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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"A long walk for NY's economy"

ALBANY, April 21 -- The weather sure hasn’t been cooperating to help us truly turn the corner into warmer days and milder nights, but more and more of us are still doing our best to get outside for a little fishing, a bike ride or a long walk on the trail.

That appears to be an ever-growing trend around the nation -- and a very positive one at that, I would add.

Last week in this column I spun off the fact that volunteerism nationwide is at a 10-year low, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. This declining number of volunteers is having a particularly negative impact on our volunteer fire departments, and it’s a disturbing trend.

But one trend on the upswing, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Outdoor Foundation, is the nation’s participation in outdoor recreation. It’s at a six-year high based upon the findings of the foundation’s 7th annual “Outdoor Recreation Participation Report,” which is an extremely positive development for many reasons, including that it’s good for the economy.

Here at home, for example, we know that “getting outdoors” is critical for our leading tourism industry. And getting outdoors is taking place in a lot of different ways that we need to keep encouraging, and growing.

The regional grape and wine industry goes on attracting visitors by the millions. The latest economic study sponsored by the state Wine and Grape Foundation showed that the economic impact of grapes, grape juice and wine in New York State was $4.8 billion. A more recent ABC News ranking put our Finger Lakes region as one of the Top 10 “must-visit stops” on a wine tour of the world.

We also know that past U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service surveys have revealed the huge economic impact of the nearly 90 million Americans who fish, hunt or engage in other wildlife-related recreation. It’s an equally significant impact in New York State where hunting, fishing and trapping are deeply rooted as part of our region’s culture, experience and tradition. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, New York’s more than one million sportsmen and sportswomen generate nearly $2 billion worth of statewide economic activity and directly create 28,000 jobs.

And we can’t forget the importance of our regional parks and trails. New York can boast of one of America’s outstanding systems of state parks, including a network of historic sites, parks and trails throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions that are second to none.

We’ll have a great opportunity in a few weeks to help celebrate (and improve at the same time) this amazing network of outdoor opportunities. Saturday, May 3rd might be best known as Kentucky Derby Day this year, but it’s also “I Love My Park Day” in New York. Sponsored by the advocacy organization Parks & Trails New York (PTNY), the event is aimed at encouraging volunteer efforts to enhance New York’s parks and historic sites and promote the entire park system. Events will take place statewide and regionally, including along the Catharine Valley Trail, and at Stony Brook State Park and the Ithaca Dog Park at Allan H. Treman Marine State Park.

Additional “I Love My Park Day” information, including an online registration process, can be found on the PTNY website, www.ptny.org. A link to the website is also on my Senate website, www.omara.nysenate.gov.

It’s a meaningful initiative that supports one of the state’s most worthwhile commitments. The recently enacted 2014-15 state budget includes more than $90 million in additional funding for improvements to the state’s parks and historic sites. We know it’s a wise investment. A past PTNY study has pegged the economic impact of New York’s 178 state parks, 35 historic sites, 1,350 miles of hiking trails and over 8,000 campsites (not to mention boat launches, beaches, swimming pools and nature centers) at nearly $2 billion in revenue, almost $500 million in employment income and 20,000 jobs. Reports from the state Office of Parks and Recreation continue to show strong attendance at state parks and historic sites.

So the trend toward getting outdoors clearly promises to set some strong, favorable economic winds blowing in the direction of the long-term rebuilding of New York State’s economy.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara

Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Jim Howell, Michael Lausell, Van Harp

Bottom row: Tom Gifford, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field.

   
       

Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Van Harp

Jim Howell

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Michael Lausell

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen, 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen, 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Gary Whyman, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383

 

State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address: http://schumer.senate.gov/webform.html

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451
Website: http://gillibrand.senate.gov/

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976
www.omara.nysenate.gov

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano-- Steuben, Schuyler, Yates
Room 723, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-5791
Website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-A-Palmesano

 

© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

E-mail publisher@odessafile.com
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