Many E Mails and phone calls came into my office last week about the increase in Permit and Park Fees by the state. I called the regional office of the NY State Parks, Long Island Region today (2/3). I was asked to keep it off the record because nothing has changed and they have NOT received official word from Albany about any changes at all so any speculation could be wrong info.
While some may or may NOT change, NY State Parks says the subject is still up in the air, especially Camp Hero where there may be no permit required at all any more! I was assured when the word does or does NOT come...we will be the first to know about it and the parks will come on the radio to talk about it. Any speculating or guessing could end up being misinformation.
I was E Mailed by Surfsanity, a member of the Discussion Boards at www.thefishingline.org, "I spoke to the permit office at Belmont Lake State Park and was told the state permit is $49 up from $39 the empire pass $59 up from $49 and the permits are still not available as of 1/31 and as of that day there will be no extension of time to purchase it the last day of sale is April 31. Surfsanity contacted the message boards again on 2/4 saying, "I called again today and was told the permits are in print and call again on Friday, the fee is $49 they should have them by Friday...Monday at the latest."
Now as a reporter I did as asked, to keep a low profile until the word comes down from Albany, but if the parks permit offices are telling callers the fees are up and the permits are being printed and will be here this Friday (2/7) or the following Monday, then I have to assume the Governor and Ms. Castro did indeed make the fee increase stick and we can let the cat out of the bag.
While I am all for getting the most out of out state parks, we have seen increases over the last five years. We know the buildings of the state park system are old and in need of repairs, painting etc and parklands require grooming and maintenance as well as staffing. Are these fee increases going to this coffer to make these repairs? I remember there was talk about Commissioner Castro wanting to incorporate the parks with corporate sponsors? Now there is word Nassau County Executive Suozzi wants to take public land and gold course and make it private, thus raising user fees.
Why is it every time someone, somewhere needs revenue the first sector hit is the recreational user? What do we get for these fee increase? Better services? I doubt it! What is your opinion? Write me The Fishing Line, 24 Troy Ave., E. Atlantic Beach, NY 11561. More on this next week, now I have to call the parks offices.