feb/march 2013 2

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Feel the Love at New York State Parks 

Valentine's Day is upon us. That means spring is around the corner, along with the hustle and bustle of wedding season. We can't wait to see how many couples decide to pair their love for each other with their love for New York State Parks.

Golf lovers may flock to Carlyle on the Green overlooking Bethpage State Park, others may prefer the timeless carousel at Bear Mountain Inn, or enjoy the elegant Hall of Springs at Saratoga Spa.  Many will make their ceremony picture-perfect by celebrating their ever-blooming love surrounded by the abundance of magnificent, lush gardens at Sonnenberg Mansion and Planting Fields Arboretum. For those who feel the splendor of nature is enough, majestic waterfalls in the Finger Lakes, Letchworth, and Niagara will never disappoint. If an island wedding is your wish, consider the Rock Island Lighthouse, located in the stunning Thousand Islands region.

No matter what you're looking for, we can help you find the perfect backdrop to your special day. Contact our park offices
to learn what pavilions are available for reception rentals and what modest permit fees may apply.

If you have a hard time choosing your favorite spot between our 179 parks and 35 historic sites, we know just how to inspire you. If you plan on saying 'I do' soon, grab your valentine and check out our wedding inspiration board on our newly launched Pinterest page. 
Don't forget to pin your favorites.

sonnenberg wedding
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion Canandaigua, NY
Kracke Photography


volunteer Dan ODell Feb 2013                                              
Volunteer Spotlight       


  Dan Odell 

Hometown:  Cohoes, New York
Volunteers as: President of Friends of Schodack Island State Park, Inc.
Favorite park activity:
"I enjoy taking friends canoeing and fishing in the Schodack Creek.  To paddle around a bend and see 15 to 20 Great Blue Herons feeding together and then look up and see our resident eagles fly by, can't be beat."

After hearing that Schodack Island might close in 2010 due to budget cuts, a group of concerned park users began discussing what they could do about the situation.  Dan was a part of that alliance, who all decided to form a Friends group to support the park. 


This past year, the Friends Group raised over $7,000 to celebrate the park's 10th anniversary. For those interested in getting involved, Odell advises joining a Friends Group, or, if one isn't established, organizing a park road clean-up, trail maintenance or flower planting. "You will find people want to support a park that they care about," he said. "We need our state parks for recreation, relaxation and spiritual refreshment.  But, in these tough fiscal times, state parks need us too.  Community volunteers can make a big difference." 


   Book Now, Happy Campers! 
Here's what's new for 2013

     camping guide cover 2013 

  • 36 "rustic" 1-room cabins, the perfect in-between for campers who like tents and cabins, are now available in 5 parks.
  • Electric sites (31!) are now at Glimmerglass, and 330+ new and upgraded electric sites at Allegany and Hamlin Beach.
  • The 2013 NYS Camping Guide is here with 100+ parks and campgrounds featured.
    Email or Call: 518.486.1868 to receive your free copy.
    Look for the digital flip-book version on our website in March.

new playground
New Playground at Robert H. Treman State Park

Governor Cuomo's budget holds good news for Parks


Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget continues to deliver stable operating funds to keep parks open and invests in the revitalization of aging park infrastructure. State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey recently explained  the budget's impact on parks and historic sites. Read More.

Laura Connor w/ dog

Behind the Scenes:
Laura Conner
Environmental Educator
Minnewaska State Park Preserve       


What does an Environmental Educator do? Mainly, I teach visitors all about nature and the many ways humans interact with nature.


Best thing about your job?  Being outdoors for work usually makes me very happy, but I also get tremendous satisfaction from helping others enjoy and appreciate nature.


Coolest thing you've ever seen in a state park? Two bald eagles performing their mid-flight courtship dance, talon to talon, tumbling through the air.  For the east coast, that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!


Most interesting thing you've ever done on the job As part of a team that completed a wildfire prevention plan for Minnewaska, I explored remote areas of the preserve, discovering an active beaver pond, finding charred tree stumps resulting from a decades-old fire and locating various ecological communities on the landscape.


Tell us a hidden destination or activity you'd recommend to those visiting Minnewaska:  For the adventurous, I recommend a backcountry hike in areas near Lake Awosting, including Rainbow Falls trail, which offers phenomenal cliff edge views of Lake Awosting, the Catskills, the Shawangunk Ridge and the Hudson Valley.

Seasonal Safety & Security Positions Available

The New York State Park Police are accepting applications for seasonal Park and Recreation Forest Ranger and Park and Recreation Public Safety Ranger positions, which provide public safety
and security services within the state
park system. Read more... 


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Save the Date!

Saturday, May 4

Show your love for your
favorite park or historic site
by volunteering for the second annual I Love My Park Day.

Online registration
begins mid-March
Parks & Trails New York.

right in your region logo 
Visit our
web calendar for 
hikes, programs,
festivals & more!

Ny web App

Download our FREE
iPhone App!


Find it on iTunes


NYS parks app qr code



Zoom, Zoom


With 10,300 miles of snowmobile trails,
there is a lot of room
to roam in NY State.

Park Police & the State
Parks Snowmobile Unit
remind everyone to be prepared, operate at a
safe speed &
avoid alcohol.

life guard


Got what it takes? Prove it!  
Lifeguard Exams begin  
in March. Check for  
locations near you!

Empire pass

Empire Passports
now available


The Empire Passport offers
all season enjoyment to
park visitors by providing unlimited vehicle entry to
NY's State parks for
just $65. Enjoy the forests,
the seashore, the lakefronts--
and bring as many friends
as your car holds! The
Passport provides access to
179 state parks, 55 Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) forest preserve areas.

Visit our website

 for more info & to
purchase online.

Meet the Locals

The Virginia Opossum 

(Didelphis virginiana) is the  
only marsupial (young reared 
in a pouch) found in NY.  
They are omnivorous, eating both plants and animals, including carrion, and are 
found throughout most of the state, including many parks. When threatened, opossums may fall over and lay motionless - playing 'possum.'

Photo & caption by Jesse Jaycox,  

NY State Parks Biologist