Statement by NPCA Senior Regional Director Alexander Brash
“The Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area is New York City’s greatest unrealized asset and we are thrilled by Mayor Bloomberg and Secretary Salazar’s announcement today to advance a new partnership that will revitalize Gateway National Recreation Area, including Jamaica Bay and Floyd Bennett Field. With their leadership and commitment, we believe Gateway will become an iconic urban national park.
“For years, we have worked tirelessly with local partners and the communities to bring attention to Gateway’s plight. In 2007, our comprehensive report card found that Gateway’s natural and cultural resources received the lowest scores in the nation. Recognizing this need, we worked with our partners to launch an international public design competition, Envisioning Gateway, as an open call for ideas to transform Gateway into an iconic national park, which received more than 100 submissions from 22 different countries, bringing the much needed attention to the park’s condition and great potential.
“Under the leadership of Sen. Charles Schumer we called for the creation of the Floyd Bennett Field Blue Ribbon Panel, a task force assembled to establish a shared vision for the future of the park. Leaders called on the city, state, and federal government to create a new plan and management partnership for Floyd Bennett Field and the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway that would improve visitor access, restore hundreds of acres of wetlands, grasslands, and forests, and develop a comprehensive education program to engage city schools. We are proud to note that this work set the stage for today’s announcement.
“The people of New York City have recognized that parkland in and around Jamaica Bay represent the last great gem in the City’s jewels of parkland, and we are delighted that this new partnership and conservancy will help it to finally shine. With nearly 20,000 acres of parkland, wetlands, water, and beaches, the new Jamaica Bay Park will be the city’s largest park and it should be its greatest escape for visitors and the millions of people who live in the world’s largest city.
“NPCA is delighted to see Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar work together to advance years of dedicated work to make Gateway America’s iconic urban national park for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”
Mayor Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Salazar sign an agreement to cooperatively manage 10,000 acres of city, federal parks in and around Jamaica Bay – part of Gateway National Recreation Area. Credit: Tami Heilemann, DOI.
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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