Several state parks in the area have changed operating schedules for the fall and winter season as part of a statewide cost-cutting effort.

One of the programs that has been eliminated this year is the snow-tubing program at Glimmerglass State Park.

The commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Carol Ash, said the changes are in response to the economic climate, and the state is requiring its agencies to adopt spending reduction plans.

Changes in Otsego and Delaware counties include the closure of Hunts Pond camping, which occurred Sept. 2, and the early closure of the Oquaga Creek cabin, which will begin Dec. 1.

Dan Keefe, spokesman for the state parks, said Tuesday that the cuts totaled $16.9 million at 75 parks and historic sites. He said 500 temporary workers saw their seasons end early, and hours were reduced for 250 other workers.

"We tried to make decisions that would minimize the impact on the public," Keefe said. "These changes are the result of some difficult realities."

Richard Sheckells, Glimmerglass park manager, was not available for comment Tuesday, but last week he said in an e-mail that he wanted "to get the information out to the public in regards to our very popular and successful winter tubing program at Glimmerglass."

Sheckells said the tubing program has been canceled this year because of budget cuts in all 11 regions of the agency.

"This is in response to the current economic climate," he said in the e-mail, "which has forced us to make difficult decisions in order to comply with required spending reduction plans."

Sheckells said Glimmerglass no longer has enough employees to comply with agency and Department of Labor safety regulations with regard to the operation of the tubing hill.

Glimmerglass will still be open for non-regulated activities including hiking, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and fishing.

"I hope we are able to bring the tubing program back next year," Sheckells said.

A list of reductions and closures throughout the state parks can be found at www.nysparks.state.ny.us/news/press.

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