A lifetime membership usually is something you would analyze with skepticism before you rush to sign up. That goes for an announcement last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo giving New Yorkers and visitors the opportunity to purchase lifetime licenses to fish, to hunt and to visit state parks.
The intention of New York's Lifetime Adventure License Series is to help boost tourism and package recreational opportunities to outdoor enthusiasts. It's good to promote hunting, fishing and camping, not just for one-shot trips but for people's lifetimes.
When you consider buying one of these lifetime packages, however, you naturally will look at the price and ask yourself if you would get enough use out of it to make it a good value.
The prices are $535 for a hunting license of small and big game, $460 for a fishing license and $750 for the Empire Passport, which allows holders to use the forests, seashores and lakefronts of New York's state parks, along with a one-time special bonus such as a free week of camping or a free round of golf for four.
Those prices are pretty hefty. The lifetime hunting license costs more than 24 annual licenses at the current year's rate of $22 for state residents - and that's not considering the discounted junior and senior prices of $5 a year. For fishing, the lifetime license costs more than 18 annual ones at the current adult state resident rate of $25, and the lifetime Empire Passport costs more than 11 yearly $65 payments.
We'd like to see lifetime licenses available for less money, especially for New York residents who are stewards of the state parks and Forest Preserve. People who live in places like Western New York have a bigger stake in making sure the resources are protected from overuse and invasive species, and as much as they take animals, they help sustain wildlife populations. They, at least, should get a better deal on a lifetime license.
Again, though, we are glad the state is touting the outdoor adventures that are available. This will remind people to discover how beautiful our entire state is and dispel the misperception by out-of-staters that New York isn't much more than the city.
For more information about this program, go to www.licensecenter.ny.gov.