State cancels hundreds of camping reservations due to budget crunch

The state has canceled the reservations of about 350 people who had booked campsites and other accom

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The state has canceled the reservations of about 350 people who had booked campsites and other accommodations at a dozen state parks that may be closed because of New York’s budget crisis.

State parks spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee confirmed today that the agency has notified the individuals about the cancellations and given them full refunds.

Of the 12 parks, six are in the Thousand Islands region in northern New York. The dozen parks canceling camping reservations are some of the state system’s smallest in terms of the number of campsites offered, with a total of about 450. There are 8,355 campsites and 817 cabins in the parks system, Larrabee said.

So far, there are more than 40,000 state parks campsite reservations for the upcoming season, she said.

The parks agency said last month that it planned to close 41 of 178 parks while reducing services at 23. They’re also proposing shutting down 14 of 35 state historic sites.

The campsites canceling reservations are Canoe Island, Cedar Island, Eel Weir, Keewaydin, Macomb Reservation and Mary Island in the Thousand Islands region; Hunts Pond, Oquaga Creek and Pixley Falls in central New York; Newtown Battlefield in the Southern Tier; Max V. Shaul near Albany, and Taconic’s Rudd Pond in the Hudson Valley.

Parks officials announced in January that they would have to close some parks and historic sites after Gov. David Paterson proposed cutting $20 million from the agency’s budget. The list of potential closings was released last month, sparking an outcry among business leaders and parks advocates across the state.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation operates its own system of 52 campgrounds in the Catskill and Adirondack parks. DEC spokeswoman Maureen Wren said the agency is still working on its budget plans and won’t comment on whether campground closings or service reductions are being considered.

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