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State parks need federal support

To the editor:

More than seven million people will visit the Adirondack Mountains this year, but sadly, without needed federal support these mountains may not be prepared for such crowds, visitors may see a park which isn’t as pristine as in the past, and development may continue along its borders. The current Congress could bring renewed hope to these majestic mountains — with their beloved lakes, pristine trails, and popular ski resorts — by acting to protect our parks for generations to come.

Decades ago, Congress set up the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect our parks against overdevelopment and pollution. Unfortunately, this program has been routinely underfunded for years. This has put the Adirondacks—and the memories and experiences millions will have by visiting them — at risk.

That’s bad news for the Adirondacks, as well as other parks like Harriman State Park in the Hudson River Valley and Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region, where New Yorkers spend time hiking, fishing, boating, camping, or simply enjoying the scenery. We should protect these special places so that future generations can experience seeing a moose up close, or catching trout from the crystalline waters of a mountain lake, just as generations of New Yorkers have done before us.

We owe it to our children to protect the Adirondack Mountains, and other places that make New York special, with full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for supporting our parks, open spaces, and wilderness areas, and we hope New York’s legislators will give our parks the protections they deserve.

Eric Whalen

Field Organizer

Environment New York

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