April 20, 2020

New York: Caucus Co-Chairs Efforts Key in Reopening Boat Ramps and Marinas

Contact: Brent Miller, Northeastern States Senior Director, States Program Team Administrator

On Friday, April 17, the Co-Chairs of the bipartisan and bicameral New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus – Senator Joseph Griffo and Assembly Members Aileen Gunther, Clifford Crouch, and Colin Schmitt – submitted a letter to Governor Cuomo regarding his prior order to close boat ramps and marinas throughout the state in response to COVID-19. Some 24 hours later, it was announced that the marinas and boat ramps would reopen. 

In the letter, the Co-Chairs advocated for a more nuanced and localized approach to closures, should they be necessary, rather than a state-wide closure based on isolated incidents. Many of New York’s sportsmen and women rely on boat ramps in rural areas to participate in fishing and other outdoor recreation activities that can be done in accordance to the safe-distancing guidelines put forward by public health officials. 

The letter states, “Now, quite possibly more than ever, New York’s residents need the ability to access safe and healthy recreational activities; closing boat ramps and marinas throughout the state in reaction to localized issues does not allow our constituents that opportunity. We therefore request your consideration in amending your decision, in acknowledgement of the starkly different societal conditions that exist between different areas of the state, as well as the severe negative implications this statewide approach may have on rural communities.”

Co-Chair of the Caucus, Assemblyman Colin Schmitt stated, “The New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is urging Governor Cuomo to amend his decision to close all boat ramps and marinas throughout New York State. During the COVID-19 crisis, fishing allows for proper social distancing and recreational activity. To close all boat ramps and marinas now, especially during the spring striped bass run up the Hudson in my district, will negatively impact the environmental health of this area and the mental health of those that have no other outlet during this crisis. As Co-Chair of the Caucus I urge the Governor to take this bipartisan request into full consideration and support sportsmen throughout New York State at this crucial time.”

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends the strong work of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs on this issue, as well as their strong track record of advocating for continued access and opportunities for sportsmen and women in the Empire State. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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