First Four State Park Closures Hit Communities Hard

September 27, 2013 Updated May 15, 2010 at 6:33 PM EDT

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 15, 2010 at 6:33 PM EDT


Park officials have been directed by the state to close down several state parks in the area on Monday and the decision is already hitting communities hard.

Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora is one of the parks being shut down Monday.

"My husband and I got married here under one of the trees so it's a shame that they feel they have to close it," said park visitor Jennifer Peirick.

Jennifer Hillegas is also sad to see the park go, "I'm very broken up about it, this has been a wonderful spot that I've know about for years ever since my friend got married here."

It's a place that holds special sentiments for many in the community.

"We moved here recently and I come here all the time with my dog to go walking and it's just the most wonderful place," said Hillegas.

Chris Wolf wishes she came more often, "Unfortunately this is the first time I've been here. I wish I would have taken advantage of it."

These newlyweds lucky to capture their memories here before the park closes -- and it might be their last time here.

The New York State Park system has been operating on bare bones for the past two years, cutting their budget by 40 percent. But despite their efforts they are still facing an $11 million dollar budget shortfall.

"This is a first in the history of our agency here in New York State. Parks have never closed even during the depression so I know that it's going to affect people's lives. It's certainly affecting our lives. We run parks, we don't close them," said Angela Berti a spokesperson for the Park.

But come Monday along with Knox Farm, barricades will be placed at the entrances of Woodlawn Beach Park, Wilson-Tuscarora and Joseph Davis State Parks.

"We're losing contact with nature, we're such a technological society that being able to be out in the world in nature and seeing the birds and the trees and the animals... it's so important," said Dale Stanley.

The governor's administration may close a total of 41 parks and 14 historic sties. They say the closures will save them $12 million on maintenance and seasonal payroll costs.