The National Park Service has released its final general management plan and environmental impact statement for Gateway National Recreational Area, which includes such areas as Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Howard Beach’s Charles Park, and announced it is backing a plan that includes a variety of recreational activities in South Queens, including hiking trails, bicycles infrastructure, and camping.
The recommendation follows four years of federal parks representatives working with area civic leaders, elected officials, and residents. The public now has a little less than 30 days to read the final proposal, which is almost certain to become greenlighted within the month.
While the adoption of the plan is most certainly a reality, the implementation of it is not, area residents stressed, noting that many of the proposals put forth in the National Park Service’s general management plan from more than 30 years ago never came to fruition.
Still, Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Jennifer Nersesian wrote in a letter to the community that NPS hopes to see much, if not all, of the plan become a reality, sooner or later.
“As the life of this GMP is expected to be 20 years, it may be many years before some of the projects in this plan are funded and implemented,” she wrote.
Among the initiatives detailed in the plan are such “improved amenities and recreation facilities” as trails and campsites, more community-based recreation such as sports leagues and event spaces, environmental educational programming, development of water trails, and expansion of beach access.
Residents will have a chance to learn more about the type of public use being proposed for Gateway National Park at the next Jamaica Bay Greenway Coalition meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.