Please, Mr. Governor, don't close my parks

In August of 1777, British Gen. John Burgoyne (nicknamed "Gentleman Johnny," thus proving that nicknames were so much better back then) was defeated at the Battle of Saratoga.

This led the French to declare their support for the 13 colonies and essentially made it possible for the patriots to win the American Revolution and allowed the eventual creation of the United States.

One of the biggest factors in Burgoyne's defeat was the much less famous Battle of Bennington, which did not actually take place in Bennington, but in the small town of Walloomsac (coolest town name ever, by the way). A large portion of Burgoyne's Prussian forces had been sent to secure the arsenal in Bennington and, to put it lightly, got their German butts kicked, beginning a long and glorious tradition of Americans fighting Germans.

So, with the history lesson over, would anyone like to visit the battlefield that made it possible for American militia to defeat one of the most powerful armies on the planet at the time? I certainly would. Unfortunately, you won't be able to much longer.

In an effort to save a little dough, our brilliant state government is seriously considering closing a vast number of state parks, including, but not limited to, the Bennington Battlefield, Oswego's Fort Ontario, Thacher Park atop the Helderberg Escarpment and Old Erie Canal State Park, which happens to be on the Erie Canal. Go figure.

Now maybe you're saying to yourself, "Well, that sucks, but who really cares?" We should, ideally, all care. State parks are public property, meaning they belong to the public. When they are closed, it becomes a crime to trespass on said public property, which is an oxymoron of jumbo shrimp proportions. Not wanting to incur the insurance and legal fees of our litigious society if someone were to be injured in the closed park, the state would prefer to arrest you and have done with it.

Bearing in mind the stupidity of closing a public space, the closing of the parks is also an issue that smacks of social injustice. Being cheap and open to people from all walks of life, the existence of the parks has often been seen as a venue for those with limited income to enjoy themselves and, if they so desire, educate themselves (most parks have "Enrichment Centers" or something along those lines, where visitors can learn about local flora, fauna and history).

Finally, the closing of parks really won't save much money. The typical operating cost is far less than $1 million per year, per park and, taken together, every state park in New York accounts for less than 1 percent of the total state budget. In essence, it's analogous to Geneseo not providing forks in the dining halls in order to save a few dollars. It won't make any measurable difference, but it will be a noticeable loss for those affected. And, as we're residents of New York, that number includes us all.

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