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State parks to reopen

All 55 closed state parks affected by new agreement

All New York State parks and historic sites will reopen after being shut down earlier this month, including Chittenango Falls State Park in Madison County.

Governor David A. Paterson announced that an agreement has been reached with the Legislature to ensure there are sufficient revenues to maintain operations at all New York State parks and historic sites, including all Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The agreement with the Legislature achieves $74 million in State General Fund savings and contains Governor Paterson's E-waste Program Bill.

"I am pleased that an agreement has been reached to reopen the 55 State parks and historic sites that were closed earlier this month," Paterson said. "In addition, we are providing critical funding for clean air and water programs and implementing a new program to better manage the disposal of E-waste that I proposed and have fought for."

The agreement reached with the legislature includes $74 million in General Fund savings by reducing the amount of Real Estate Transfer Tax revenues to be deposited into the Environmental Protection Fund by $80 million, using $6 million of RETT funds to provide for the operation of 55 State parks and historic sites that had previously been closed and depositing the remaining $74 million in the General Fund.

The state will use proceeds from the RETT to support state parks ($11 million) and for payments to local governments in the forest preserve ($5 million). These $16 million in expenditures are not included in the EPF.

"State parks are part of our history and our future," Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said. "Families depend on parks for recreation, and as the economic engine that drives our tourism industry, New York depends on them for its economy."

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