New Look & New Life Unveiled at
Niagara Falls State Park




Thanks to Governor Cuomo's NY Works program and the Niagara River Greenway, Niagara Falls State Park unveiled a whole new look at three heavily visited areas inside the park. On Friday, June 14th State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey was joined by several state and local dignitaries, business leaders, community members and tourists alike as Niagara Falls State Park cut the ribbon on three major projects and broke ground on a fourth.


Luna Island now features new pedestrian walkways, overlook improvements, enhanced landscaping as well as new benches, light posts and railings. Tunnel restoration and installation of new high speed elevators left visitors breathless at Cave of the Winds. Three Sisters Islands showcased its new trolley shelter, expanded parking area, new pedestrian walkways, new railings and brand new views. Phase one work at Prospect Point also began and will include landscape restoration, new railings, benches and light fixtures and walkway surfaces. Phase one work will be completed in October.


The changes across the park achieved rave reviews as many claimed that the improvements provide a whole new experience to the oldest and most visited state park in the system.
Read the Press Release & check out our Niagara Flickr album. View our photos on flickr 


Fireworks & Fun This Fourth of July 

What's your favorite part of Independence Day? Remembering and honoring our nation's roots? Picnics with family and friends? The fireworks? New York's State Parks and Historic Sites have celebrations featuring all and more this 4th of July. Watch in awe as fireworks illuminate the night skies above the Walkway Over the Hudson and dazzle from over Niagara Falls. Enjoy 18th century crafts and festivities at Clermont and Schuyler Mansion. Allow historical re-enactors to bring you back in history at New Windsor Cantonment,  Knox's Headquarters, and Fort Montgomery. Hear the document our Founding Fathers used to establish America's freedom with readings of the Declaration of Independence at Stony Point Battlefield and John Jay Homestead.
Check out our events calendar!

Rock Island Lighthouse Opens



For the first time ever, Rock Island Lighthouse State Park in the Thousand Islands is fully open to the public.  State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey led the ribbon cutting ceremony on June 4, marking completion of a $1.5 million restoration and the opening of the light tower and Keepers' House to visitors.


Located off of Fisher's Landing on the St. Lawrence Seaway, Rock Island's first lighthouse was commissioned in 1848 and later raised and moved to more prominent location on the island in 1903.  The National Park Service transferred the property to New York State in 1977 and a restoration project began in 2006. 


Visitors can climb the stairs of the lighthouse and enjoy a bird's eye view of the river and surrounding islands, tour the museum and learn about the history of the island, its keepers, and the magnificent St. Lawrence River. The Keepers' House contains a self-guided maritime museum and gift shop. Docking is available to private craft and aboard Clayton Island Boat Tours. For hours and fees read more



Happy 20th Birthday to Riverbank State Park!  

On Saturday, May 18, Riverbank State Park in NYC celebrated its 20th anniversary with park founders, friends and the local community. Our special guest of honor-- former Governor Mario Cuomo was joined by his son, current Governor Andrew Cuomo to commemorate two decades of the beloved park located in Harlem that serves over three million visitors annually.  The park community also enjoyed a parade, a carnival and a huge birthday cake!   


Behind the Scenery
with Josh Teeter

Environmental Educator, Finger Lakes   


What does an Environmental Educator do?  I lead gorge tours, present for community groups, work to limit the spread of invasive species, help recruit employees and interns, and train seasonal employees,  and other duties.


What inspired you to work in state parks? I like being outside and working with great people. As an educator, I go where the people are. People like interesting and beautiful places so that's where I get to work a lot of the time.


What's the best thing about your job? Helping people feel more comfortable and connected to a place. Some people want to know about the geology of the area and others want to know what to do if something goes wrong.  I like being a resource for our visitors and I try very hard to learn as much as I can.


What's the coolest thing you've ever seen? Seeing the power of some of our waterfalls during spring melts or large storms.  I don't think I will every stop being impressed by the terrific power of water.


Is there an activity that you'd recommend?  We have a lot of waterfalls in the Finger Lakes Region and they're all beautiful. I recommend seeing all of them. I also highly recommend exploring the quieter areas in parks, slowing down a little and just experiencing the beauty of whatever place you're in. 



Long Island State Park beaches are open!

Emergency projects to clean up debris, repair boardwalks, reverse
beach erosion, rebuild dunes, reopen roads made sure all New York State Parks damaged by Hurricane Sandy were open for Memorial Day.

Check out our photo gallery of Hurricane Sandy repairs.

Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Paul Stephens

Hometown: Grand Island, NY

Park/Historic Site/Friends Group Affiliation: Niagara Region Disc Golf Club

Our Volunteer Spotlight for June features Paul Stephens, who volunteers with the Niagara Region Disc Golf Club on disc golf courses at state parks in the Niagara Region.     

How did you get involved? In 1980, Joseph Davis State Park installed one of the first courses in the country. I was growing up in Lewiston just down the road from the park. I got hooked on the sport and the park manager let me have input into how the course was set up and maintained. That passion has led me to help get five other state parks to install disc golf courses.  

Describe a recent initiative you participated in: Installing the Angry Apple Disc Golf Course at Darien Lakes State Park and "The Beast" - a premier 18-hole course designed for professional disc golfers at Lakeside Beach State Park. Lakeside is referred to as the "Pebble Beach" of disc golf, with two courses that have panoramic Lake Ontario views as a backdrop.

What's your favorite thing to do at state parks? Watching groups of new players playing a course that I helped get in the ground

What do you suggest to others who want to get involved in helping out at their favorite park? Ask for input from the park managers. Each manager has insight that would make a project that much better. Their support has made getting courses in the ground a great experience for me as a designer - and as a player.

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Event calendar 
 hikes, happenings,
festivals & more!

Allegany State Park Debuts new cabins at Group 5 Camp
Allegany State Park Debuts
New Group 5 Camp- read more!


Improvements coming
to a park near you!

Nearly 90 construction projects will begin this year to upgrade and repair more than 50 state parks and historic sites across New York. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's budget plan will invest $90 million to help revitalize the New York state park system. Please be patient as State Parks works to modernize bathrooms and bathhouse, repair roads, and fix critical infrastructure.

See the full list of projects. 




Welcome New Officers!  


Congratulations to the 36 park
police officers who recently
graduated from the NY State
Park Police training academy.
The new officers are already
keeping 60 million annual park
visitors safe and protecting the
natural and historic treasures of
the park system.
 Read more. 



camping guide cover 2013

 If you haven't planned
your summer escape,

Meet the Locals: 
North American Porcupine 

(Erethizon dorsatum)

Found throughout the US, the North American porcupine weighs between 15-25 lbs. Typically nocturnal, these rodents spend much of their time in trees and make dwellings in caves, decaying logs or tree cavities. Porcupines are herbivores and dine on leaves, twigs, green plants and sometimes tree bark.

You might be surprised to find out porcupines actually have soft hair.Their business end so to speak is only on their back, sides, and tail--thousands of mostly hollow, razor sharp quills. A porcupine's quills typically lie flat until they feel threatened, then they rise to attention as a persuasive deterrent. Contrary to popular belief their quills contain no poison or irritants nor can porcupines  shoot their quills, but they do detach easily when touched. Once detached into a predator's skin their body heat makes the barbs expand, embedding the quills even deeper into the animal's skin and causes immense pain. Porcupines will grow new quills as needed to replace the ones they lose. 

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Download our FREE

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Donate directly to your favorite
park or historic site.

Empire pass
Get Your 2013
Empire Passport!   

Your pass for all season enjoyment:
Unlimited vehicle entry to NY's 

State parks for just $65. Bring as
many friends as your car holds!
 Purchase online or call: 518-474-0458


Disc Golf at Parks

Disc golf is played much like
traditional golf. Instead of a ball &
clubs, players use a flying disc,
or Frisbee. The object is to
complete each hole in the fewest
number of throws. A golf disc is
thrown from a tee area to a target
which is the "hole" (often an
elevated metal basket). Players
move down the fairway, making
each consecutive shot from the
spot where the previous throw
landed. The hole is complete when
the "putt" lands in the basket.  

Give it a try-- c
heck out
disc golf courses. 



The Camper Assistance Program (CAP) offers seasoned campers an opportunity to share their expertise and love of the outdoors with other people at properties operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In return, CAP volunteers receive a free camping site. Read more...