The state has work to do to make open spaces more equitable, inclusive and accessible, according to a new report.

The Open Space Institute (OSI) and New York Outdoor Recreation Coalition’s “Open Spaces for All” report says that surveyed Black, Indigenous, people of color and people from low-income communities felt unwelcome in areas with less diverse populations.

People with disabilities said they felt unheard and misrepresented. Those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual or asexual said state infrastructure, including restroom facilities, were not adequate. Urban participants said the state lacks well-maintained public parks, trails and accessible transportation. Indigenous communities said they would like more access and use of public lands to support cultural traditions.

New York needs to better engage communities in the planning of parks and open spaces, the report said, while prioritizing equity in future investments and more staff and capacity to implement projects. The recommendations are directed at the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The report’s goal is to “highlight and support changes that ensure all people in New York have equitable access to the outdoors,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI.

Read the full article in the Adirondack Explorer.