ALBANY, N.Y., July 24 -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., issued the following news release:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced the completion of three renovated boating facilities in the Thousand Islands and one in the Finger Lakes in time for the 2014 summer boating season. The construction and improvements, including of pavilions, boat launches and loading docks that increase accessibility, were funded with $2.8 million from Governor Cuomo's New York Works initiative.
"The enduring traditions of boating and fishing in the Thousand Islands and Finger Lakes regions are cornerstones of their appeal and important drivers of tourism to Upstate New York," said Governor Cuomo. "The renovations at these four sites will ensure that their natural brilliance can be preserved for generations to come. I am pleased to have the New York Works program support the improvement of boating facilities at multiple State Parks, and encourage all to utilize the opportunities they offer to experience the magic of these areas."
"Our Thousand Islands and Finger Lakes Regions are gifted with some really stunning waterfronts," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "The new and improved facilities, thanks to Governor Cuomo's New York Works funding, will allow even greater recreational boating and fishing opportunities for residents and tourists alike, and improve their experience immensely."
The three New York State Parks in the Thousand Islands Region with improved boating facilities are:
Keewaydin State Park, Alexandria Bay (NY Works investment: $1.375 million)
Keewaydin's popular marina received a new waterfront comfort station with the addition of an enclosed, three-season second story pavilion. The new building boasts improved accessibility with redesigned parking and sidewalk entrances, modern and bright shower and restroom facilities and panoramic views of the majestic St. Lawrence from the second story three-season pavilion. The pavilion will be available to marina and camping patrons as well as offer a rental space, by reservation, for family and community gatherings.
Long Point State Park on Point Peninsula in the Town of Lyme (NY Works investment: $400,000)
The park now hosts a completely upgraded boat launch to accommodate the many patrons who enjoy the incredible sportfishing on Lake Ontario. The launch ramp has been expanded to provide for the simultaneous launching of two boats and the extension of the ramp into deeper water will accommodate launches later in the boating season when water depths are lower. A new, accessible loading dock which will adjust to fluctuating water levels completes this rehabilitation project.
Kring Point State Park, Redwood (NY Works Investment: $400,000)
Boating patrons will benefit from a long-overdue dredging project coupled with the installation of a new floating dock system that will add 30 rental boat slips to the park's amenities. A very popular park for boat fishing enthusiasts, Kring Point has been in need of docking capacity for many years. The park's sheltered bay on the inland side of the park had silted in badly and dredging was required to reestablish water depth at the park's boat launch. All of this, coupled with retaining wall repairs, ADA-compliant loading dock, and boat launch and sidewalk improvements, has been accomplished with this project.
Senator Patty Ritchie said, "From sportfishing to swimming, the waterways that dot the Thousand Islands Region provide countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. I applaud the Governor for investing in the North Country by making upgrades to our local State Parks. These changes not only improve the experience for local residents who use them daily, but also will encourage more tourists to visit the Thousand Islands and experience all our Region has to offer."
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell said, "This is great news for the parks in the Thousand Islands Region. Governor Cuomo's New York Works funding for facility improvements at Keewaydin, Long Point, and Kring Point will enhance and expand their capacities to be able to serve more boaters and fishing patrons. Our State Parks are one of our Region's most important assets and this funding is a sound investment for the North Country and Thousand Islands Region."
Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said, "The St. Lawrence River and our many other waterways are tremendous assets to the North Country, which is why I support the NY Works program. This important plan has funded park improvements among other projects to benefit residents and visitors. This Region is a natural playground for boaters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts, and our continued commitment to promoting and improving the area is important for the economy and bolstering our growing tourism industry."
Gary DeYoung, Executive Director of 1000 Islands International Tourism Council, said, "Investing in the Thousand Islands Region's infrastructure of marinas, launches and boater services is essential to maintaining the Region's position as a premier North American boating destination. Projects like the improvements at Keewaydin State Park have significant economic impact on our tourism economy."
In the Finger Lakes Region:
Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva (NY Works Investment$650,000)
Seneca Lake State Park's boat launch was reconstructed largely due to the poor condition of the original launch. The concrete piers at the dock had settled over time and tilted, leaving users walking on a slanted surface. The new, recently opened launch fixes this, includes the construction of a large parking area for boat trailers, new parking for the small boat marina, new paths, and is ADA-compliant. The trailer and small boat parking areas now consist of pervious pavement, and a small wetland was constructed to help with runoff from the site.
Senator Mike Nozzolio said, "On beautiful summer days, there is no better place to enjoy time on the water than right here in the Finger Lakes Region. The reconstruction of the boat launch at the Seneca Lake State Park will ensure continued access to Seneca Lake throughout the summer months for locals and tourists alike. I thank Governor Cuomo for his efforts to secure these important funds through the New York Works program."
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said, "Reconstruction of the Seneca Lake State Park boat launch provides improved access to one of New York's greatest natural resources. Investment in recreational infrastructure projects allows Finger Lakes families and visitors to enjoy a better outdoor experience. These needed upgrades will help thousands of boaters and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy a great summer on Seneca Lake."
The new facilities underscore Governor Cuomo's commitment to improving State Parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor included a third round of $90 million in New York Works funding for improvements to parks and historic sites. Launched by the Governor in 2012, New York Works is advancing repair and improvement projects at 109 State Parks and historic sites across the State.
The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the State. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.
In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing State and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the State's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized Statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.
These actions help support a robust segment of the State's tourism economy. A New York Sea Grant study found that recreational boating in New York State had an annual economic impact of $1.8 billion and accounted for 18,700 jobs. According to a 2013 report by the American Sportfishing Association, New York ranks second only to Florida in angler expenditures. Sportfishing has a total impact of $4.475 billion and supports 32,000 jobs in NYS.
New York State recognizes the great responsibility that comes with recreational boating and fishing. To make New York waterways safer, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a law requiring anyone born on or after May 1, 1996 who wants to operate a motorboat to obtain a Boating Safety Certificate by completing an approved eight-hour course. Courses may be completed and certificates obtained through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, U.S. Power Squadron, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. A list of approved courses is available on the State Parks website. Regardless of age, all personal watercraft (PWC) operators need a Boating Safety Certificate.
In addition, boaters, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to take steps to avoid transporting invasive species, particularly after leaving waters known to harbor aquatic invasive species. This can be accomplished by inspecting fishing and boating equipment to remove all mud, plants and other organisms, and thoroughly cleaning, draining and drying all equipment, clothing and other gear before using it in another body of water. Steps should be taken to actively disinfect fishing and boating equipment if it cannot be dried before its use in another body of water.
A comprehensive list of boat launch sites in New York State can be found here (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23874.html).