Jones Beach State Park, West Bath House
Governor Cuomo's budget holds
good news for Parks

Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget continues to invest in the revitalization of aging park infrastructure. Park advocates said the Governor's budget proposal "reaffirms his strong support for rebuilding and upgrading New York's state parks." The New York Works capital program continues to address a backlog of environmental capital needs and spur job creation and economic development statewide. New capital funding of $90 million will be provided to State Parks to support health and safety projects and critical infrastructure rehabilitation. 
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 Sam's Point photo by Brett Cole courtesy of the
Open Space Institute.

We're Growing!

Big additions to two scenic New York state parks provide tremendous recreational opportunities while protecting the environment. Thanks to a partnership with the Open Space Institute, Nature Conservancy and others, New York added 1,068 acres to Minnewaska State Park Preserve  through the transfer of the Sam's Point Preserve in Ulster County. Known for its spectacular views and striking cliffscapes, Sam's Point includes the much-visited promontory that is the highest point along the entire Shawangunk Ridge; the 56-acre Lake Maratanza; and the popular Ice Caves Trail. Sam's Point is home to one of the world's few examples of a high elevation dwarf pitch pine barrens, as well as nearly 40 rare plant and animal species.

In an agreement with Scenic Hudson, New York will add nearly 1,250 acres of open space along Fishkill Ridge in Dutchess County to Hudson Highlands State Park. Fishkill Ridge offers 11.5 miles of challenging wilderness trails that afford visitors some of the most breathtaking long-range vistas in the Hudson Highlands. The Ridge also includes historic North Beacon Mountain, from whose summit signal fires kept George Washington informed of British troop movements in the Hudson Highlands during the Revolutionary War. In addition, there are connections to trails in Scenic Hudson's Mount Beacon Park and other existing trails in Hudson Highlands State Park.




Celebrate Washington's Birthday

President's Day is coming up, and it means so much more than a day off from school. Celebrate the history of our first and beloved president, George Washington, at historic sites this holiday. At New Windsor Cantonment, soldiers will bring to life the Continental Army's final winter encampment with musket and cannon firings, blacksmithing, medical demonstrations and other aspects of daily life. At Washington's Headquarters, General Washington will be greeting visitors from Saturday to Monday, and crafts and demonstrations will be offered for all who would like to take part. Reenactors will perform military drills and give presentations each day. Knox's Headquarters will offer tours of the house and host "Kites Over the Winter of 1780-81."

Some of the men of the 369th (15th N.Y.) who were awarded the Croix de Guerre for "gallantry in action." Courtesy of the National Archives.

African American History Month    

In observance of African American History Month, state historic sites are hosting special events and displays in recognition of the many ways African Americans have helped to shape American history. 
Schuyler Mansion will host a two-part program which will center on the Albany fire of 1793 and the subsequent investigation. An evening panel discussion will provide historical context on Thursday, February 20th, and will be followed by a dramatic presentation on Saturday, February 22nd. Visitors will see and hear from actors portraying slaves, wealthy landowners, and freed African Americans about the events while those accused of setting the fire and causing so much destruction await their fate.  
Crailo State Historic Site will explore the lesser-known world of the Van Rensselaers with a presentation of "The Enslaved Van Rensselaers: Slavery at Crailo" on February 22nd. Visitors will learn about the history of slavery in New Netherland and New York and open-house tours will be offered.
Special exhibits will also be displayed by Fort Ontario,  New Windsor Cantonment, and Sackets Harbor Battlefield.    
Behind the Scenery: Devon Gentiluomo

How long have you been with the agency?18 years, first as a seasonal employee and became permanent in 2000.

What does someone in your position do?  I do general maintenance year-round. To make the park patrons safe during the winter I plow snow, shovel and sand walks. On very cold days, we leave time to clean off the skating rinks, then spray them with water to make a smooth skating surface so our patrons will have good skating conditions. Sometimes I help groom the cross-country ski trails using the park's snowmobile.

What's the coolest thing you've seen on the job?
On really cold days, below zero, when you spray the water onto the rink the mist from the water freezes almost instantly and looks really cool.

What's the coolest thing you've ever done?
I like the opportunity to drive the parks' heavy equipment and get to learn how to operate those machines. I also like it when we are directing traffic at some of the SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) concerts and the music starts playing and we get to listen to it while we're still working, it's like getting a free concert.

Is there a destination in the park you'd recommend to someone?
Crossing the pedestrian bridge at SPAC and looking downstream on the Geyser Brook, it's a really nice view and it changes with all the seasons.

What inspired you to work in the park system?
I'm a 3rd generation park employee; both my father and grandfather worked here. When I first started it was as a summer job, but eventually I got the opportunity to stay on and came to really like the work. I love the park and working in the beautiful outdoors.

Volunteer Spotlight:  Susan Kyle Anthony   

Hometown: Cazenovia, NY

How how did you get involved?
I started working in the archives in the mid 1980's transcribing information from original documents on to 3 x 5 cards. This was before computers were generally in use! My mother was volunteering and encouraged my involvement during the day when my children were in school.

Describe your participation at the historic site: 
As Head Docent, I help the staff plan monthly meetings and invite guest speakers for the Lorenzo Docent Corps. I write a newsletter to keep our members informed and plan trips to visit other historic sites. I help schedule docents to lead tours and to be on duty during open house events. I mentor new members. I lead tours and work special events such as the Victorian Tea. 

What's your favorite thing to do at the site?
I've enjoyed decorating a room for the annual "Christmas at Lorenzo" program during the last four years. Each year, a new theme is chosen and the entire mansion is decked out accordingly. Many Cazenovians kick off their own holiday celebrations by seeing these spectacular decorations. But it's the people that I really enjoy. I love to meet our visitors and school groups and tell them about the families of Lorenzo and show them the collections. I enjoy the stories visitors tell me and I sometimes learn as much from them as they learn from me!

What would you suggest to others who might want to help out at their favorite park or site? 
Volunteering anyplace is a great opportunity to expand your own knowledge and help other people learn something new. It's a way to meet others of like interest and to contribute to the community. And it's fun. Just go and sign up!

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Events Calendar
 hikes, happenings,
festivals & more!

Save the Date!
Saturday, May 3

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

Online registration 
begins mid-March

Show off your love  
of the Great Outdoors 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has introduced the New York State Adventure License Series, providing New Yorkers and visitors the opportunity to purchase lifetime licenses to fish, hunt and visit New York State Parks, as part of his efforts to enhance sporting and recreational opportunities, support outdoor enthusiasts and boost tourism throughout the state. As part of this promotional effort, the Governor unveiled New York's Outdoor Adventure License Plates, which features nine new plate designs - including the I ♥ NY HUNTING, I ♥ NY FISHING, and I ♥ NY PARKS license plates - available for free exclusively to those buying new lifetime hunting, fishing, or parks licenses in 2014. Read More

Hockey at Saratoga Spa State Park

Happy Hearts
in Parks

The g
roundhog may have predicted six more weeks of cold temperatures, but Valentine's Day is approaching and at state parks, love is in bloom. Snowshoe with your sweetheart around Thacher State Park  and Gilbert Lake or to the stunning Awosting Falls at Minnewaska. Enjoy guided, leisurely walks lit by the bright winter moon at Connetquot River and Wilson-Tuscarora. Whip up a new and special meal for the occasion with the Hearts and Hands Cooking Workshop at Olana. And for those planning on tying the knot this year or next, photos of weddings framed by the magnificent natural beauty of New York's state parks and historic sites are always available for ideas and inspiration on our Pinterest page.  
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Meet the Locals:  
The Wood Frog
(Rana sylvatica)
In wintertime, some animals have very unique adaptations that help them survive in the cold. Wood Frogs are especially interesting because they allow their bodies to freeze almost solid, but are still able to thaw out and come back to life when the temperature warms. This ability allows wood frogs to range as far north as Alaska, where they can freeze and thaw several times in one season. Their special ability allows them to hibernate close to the ephemeral pools where they breed, and makes them one of the earliest frogs to emerge in spring. By laying their eggs early in the season, wood frogs maximize their offspring's chances of surviving through the tadpole phase and becoming juvenile frogs before the ephemeral pools dry up. 

Looking Back
The 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing but did you know Allegany State Park had a 30 meter and a 50 meter ski jump used by Olympians? It was constructed during the fall and winter of 1934-35. The ski jumps were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps Company 249 under the direction of Art Roscoe, former Olympic skier Karl Fahrner and members of the Interstate Ski Club. The first jumping competition was held in February 1935.


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Lifeguard Exams 

It's never too early to start
planning for a summer job.
State Parks is holding qualifying
exams for lifeguards for our
many beaches and pools
beginning this month. 
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