New Long Island State Park Celebrated (NY)

Jamesport, NY, May 20, 2005 – Governor George E. Pataki today opened the 225-acre Jamesport State Park and Preserve and finalized the protection of the adjacent 300 acres of agricultural land in the Towns of Riverhead and Southold, Suffolk County.

The Trust for Public Land protected the 525-acre property in 2002 when it purchased the land from KeySpan Energy. The park and preserve provides public recreational access to Long Island Sound and is the 20th new state park the governor has opened over the last ten years.

“Today is an historic day for open space protection on Long Island that will forever preserve the unique recreational opportunities and agricultural heritage of the region for future generations,” Governor Pataki said. “I’m proud that this spectacular new park will provide valuable access to Long Island Sound for public enjoyment of the site’s natural beauty and a variety of outdoor activities.

“Today we complete a triple play: one, creation of a new state park; two, return of 300 acres of precious agricultural land to farmers and active production; and three, the generation of over $3.3 million to help open the state park. The Trust for Public Land is extraordinarily pleased to have been able to have played a central role in making this possible, and we are grateful to Governor Pataki and New York State for their entrepreneurial partnership in the effort,” said Erik Kulleseid, New York State program director for the Trust for Public Land.

Today, TPL presented the governor with a check for $3.3 million for future park development. The funds represent the proceeds of the sale by lottery of seven agricultural parcels to local farmers by TPL and the Peconic Land Trust. The state retained a conservation easement over the agricultural parcels to ensure the permanent availability of farmland in the region and the continued compatibility of the farmland with the adjoining park use. In addition, the historic Hallockville Museum Farm received 20 acres for agricultural purposes and an adjacent two-acre parcel was made available to the Long Island Antique Power Association for a museum featuring antique tractors and farm equipment.

“Equally important in the development of this property is our ability to provide the community with additional acreage to carry on the strong tradition of local farming. Together with our many partners who helped make this vision a reality, we are proud of the multiple benefits this project offers and understand the enduring legacy of conservation that securing this open space provides for our children and generations to come,” said Governor Pataki.

The establishment of the new state park furthers the ambitious environmental goals set by the governor that have made New York a national leader in open space protection and natural resource stewardship. In the 2004 State of the State address, the governor committed to opening five new state parks in the next two years and opening or expanding 20 parks over the next five years. Jamesport marks the seventh park on Long Island to be opened since 1996. Moreover, the park offers an additional public access point on Long Island Sound.

The Jamesport property offers nearly one mile of pristine beach frontage along Long Island Sound. The shorefront park and preserve encompasses both environmentally significant natural resources as well as areas for more traditional active recreation. In the designated park preserve section in the eastern portion of the property, activities such as hiking, nature walks and bird watching will be available. After a comprehensive master plan process with community input and subsequent environmental reviews, the remaining portion of the parkland could provide activities such as camping, swimming and day use.

KeySpan dedicated $1.5 million of the sale to offset the loss of property tax revenue in the Town of Riverhead and the local school districts.

Bernadette Castro, State Parks Commissioner, said, “The new Jamesport State Park and Preserve is yet another example of Governor Pataki’s steadfast commitment to expanding recreational opportunities for patrons while preserving the best of Long Island’s magnificent outdoor resources. The region provides New Yorkers and visitors with unparalleled beauty and this latest park opening strengthens our award-winning state park system by offering exciting new waterfront activities and ensuring the lasting protection of this extraordinary property to be enjoyed by generations ahead.”

KeySpan chairman & CEO Robert B. Catell said, “I want to thank Governor Pataki for his leadership in sharing KeySpan’s vision of preserving this jewel on the East End of Long Island for future generations. The combined efforts of New York State, along with local and national environmental organizations, the community and our shareholders, helped protect precious farmland and establish a state park that will be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. To date, TPL has protected more than two million acres of land nationwide, including more than 75,000 acres in New York.