Walt's testimony at hearing on Oct. 13

Three messages:

 

  1. ATVs
  2. Cooperative Management Plan (also state plan issue)
  3. Combine OPRHP and DEC (also state plan issue) 

 

We are going to be saddled with budget issues for many years. It is time to change the plan to reflect that reality.

ATVs

Read the bottom paragraph on page 6 of the Trails Plan. [Several at the hearing mentioned trail fragmentation as effecting the ecology, but ATVs are the biggest threat by far.]

 

  1. You recognize that there is a problem but punt on the solution. 
  2. There needs to be significant money allocated to police, education and barriers. This is more important than a new park office, for instance.
  3. Work with legislators to put real teeth in the laws so that violations hurt.

 

Cooperative Management Plan

The current plan is all top down OPRHP directed. As a cost reduction measure you should consider releasing some of the control to volunteers such as is done with the relationship between NPS and ATC (passed through to NYNJTC). The best description of this is in the Local Management Planning Guide put out by ATC, http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.mqLTIYOwGlF/b.4805659/k.DD0E/Policies.htm.

 

  1. NPS handles those legal things required by law, e.g. NEPA compliance, federal laws and provides some funding for projects.
  2. ATC, along with its local maintaining clubs such as NYNJTC, provide the rest of the management and raise other funds.
  3. The delegation works all the way down to the individual who maintains 1-2 miles of the AT. They are empowered to do many things on their own.
  4. NPS has very little infrastructure, and less than 10 employees.
  5. A similar approach could work for state parks but with some changes needed to deal with the increased infrastructure of swimming pools, campgounds and buildings. 

Combine OPRHP and DEC

 

  1. We can no longer afford the duplication of effort. Most other states manage all of their responsibilities under one director.
  2. We would get more uniform policies, e.g. not have two group specifying different trail standards.

 

 

 

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