North Country reacts to possible closure of Point au Roche park

POINT AU ROCHE - The recent announcement by Gov. David A. Paterson's office to potentially close Point au Roche State Park, along with 41 other parks and 14 historic sites, has left many people in the North Country in a state of disbelief.

"New York faces an historic fiscal crisis of unprecedented magnitude," Paterson stated in a press release Feb. 19. "It has demanded many difficult but necessary decisions to help ensure the fiscal integrity of our state."

However, the state's decision has left some unanswered questions to members of the Friends of Point au Roche State Park.

"Are they just going to close down the park," asked organization president Mary Simmers. "I'm concerned. What does it mean they're going to close us down? The park police aren't going to be there?"

"What's going to happen to the buildings," she added. "I just keep thinking one thing after another."

When Simmers learned Point au Roche was on the potential closure list, she said she felt "disbelief."

"That they could be so foolish," she said. "You might liken it a little bit to there's a foreclosure on your block and what does that do to the quality of life and your property values and where you live and so forth and so on. It takes away from everybody."

In hopes of keeping the closure from becoming reality, Simmers is urging everyone to make contact with senators, state assembly members, the commissioner and governor.

On Feb. 19, at 8:30 p.m., Plattsburgh native, Aaron Roml-Morillon, took action by beginning a Facebook page, "Save Point-au-Roche!" It took just one week to reach 5,000 members.

"I personally just have always had a great history with the park," he explained. "Always had a lot of great memories there and felt it was one of the strongest assets that Beekmantown and the North Country, in general, have when it came to accessing its nature."

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