Rail Trail (at Taconic State Park)
Harriman State Park – (Silvermine Picnic Area)
Hudson Highlands State Park
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Rockland Lake State Park (including Hook Mountain and Nyack Beach)
Staatsburgh State Historic Site
Taconic State Park
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site
File photo: Josh Hayes and Lisa McCann were among the volunteers who helped spruce up Rockland Lake State Park Saturday, May 5, 2012, as part of I Love My Park Day, a statewide effort to connect people and parks throughout New York. Hayes, of Manhattan, and McCann, of Queens, were part of a team representing the Manhattan-based Malibu Rum company. (Laura Incalcaterra / The Journal News)