A huge heartfelt Thank You to the thousands of volunteers who participated across the state in the 3rd annual I Love My Park Day. Due to your efforts NY state parks & sites received a ton of TLC and look fantastic. 
What a wonderful day....Read more

More Improvements Coming to a  
State Park Near You 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced New York State will advance nearly 70 projects to improve and repair more State parks and historic sites across the state. The projects are part of a $90 million statewide commitment funded in this year's State Budget, marking the third year of the New York Works initiative to revitalize New York's State park system. These great projects will continue to connect youth with nature, support recreational and tourism opportunities and demonstrate responsible stewardship of our celebrated state park system.






Welcome to the Family

State Parks welcomes Buffalo Harbor State Park as the 180th State Park in New York's system and the very first State Park in the city of Buffalo. The park features great views of Lake Erie as well as the largest marina in New York State. Future plans include a destination playground, small carousel, picnic pavilions, a pedestrian walkway overlook, improved fishing access and plenty of fun events. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo designated the 190-acre State Park as part of a major revitalization of the Buffalo waterfront. Read More


Save on Camping May 27-June 26!


Pull the sleeping bags from the closet and reserve your campsite now to enjoy a special seasonal discount.  The Early Summer Camping Special offer includes $5 per night off regular rates from May 27- June 26 for campers making reservations using the promo code EARLYCAMP14.

The deal covers New York State Parks- and Department of Environmental Conservation-operated campgrounds in nearly every region (excluding Hither Hills State Park, mooring buoys, walk-ins and previous reservations).


This will be the 3rd year of this discount program which drew 4,000 camping nights during the same period last year.  State Park campgrounds have experienced back-to-back record camping years including an all-time high of 583,016 camping nights booked in 2013.


To get the deal, people can book online or by phone at 800-456-CAMP

Behind the Scenery :
John Stowell, Park Supervisor


Taconic Outdoor Education Ctr.


How long have you been with the agency? I started in 1988.  Guess that would be 26 years of service.  Or as I prefer to think "4 in dog years"!    


What does someone in your position do? 
My responsibilities include coordinating environmental education trips for schools and supervising an amazing team of outdoor educators.  I'm often working the high ropes course at TOEC and teaching the science of maple syrup production in our sugar house.  I'm a qualified wild land firefighter and chainsaw operator so that keeps me busy as well.  

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

I constantly tell my educators that rewards come from spending more time outdoors.  I've had great wildlife sightings in the park that include bobcat, black bear, and a garter snake eating a spring peeper frog.  My most rewarding sighting was while teaching a group of NYC 6th graders as they observed 3 eastern coyotes running through the woods.     

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

This is a toss-up between my hiking adventures in Alaska, a motorcycle tour of Nova Scotia and winter mountaineering in the Adirondacks

Is there a destination in the park you'd recommend?

There's nothing like getting out on the Hudson River for an early morning pre-dawn canoe paddle. A hike following a fresh snowfall in Fahnestock State Park won't disappoint!


What inspired you to work in the park system?

At a very young age I was introduced to the outdoors through family and friends and soon realized that I would work outdoors.  My college degree in Environmental Education and enthusiasm for hiking, hunting and fishing landed me an internship with NYSDEC.
I spent a few summers working for the NYSDEC camps and was introduced to the Taconic Outdoor Education Center with OPRHP. The rest is history! 


Wander the Path Through History 

Close the textbook and experience the unique history of New York State first hand during  Path Through History weekends 
June 7-8 and June 14-15.

Children will enjoy donning the best of historic fashion at Clermont and learning writing tips from the author who wrote the story of Sackets Harbor's War of 1812 American Girl doll. Stroll through the bygones of time during a history hike at Thacher, tour a lost landscape at Staatsburgh, or learn about the fascinating former residents of Mills Mansion who were Titanic ticket holdersBear witness to agricultural practices of the 18th Century at Schuyler Mansion's  Farm Day in the City,  military arts at Fort Montgomery, cannon demonstrations at Knox's Headquarters and a  presentation at Washington's Headquarters on little-known events of the American Revolution. Or, plan your own journey back in time at one or more of the 500 Path Through History destinations across the state. Find more events on our calendar 

Chris with his wife Christine and children Anya and Liam, who also volunteer at the park.


Volunteer Spotlight:  

Chris Roe

Hometown:  Grafton, NY

Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park 


How long have you been volunteering at this location? 

Approximately 17 years  


Describe a recent project that you participated in for the park: Most recently, I led a work crew of 7 volunteers to build a new trail segment on I Love My Park Day at Grafton Lakes State Park. Last weekend, I cleared out two existing trails of leaves and dead branches to continue the effort to prepare for the official opening of Grafton Lakes State Park for the "season" on Memorial Day weekend.  


What is your favorite thing to do at the park/site? 

Mountain biking and designing/building trails  


What would you suggest to others who might want to get more involved in helping out at their favorite park/site?

The next time you are visiting a park or historic site, stop at the Park Office and make a point of meeting the Park Manager, thank them for the job they and their staff are doing. Ask if there is an organized Friends Group and if there are any upcoming volunteer events you could participate in. Lastly, find out what kind of "behind-the-scenes" work goes on to make your recreational pursuit of choice possible at that Park, and ask how you can get involved to ensure its availability in the future.   


Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Volunteerism is like laughter. It's contagious. If even one person laughs, many people will hear it. Even if they don't know why that person was laughing or who it was, people take notice. Some will ignore it. Others will just smile. Then there are others who will join in and laugh too. It all started with one person, who decided to express their happiness and let the world know.
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Events Calendar
 hikes, happenings,
festivals & more!


Welcome New 

Park Police Officers


State Parks congratulates 33
park police officers who recently graduated from the New York 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.


Lifetime Liberty Pass
Now Available 


Governor Cuomo recently announced the launch of a new Lifetime Liberty Pass for New York State Veterans with disabilities. Benefits of the pass include free vehicle entry to State Parks and DEC-operated day-use areas, as well as numerous State boat launch sites, historic sites, arboretums and park preserves; free golf at 28 State Park golf courses; free swimming pool entrance at 36 State Park pools, and discounted camping and cabin rentals at all 119 State Park and DEC campgrounds.Read more

Visit our website for more information and an application.


SmorgasBar Coming to Jones Beach This Summer

Popular Brooklyn attraction Brooklyn Flea will add some sizzle to Jones Beach this summer with the opening of SmorgasBar: Brooklyn by the Beach in the park's Central Mall area.     

SmorgasBar: Brooklyn by the Beach will feature four to five food and beverage vendors from Brooklyn Flea's renowned Smorgasburg food market in addition to New York-produced products as part of a one-year pilot venture, open Friday to Sunday through June 16 (plus Memorial Day, May 26), then daily through Labor Day. The concession will include large tents for shade and dining, and a sand play area with games such as ping-pong, bocce, and horseshoes. Read More.


Attention Hudson
River Boaters!


Boaters need to be aware that the entire crossing of the New NY Bridge (Tappan Zee Bridge) is an active construction zone. 

For regular updates on boater safety information in this area please refer to The New NY Bridge Boater Safety Information.




National Trails Day is  
Saturday, June 7 th!


Celebratory events around  
the nation will feature outdoor activities designed to promote the importance of trails in the United States through hiking,  

trail maintenance work, and more. Find an event near you.



Do you Instagram?  

Use hashtag #nysparks

 with your park pix for a chance to
be highlighted on our social media channels. 
Find us at @nystateparks  

  New Blog: Nature Times

Do you love the outdoors?
Are you curious about science, wildlife, biology and environmental projects and programs happening in state parks? Then check out our new Blog: 
New York State Parks- Nature Times.  

 New Law for 
Young Boaters 

All boaters born on or after 
May 1, 1996 are now required to obtain a Safe Boating Certificate by completing an eight-hour safe boating course. Courses may be completed and certificates obtained through State Parks, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Previous law only required the operator of a personal watercraft or any youthful boat operator to obtain a Safe Boating Certificate. The new law signed by the Governor Cuomo phases-in this existing requirement to all boaters beginning with those born on or after May 1, 1996. Read More