ALBANY New Yorkers will soon be able to link hunting and fishing licenses to their driver's license under a plan set to be revealed Wednesday as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address.
Under Cuomo's plan, those who own hunting and fishing permits, a boating safety certificate or certain state park passes will be able to list them on their driver license, eliminating the need to carry multiple documents, according to Cuomo administration officials.
The program, known as the New York State Adventure License, would be optional and would only be open to those who purchase "lifetime" sporting licenses or passes, not those with day or annual permits. Sportsmen and women would be able to add an inscription noting their various permits on their driver license when they renew with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Cuomo's fourth annual address is expected to focus heavily on implementing $2 billion in tax cuts, which were recommended by a commission he appointed late last year. It's also expected to promote new tourism efforts, including a plan to spend $6 million on improving access to 50 state-owned hunting and fishing sites.
"Spending any money on our (sporting sites) is a good thing," said Scott Seidman, the Rochester-area vice president for the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited. "Sport fishing is actually huge in New York state, with business worth millions of dollars east of (Rochester) and a little west of here."
Among the sites that will be slated for improvements under Cuomo's plan is the Lower Esopus River in Ulster County, which will receive a new parking lot, fishing platform, floating dock and pathway. West Mountain State Forest in Dover, Dutchess County, will receive new parking lots and trails.
In Monroe County, both Black Creek fishing area in Chili and Braddock Bay in Greece are in line for new docks and other improvements, according to the Cuomo administration.
The price of lifetime hunting and fishing licenses passes varies depending on the type of permit. A lifetime bow-hunting license, for example, costs $235, while a freshwater fishing license $460 for adults under the age of 70. A lifetime "sportsman" license -- which combines game, turkey and freshwater fishing licenses -- costs $769 for those aged 12 to 69.
Lifetime licenses are only open to residents who have been in New York for at least a year.
Cuomo has been heavily criticized by gun-rights activists for the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, a series of stricter gun-control laws he shepherded through the Legislature last January. But he's a known sportsman, having made semi-regular trips to the Adirondacks to fish since taking office in 2011.
Last year, Cuomo lowered fees for annual hunting and fishing permits, tweaking the fee schedule in a budget plan approved by the Legislature.