New York City and the federal government are partnering to manage 10,000 park acres around Jamaica Bay near Kennedy Airport that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says is part of President Barack Obama's "Great Outdoors" national initiative.
Salazar and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the new plan Tuesday at a City Hall news conference.
The secretary said New York's Gateway National Recreation Area and adjacent parklands fulfill the president's vision — first launched in 2010 — of "a network of world-class urban parks across the country in partnership with state and local governments, local communities and city residents."
He called Jamaica Bay New York's natural "crown jewel."
The National Park Service and the city's Department of Parks and Recreation will work together on managing the urban oasis, with greater access for recreation and education. Parts of the area are federal lands and other parts are city-owned.
The agreement calls for the agencies to work toward creating recreational opportunities, like land and water trail systems and bicycle routes. Another goal is to make signs and maps as uniform as possible.
The agencies also will develop programs to teach young people about environmental stewardship.
More visitors spending money will generate economic benefits for New York, officials said.
Salazar and Bloomberg were joined by National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, New York City Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and other officials.
"This is an important example of the great things that can happen when different levels of government work together and are supported by philanthropic organizations," the mayor said.
In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading a long-term project to restore the bay's dwindling salt marshes.
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Get our apps here and sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.