A Message from New York State Parks       

Dear Friends:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our visitors and the employees of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, whose profound devotion and hard work led to a very successful summer of 2013 as we proudly welcomed millions.

We continue to march forward in our efforts to repair, restore, and revitalize our state park system. With funding from Governor Cuomo's 
NY Works initiative we have undertaken projects across the state to make our parks even more grand and magnificent.

We are circling New York State transforming the parks system at all levels with significant capital projects and programs including a renewal of the Niagara Falls State Park landscape. We have renovated bath houses; reopened or constructed new comfort stations, and designed and built destination playgrounds across the state. We taught hundreds of children to swim through our Learn to Swim program in New York City; opened the Rock Island Lighthouse in the beautiful Thousand Islands, making this unique facility accessible to the public; restored and modernized the popular group camps in the great wilderness of Allegany State Park; and reopened the crowd-pleasing pool at Stony Brook State Park in our Finger Lakes Region. And finally, we welcomed our newest state park in Buffalo.

There are even more exciting improvements to come and I remain grateful to all of you for the opportunity to work together on behalf of the parks and sites that mean so much to all of us. 

Remember, even though summer is officially over, autumn has arrived in all its splendor, and our parks continue to offer an outdoor experience unlike any other during these next several months.

Thank you all for your unending support. We are truly appreciative to have friends and family in each and every one of you.

See you out there.

Commissioner Rose Harvey



 Historic Seneca Nation Town  

Building New Center for Art & Culture

Ganondagan State Historic Site broke ground on a permanent destination dedicated to Seneca and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) contributions to art, culture and society at the site of the 17th-century Seneca town in Ontario County. The Seneca Art & Culture Center will honor the proud heritage of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee people and provide the site of a major 17th-century Seneca town with a much-needed year-round educational, cultural, and tourism destination for visitors from around the world. 
Read More






Take a Hike this Fall!  
5 Tips for Exploring the Outdoors with Kids

September marks the beginning of a season of spectacular color in state parks. Here are five tips to get kids outside to enjoy the fall foliage:

1. Make sure children are dressed appropriately for the weather and are wearing comfortable shoes. Pack favorite foods and beverages to keep them energized and hydrated.
2. Choose shorter hikes that feature natural wonders, such as waterfalls, dramatic views, signs of wildlife, fascinating rocks, etc.
3. Let the youngest hikers establish the pace, and slow down to soak up the surroundings. See what can be seen and heard on different areas of the trail. Turn it into a game and create your own scavenger hunt based on what they can identify.
4. Bring along fun tools to enhance the experience, such as cameras or a magnifying glass.
5. Check our calendar of events to find interactive programs for kids and families, or visit the park office for kid-friendly trail suggestions.



Yurts Make Their
State Park Debut

While the term "yurt" may not be a household word, these structures are the next big thing for campers who enjoy being outdoors but not completely "roughing it." Four Mile Creek State Park in Western New York is the site of the first set of yurts - wood lattice framed structures with heavy duty re-enforced fabric sides and insulated liners. Used traditionally by nomads in Central Asia, they've been modernized for State Park visitors -- with windows, a domed roof and wood floors. State Park yurts will include six cots and mattresses as well as a refrigerator and a microwave. Yurts will also come to Golden Hill State Park and Evangola State Park next season.  
Read More.




Bethpage State Park Hosting
World-Renowned Golf Tournaments


Golf's prestigious Wanamaker Trophy (left) and Ryder Cup (right) will be up for grabs at Bethpage State Park. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Professional Golf Association of America announced that the famous Bethpage Black course will host the 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup professional golf tournaments. That means there's still plenty of time to improve your swing at one of many fabulous public golf courses. Read More


Behind the Scenery:  
Victor Gonzalez
Park Maintenance Worker 3
How long have you been with State Parks?
40 years ago and I still have my first pay stub.

What do you do?
Working in a year-round facility there's never a boring moment - there's always something to do. Snow removal, working at various parks when needed, setting up picnic areas, preparing the pool and ball field are just some of the things that come to mind.

What inspired you to work in the park system?
I used to work in a supermarket but didn't have benefits. I needed to move ahead for my family. A friend told me about the job. I was hired and started making keys for the locker room and other assigned duties.

What's the best thing about your job?
I like it and have learned many things. I like the people I work with and I like taking care of the community.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
The programs for the disabled, and the friendly patrons. A lot of youth who I gave advice to as they worked in the park who've grown up to be hardworking adults.

Do you have fun on the job?
For a while they thought I worked double shifts because I worked here with my twin brother who had the same name but different middle initial. It was a lot of fun.

What do you'd recommend to park visitors? If I had to choose it's hard but the newest are the swimming pool and the playground. See the whole park because it's for young and old.



Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Vail 
Friends of John Jay Homestead 

Hometown: Mount Kisco, NY   
How long have you been volunteering and how did you get involved?
I've been involved for about 10 years now. I had been teaching the college program at the Bedford Hills correctional facility. When I moved on from there, I wanted to keep reading and thinking about history, and rediscovered the John Jay Homestead. One thing led to another, and this is now the 9th year that I've organized the lecture series.

Describe a recent initiative you participated in:
I adore our Farm Market, now in its third season. We had talked casually about trying to start a market at the site, but it was really a driveway conversation with a local farmer friend that turned the idea real. The Market has tied together the outside and inside stories we tell at the site (really the same story), and increased our traffic by 40%. Plus, the food, music and neighbors are great!

What is your favorite thing to do at the site?
Take school groups around. Ask them the big questions....You think chamber pots are horrible? What will people in the future think is horrible about our lives? Or...why was slavery so incredibly hard to get rid of? 
What would you suggest to others who might want to help out at their favorite park or historic site?
I bet that almost anything you like to do can be welcome and useful....just ask.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Let me make it totally clear: I couldn't do any of these things without our incredibly competent, committed and supportive site manager, Heather Iannucci, and her staff, and without our equally wonderful Friends staff, Wendy Ross and Dot Voorhees. We are lucky to have all of them!   
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Events Calendar
 hikes, happenings,
festivals & more!

State Park at the Fair  

Thank you to all who visited us at the State Park at the Great New York State Fair! We truly enjoyed hearing your memories of state parks and historic sites, and hope we were able to introduce you to some new favorites.



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



Want to know which part
of the state has peak autumn colors? Visit the Fall

Howdy Partner!


Starting this fall in select Hudson Valley and Long Island state parks, outdoor recreational classes and programs are being offered through REI's Outdoor School Programs.  The classes are initially being held at Hudson Highlands, Rockefeller, Bear Mountain, Harriman and Belmont Lake State Parks with the anticipation of additional locations and activities in the future. Programs include hiking, orienteering, nature photography and overnight backpacking. Outings are led by REI Outdoor School Instructors and all gear is provided as part of the registration fee. Read more.


Explore our NY Past

Meet the Locals   
Red Tail Hawk     
(Buteo jamaicensis) 


Known for their brick-red colored tails and 4-foot wingspan, this large common North America hawk is often seen soaring in circles over meadows or perched on the edge of a field or country roadway. Red Tails are a hearty species and occupy just about every type of open habitat on the continent, from fields to mountains, desert to mixed woodlands and even tropical rain forests in Mexico. Because of this great adaptability they also eat a wide variety of prey such as rabbits, rats, voles, opossum, muskrats, squirrels, snakes, and carrion. As with all raptors, Red Tails have excellent vision and can spot prey from a great distance. Due to their size and abundance they are often seen in most of our parks. 


Milestone at  
Roberto Clemente

On August 19, Roberto Clemente State Park celebrated its 40th Anniversary. A highlight of the celebration included the opening of new $1.2 million playground installed in the park's Lower Plaza. The playground includes a user-activated spray feature to cool patrons in the summer; a range of climbers, spinners, slides and overhead ladders; and integrated shade and benches. The playground is funded through NY Works and a $75,000 grant through the MetLife Foundation. Even more exciting projects are planned at Roberto Clemente State Park as part of a $5 million investment from Governor Cuomo's NY Works initiative.


Help Safeguard 
our Waterways

Aquatic invasive species can spoil boating and fishing trips, reduce lakeshore property values and undermine the tourism industry. Once established, controlling these non-native plants and animals is very difficult, sometimes impossible. Boaters can help prevent invasive species from degrading State Parks and waters. Learn how you can stop these aquatic hitchhikers with three simple steps. Clean, drain and dry your boat.  
Read More    


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park or historic site.