Environmentalists call for increased parks and water protection funding

$42 million in FY19 funding requested for state parks and recreation

BOSTON (WWLP)—The budget debate is winding down at the State House. But the Green Budget Coalition’s environmental advocates are asking legislators to make funding for parks and water a top priority in fiscal 2019.

“Legislators have a lot on their plates,” Legislative Director Erica Mattison of the Environmental League of Massachusetts said. “We know they’re faced with an array of different issues, but something that impacts all of us that we don’t always think about is the environment: the air that we’re breathing, the water that’s in our communities and the green space around us.”

Environmental activists are calling for $42 million in funding for state parks and recreation in fiscal 2019. That money would allow the Department of Conservation and Recreation to hire state park staffers, lengthen the camping season and hire more engineers to plan improvement projects to parks, campgrounds and trails. DCR is responsible for more than 200 miles of trails and 90 properties in western Massachusetts.

Environmentalists are also calling for $30 million in FY19 funding for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to help ensure your waterways are clean. They could use the money to hire water quality monitoring staff to ensure water is free of toxins and pollutants.

“We want everyone to have that experience of canoeing or kayaking or even just walking near their local water ways and having that be a safe experience,” Policy Specialist Gabby Queenan of Massachusetts Rivers Alliance told 22News.

Environmentalists told 22News state funding is crucial at a time as they’re anticipating federal cuts.

Lawmakers likely won’t start appropriating FY19 funding until next year.