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Inside this issue:


FriendsGatheringsPark & Historic Site Friends gather around the state

 

PTNY staff members met with more than 125 park and historic site enthusiasts, representing more than 30 Friends groups, at three meetings held across the state in October. The meetings were held at some of our state park system's gems: Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park on Long Island, the Taconic Regional Headquarters in Staatsburgh (a LEED platinum certified building), and Letchworth State Park in the Genesee Valley.

 

CTEC Guidebook
PTNY Executive Director Robin Dropkin
addresses a crowd at Staatsburg
The gatherings - organized by PTNY and the Alliance for NYS Parks in cooperation with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) - were an opportunity for networking and information sharing. Participants exchanged ideas and discussed ways to build capacity and to work more collaboratively to promote our park system. Commissioner Rose Harvey also gave an update on happenings at the agency, in particular how the agency is continuing to move forward on its priorities despite economic constraints.

 



DiscussionForum

Got questions? Get answers. Join new Friends discussion forum

 

One thing that became clear at the three regional Friends group gatherings in October is that Friends groups have great ideas to share. To help facilitate greater networking and communications among Friends groups, PTNY has started an online discussion forum. The discussion forum is an opportunity for Friends organizations across the state to communicate with each other - sharing ideas, asking advice, learning from one another and building the strength of our parks movement. Join the discussion today (once there, click on "Join this group" in the right-hand column).

 

Why Join?
  • Get help and advice from others across the state facing similar challenges.
  • Discuss the issues facing our state park system and Friends organizations.
  • Share ideas for strengthening Friends groups so that we can better protect and promote our parks and historic sites.

GrantsDeadline tomorrow: apply for a PTNY Capacity-Building Grant today! 

 

A new round of PTNY Capacity-Building Grants for park and trail groups is underway. The grants, of up to $3,000, will strengthen nonprofit organizations that are working to build and protect parks and trails in communities across the state. Application deadline is November 16, 2011.

 

PTNY's goal with the grant program is to enable nonprofits to better fulfill their missions; improve their reach, effectiveness, and impact; leverage more resources; and increase community support for and involvement in park and trail planning, development, and stewardship. Funds can be used to assist with activities associated with organizational start-up and development, training, communications, and member and volunteer recruitment and management. For more information, email Parks & Trails New York or call (518) 434-1583.


StateOfTheParksState of State Parks and Historic Sites 

 

PTNY recently attended the 546th meeting of the State Council of Parks, an advisory council made up of the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Chair of the State Board of Historic Preservation, and the chairs of the 11 regional parks commissions. These public meetings are a great way to tap into news from around the state, as well as from Albany. Below are key highlights.

 

System hit hard by Irene and Lee

While Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee have long since passed, it is going to take some time for affected areas to recover from the damage inflicted by the storms. The damage to some sites, such as Cherry Plain State Park in the Capital Region and Guy Park Manor State Historic Site in the Mohawk Valley, was so severe that they remained closed for the season. In all, the state estimates roughly $14 million in damages, including flooding, damage to structures, downed trees, and beachfront erosion. The good news is that these expenses are eligible for reimbursement by FEMA.

The temporary closure of nearly 100 parks and historic sites also impacted attendance and revenue numbers which were running behind last year as of September.

Budget and capital program update

OPRHP was able to open all parks and historic sites this year through staff reductions, the avoidance of layoffs because of union agreements, and administrative efficiencies (including operations partnerships with local governments and nonprofits).

Although revenue and attendance were down from last year as of September, OPRHP expects the total agency revenue for 2011-2012 to be higher than the spending ceilings included in its budget last April. Earlier in September, the Division of Budget approved $7.5 million in capital spending, of which $5.5 million was used for increased capital expenditures (some will fund storm-related capital rehab) and $2 million to purchase new trucks.


FriendsNewsNews from Friends groups 

  

Robert Moses Nature Center reopens after fire

CTEC GuidebookA fire at the Robert Moses State Park in March 2010 did considerable damage to the building housing the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center in the Thousand Islands. The building was deemed unsuitable for occupancy and the trail system was closed for months. Seven months later - and thanks to the help and support of the Friends of the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center and many other organizations and businesses in the area - including the New York Power Authority (NYPA) - the Nature Center is up and running again. The Nature Center will operate out of a temporary facility by the trail head until the new center is completed, somewhere between 1.5 and 2 years. The Friends group, which received a Capacity-Building Grant from PTNY in 2009, celebrated the Nature Center's rebirth at a special celebration in September.

In December 2010, budget cuts forced OPRHP to lay-off Nature Center staff and permanently cut funding to the center. The Friends group and NYPA quickly began working on a plan to put the staff and programs back into action. The Friends group has raised more than $500,000 for enhancements to the Nature Center's programs, staffing and facilities since its founding in 1999.

Friends of Higley Flow State Park aim high

The Friends of Higley Flow State Park kicked off a $125,000 capital campaign for a new all-season lodge during their Colton Winterfest Family Day at the park in January. The all-volunteer group has already raised $50,000 in pledges toward the effort.

CTEC GuidebookThe aim is to raise funds to build a multipurpose Higley Trails Lodge at Higley Flow State Park in the Thousand Islands. The park is nestled among the foothills on the northern edge of the Adirondack Mountains and is situated on the pictueresque Raquette River, the second longest river in New York State.

Currently, there are no public restrooms at the park for nine months of the year, greatly diminishing the use of the park by local schools, including nearby colleges. The heated lodge will have restrooms, classroom space and a venue for special events. The accessible building will provide space for the St. Lawrence and Clarkson University Nordic Ski Teams, which use the park for training.

Friends of Grant Cottage extend their reach 

Grant Cottage, located in Saratoga County, hosts programs each season, from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. When the cottage is closed, Friends of Grant Cottage is able to continue to promote the historic site and provide information about General Ulysses S. Grant through a speakers' bureau. Speakers can provide everything from history and virtual tours to portrayals and re-enactments. Learn more.

    
Jones Beach Rescue announces photo contest winners 
CTEC Guidebook
One of the winning photographs, by Lauren Diehlmann - Cloudy Beach Day Digging (Category: At Play)

Forty-five photographs were entered in a photo contest sponsored by Jones Beach Rescue, a new Friends group for the park. Winners were announced at the organization's End of Summer Fundraiser.


Submissions were organized into four categories based on the beach's emblematic themes: A Beach Designed, At Play, Beachscapes, and Wild Shores.

CTEC Guidebook
Decorative mosaics in need of restoration at Jones Beach State Park
The fundraiser was part of Jones Beach Rescue's efforts to raise $250,000 to restore the Central Mall Mosaics. The decorative floor mosaics, depicting nautical and oceanic themes, were installed throughout Jones Beach in the early 1930s. Some have been lost but many remain, albeit in poor condition. The grouping of mosaics located at the Central Mall is the most extensive, with a grass panel frame and a large map of Long Island's State Park system flanked by a lobster and pair of sea horses. The group has raised $28,000 to date.

Bear Mountain Inn reopening

The Bear Mountain Inn in Bear Mountain State Park is one of the architectural jewels of the state park system and a familiar landmark for many visitors. The Inn recently underwent extensive renovations to restore its original rustic splendor and keep its proud designation on both the National and New York State Register of Historic Places. The Palisades Park Conservancy hosted a grand reopening of the Inn on November 11.

CTEC GuidebookBuilt in 1915, the building's distinctive rustic style complements its forested site above the Hudson River in Rockland County. The Inn was constructed using natural materials, including stone and logs found in the park. The Inn's interior is outfitted with handcrafted chairs, sofas, tables, light fixtures, and other accessories all made of natural materials.


TipsYou Gotta Have Tips: Launching an eNewsletter 

 

You Gotta Have Tips is a new regular feature of You Gotta Have Friends. We'll provide capacity-building and technical-assistance tips in each issue. Let us know if there's something you'd like to see featured here.

More and more nonprofit organizations are sending out a regular email newsletter, or eNewsletter. An eNewsletter - like the one you're reading now - is an easy, affordable way to communicate to the public about your organization. And that's critical today with tight budgets and competing priorities.

CTEC Guidebook The all-volunteer Friends of Taconic State Park used funding from PTNY's Capacity-Building Grant Program to launch its eNewsletter in August 2010. Treasurer Deborah Cohen says, "We were working with a marketing consultant to help promote the organization, and an eNewsletter was one of her first suggestions."

If you feel daunted by the prospect of sending out an eNewsletter or if you're not sure if one is needed for your organization, read on and find out why you need one and how to get started


DemolitionDemolition of former psychiatric center in Long Island park moving forward 

 

Since Nissequogue River State Park first opened in 2000, little progress has been made to remove the numerous deteriorated buildings located on the property once used by the Kings Park Psychiatric Center. CTEC Guidebook

 

But OPRHP announced in October that it would be accepting competitive bids from private companies to begin the demolition of 15 buildings. OPRHP has allocated up to $15 million for the demolition project and expects the demolition and subsequent restoration of the grounds to take more than a year.

 

The Nissequogue River State Park Foundation has been working to advance the demolition of the buildings and the development of a management plan for the park. It has even developed its own conceptual plans for the park. Learn more.


Earthshare logo

 

Parks & Trails New York is a member of Earth Share New York, an alliance of leading nonprofit environmental organizations. For more information about workplace giving to Parks & Trails New York and Earth Share, check out www.earthshareny.org.

 

 

FALL 2011

 

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Celebrating 25 years
of advocacy for New York's parks and trails
                        

Keep In Touch!

 

If you're not already on our email list, visit our website to join.

 


SurveyMake sure your Friends group is counted 

 

In 2007, Friends groups responded strongly to an agency survey. Your response to a new survey will help PTNY, the Alliance for NYS Parks, OPRHP and the State Council of Parks measure collective progress, results and challenges, and ensure we have updated information on your organization. If you haven't already participated in the survey, please take a few minutes now to tell us about your group.

TestimonyPTNY testifies at Assembly tourism hearing

 

PTNY was invited to testify at a recent hearing called by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, the new chair of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development. The hearing explored, among other topics, the effectiveness of state-supported programs aimed at enhancing tourism and historical and natural preservation, and the future of New York State parks, historic sites and artifacts, and recreation areas. In her testimony, Executive Director Robin Dropkin stressed the economic benefits of parks and trails and the need for creative solutions to support the park system, including more support for Friends groups. Commissioner Rose Harvey also provided testimony on behalf of our beleaguered park system.

SterlingForestSterling Forest expands 

 

An additional 462 acres of new state parkland was recently opened in Monroe, NY, along the Appalachian Trail in Sterling Forest State Park. This strategic acquisition will significantly enhance the Appalachian Trail corridor and viewshed by creating a protected land buffer along the northern edge of Sterling Forest and will expand outdoor recreational opportunities for the millions of residents of the New York metropolitan area. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference was a key partner in the acquisition.   

ILMPLove your park?

 

We know you love your parks and historic sites. That's why PTNY, in coordination with OPRHP, is launching an exciting new event to bring visibility to the entire state park system and its needs. I Love My Park Day is the first-ever statewide event to celebrate and improve park lands and beaches, plant trees and gardens, restore trails and wildlife habitat and carry out site-improvement projects. Save the date for Saturday, May 5, 2012 and be on the lookout for more details soon!

MoreauRemoval of invasive plant in Moreau Lake State Park 

 

New York State Parks is launching a project this fall to eradicate an invasive plant from the shoreline of Moreau Lake in Saratoga County. The target non-native plant, phragmites, or "common reed," originated in the Middle East and has spread rapidly across the northeast. Often seen in ditches along local highways, this wetland plant has been spreading along the shores of Moreau Lake for several years and now covers more than 3.5 acres, obliterating views of the lake and diminishing the habitats for beaver, muskrat, and wading birds. Learn more.
HempsteadLakeHempstead Lake State Park cleanup in the works 

 

The home of the largest lake in Nassau County on Long Island is going to get a cleanup after a local paper brought attention to trash problems. The Malverne-West Hempstead Patch reported on serious issues with trash at Hempstead Lake State Park in October. OPRHP has since responded and is working with the local operator of equestrian trail rides through the park (there is no park Friends group) to organize a cleanup, which is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19. Read more, including how to volunteer.  

PhotoContestCamping photo contest - say s'more!   

Two state agencies are teaming up to highlight the best of New York's great outdoors. OPRHP and the Department of Environmental Conservation are holding a joint camping photo contest. 

 

The contest runs through November 30, 2011 and prizes include a week-long stay at any state-owned campground with weekend stays for top runners-up. In addition, images will be used in statewide publications and on the web and highlighted through promotional campaigns. Read more, including contest rules and eligibility.  

naturaltreasuresNatural treasures in our parks

 

The NYS park system is home to some of the state's most beautiful - and significant - natural treasures.   

 CTEC Guidebook

Leedy's Roseroot is a federally threatened wildflower found only in Minnesota and in New York, on the shores of Seneca Lake, and a single plant at Watkins Glen State Park. Rooseroot has been used as a medicinal plant for improving physical and mental performance. In Siberia it has been used to help resist the effects of extreme cold. It is now being used to treat cases of mild or moderate depression. When it is dried the root has a strong smell of roses.

 
Sources: New York Natural Heritage Program and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Mark your calendars!

 

November 16 - Deadline to apply for PTNY Capacity-Building Grant. More info.

November 17 - Parks & Trails New York's Annual Perkins Award Reception, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.,
The University Club, One West 54th Street, NYC. Tickets start at $150. For more information email mgershun@ptny.org.  

 
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