Learning to Swim - a Critical Life Skill 

American Red Cross & National Swimming Pool Foundation Sponsored Learn to Swim Program

State Parks, the American Red Cross, National Swimming Pool Foundation and the state Department of Health have teamed up to
help more children learn to be more comfortable and safe when
they are in, on and around the water. 


The partnership expanded "Learn to Swim" programs at Riverbank
State Park in Manhattan and Roberto Clemente State Park in the
Bronx. More than 500 children are learning this critical life skill this summer. Funding and support by all partners have allowed for the certification of Water Safety Instructors to conduct classes twice
daily throughout the summer. State Parks and its partners will work
to expand the Learn to Swim programs to additional parks next year.      

Read the 
Press Release & Visit the Learn to Swim Flickr album. View our photos on flickr   


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation wishes to remind all visitors to always follow and
practice swim safety while enjoying the great outdoors.
Following a few simple rules could save a life.  

Herkimer Home's Centennial Celebration   


In 1913, the State of New York acquired 150 acres of the Herkimer Homestead with the purpose to preserving Revolutionary War General Nicholas Herkimer's property as a historic landmark. On Sunday August 11th site staff, volunteers and the community joined in to mark the Herkimer Home State Historic Site's centennial year. The day was highlighted by a new exhibit at the home that showcases how the
site has evolved over the last 100 years. 
Read more



State Parks: A perfect setting for wildlife viewing


Do you want to spot a soaring eagle, glimpse a river otter, or spy a fox? State Parks' and the state Department of Environmental Conservation's wildlife experts can help you learn where to find wildlife, what sounds to listen for, or when to look for your favorite animal.  


The just-published New York Wildlife Viewing Guide lists 100 of New York's best sites to see wildlife near home or while on a trip, including more than 40 state parks.  Available soon for your E-reader and electronic devices; purchase a copy on the web, in bookstores, or at  watchablewildlife.org. Read more





New York Advocates Win 2013 

National Trail Award


In April, at the 21st American Trails National Symposium, it was announced that Parks & Trails New York was the winner of the 2013 State Trail Advocacy Award for New York for their statewide leadership role in advocating for parks and trails. Jane Daniels was the winner of the 2013 State Trail Worker Award for New York for her on-going involvement and dedication to the trails community from the local to regional and state level over the past three decades. Congratulations for this well-deserved national recognition of their efforts!   Read More. 


Photo courtesy of nynjtc.org

Volunteer Spotlight

Name:  John R. Mack

Hometown: Ramsey, NJ

Our volunteer spotlight for August features John Mack who volunteers with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (NYNJTC) and at Harriman, Bear Mountain and Sterling Forest State Parks.    

How did you get involved?
 I've been volunteering at Sterling Forest State Park from early on, when I was active in the hearings and work to obtain Sterling Forest parkland.  I helped create some of the new trails, and continue to help maintain them.   As Trail Chair of NYNJTC's West Hudson South, I work with more than 200 active volunteers at Harriman, Bear Mountain and Sterling Forest State Parks, including our regional chainsaw teams who cleared over 1,400 tree downfalls on the trails since last winter's storms.  

Describe a recent project you participated in:
This past fall I managed a replacement bridge project over the Popolopen Gorge in Bear Mountain. This was challenging because we started in late fall (final touches were completed with snow on the ground!) and the 62-foot-long fiberglass bridge needed to be hauled in sections of several hundred pounds over the gorge with cables and hoists.  Over 30 volunteers were recruited, and a professional trail builder aided with the final installation.  


What's your favorite thing to do at the park?  I like to hike the trails, check on conditions, and simply enjoy the outings.  I also very much enjoy working with the always enthusiastic and caring park personnel.  Both the accomplishments and the relationships provide my reward.  

What would you suggest to others who might want to help out at their favorite park?
  Watch for publications, volunteer opportunities and trail training sessions from www.NYNJTC.org.  Also join the organization and volunteer for some assignment- office aid, trail maintenance, trail crew (the heavy work), or work with invasive species inventory and elimination.  


Behind the Scenery

Meet: Tammy McLoughlin
Position: Lifeguard at Jones Beach State Park

What does a Lifeguard do?

First and foremost, a Lifeguard is responsible for the safety and well-being of our patrons in and around the water. Another important role is educating the public as to the daily surf condition. Lastly, making sure each and every patron leaves our beautiful beach safely and with a positive experience.  

What inspired you to work in the park system?
My high school swim coach and Jones Beach Lifeguard for 50 years now, Captain Ed Peters, encouraged me to take the JBLG test back in 1984. Even though there weren't many female lifeguards in the Corps at the time, he assured me it would be a life changing experience.  It has turned out to be the BEST experience of my life next to raising my 4 children.  I have gained so many friends and a second family that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

What's the best thing about your job?  I would have to say being part of the JBLG family is the best part of my job.  The camaraderie and
unconditional support from my crew is priceless.      

What's the coolest thing you've ever seen? 

I would have to say Lifeguarding during the Airshow, we have the best seats in the house.

What's the best thin
g you've ever done? Hands down, each and every "save" I have made over the years would have to be the coolest thing. There is no better feeling in the world then knowing you helped save a life. 

If someone were to visit your beach is there a secret tip that you'd offer/recommend? I would suggest taking a walk along the boardwalk.  You have an opportunity to see the historical beauty that the park has to offer in its natural setting, as well as the different characteristics each field has. 


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Visit the State
at the Fair 


It may be small in size, but this NY
state park is full of fun! Located between the fairground's Chevy Court and the Horticulture Building, it's easy to find. 


The three-acre site has picnic tables,
trees and a shaded reflecting pool that
is a perfect meeting spot for families to take in the sights. 

The park has outside displays, exhibits, the popular birds of prey show and a
great gift shop. Knowledgeable park   
staff are on hand daily to answer questions, promote upcoming events,   
and make travel plan suggestions. 


This year visitors can meet outdoor educators, costumed interpreters, state park police, as well as learn about marine safety and snowmobiling.  


For more information visit
The Great New York State Fair    



Calling All

Use hashtag #nysparks with
park pix for a chance to be highlighted on our social media channels. We will select photos
each week for fan favorite voting.

Find us at @nystateparks 



Visit our 

Events Calendar
 hikes, happenings,
festivals & more!

Buckle Up New York
Don't take a break from safety.  The New York State Park Police reminds vacationers to use their seat belts and child safety seats while visiting State Parks.  


camping guide cover 2013

 If you haven't planned
your summer escape,


Explore our NY Past


Inspired by Trail
John Mack? 

Check out this new
volunteer opportunity!


You can be trained in the
art of trail building at upcoming
workshops with the New York-
New Jersey Trail Conference. 
The Back Country Trails Program
seeks individuals willing 
to be part of a trail crew
working directly with NY-NJTC
trails personnel in Sterling
Forest State Park.


Contact Jeffrey Hutchinson at
Sterling Forest State Park
845-351-5907 or 


Meet the Locals   
Eastern Painted Turtle

(Chrysemys picta picta)


The Eastern Painted Turtle, found along the East coast of the U.S., is a unique reptile species. Living in marshes, lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams, they can be easily recognized by their yellow and red stripes on their legs, tails, and necks.  During the day, the turtles leave the water to bask in the sun, typically with other turtles. As cold-blooded reptiles, they rely on the sun's rays to keep warm. The sun provides them with vitamin D, which helps with growing and maintaining a strong shell - important for protection against predators. 

During winter months, the turtle hibernates in the muddy bottoms of waterways. The turtle will dig and
bury itself several feet underneath the surface of the mud. During hibernation, turtles do not breathe, but some oxygen can be transferred from their surroundings into the skin. 



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