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John Boyd Thacher State Park  
Celebrates 100 Years 
On September 14, 1914, Emma Treadwell Thacher joined
Governor Martin Glynn and over 1000 other attendees to officially dedicate 350 pristine acres atop the Helderberg Escarpment as
John Boyd Thacher State Park. Mrs. Thacher donated the land to 
New York State to be forever set aside as a state park for use by
the public. Since then, Thacher Park has grown to 2400 acres, including Thompson's Lake State Campground and the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, where a wide variety of interpretive and recreational opportunities are offered.

On September 13, 2014 the park, together with the Friends of Thacher State Park, will host a celebration that includes the all-trail Centennial Running Festival with 5K, 10K, Marathon and 50K races; live music, horse drawn carriage rides, a climbing wall, food and beverage, games and nature hikes. Read more


Surf by the Surf

Thanks to a new partnership between State Parks, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and American Park Network, four State parks now offer FREE Wi-Fi: Jones Beach State Park, Niagara Falls State Park, USA , Saratoga Spa State Park & East River State Park. 
Users simply choose "Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi™" on their device in select areas and can enjoy this great new amenity.

Whether you want to share real-time photos of friends and family exploring parks, or access apps and maps, Wi-Fi is a great option to enhance your State Park visit. Read More.

Flying Saucer Report

Mine Kill is the latest State Park to establish permanent facilities for the increasingly popular sport of disc golf.

Similar to traditional golf with tees, holes and strokes per hole - disc golf is played with plastic flying discs instead of a ball and clubs.
A golf disc is thrown from a tee area toward an elevated basket, which is the "hole." The player with the fewest throws wins. It's a fun and easy way to get outside with friends and family at New York State Parks.

Give the sport a try at one of nine State Park disc golf courses: Beaver Island, Darien Lakes, Evangola, Joseph Davis, Lakeside and Wilson-Tuscarora in Western New York; Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Lower Hudson Valley; Green Lakes and Gilbert Lake in Central New York or now Mine Kill in the beautiful Schoharie Valley. Read more

Launch a Boating Adventure from a State Park

New York State boasts some of the most scenic and enjoyable waterways in the nation. State Parks offer plentiful and affordable places for the public to access these lakes, rivers and bays. To improve accessibility and experience for recreational boaters and anglers, upgrades were completed at boating facilities at three State Parks in the Thousand Islands and one in the Finger Lakes this summer. The improvements include a new waterfront pavilion and comfort station at Keewaydin State Park; expanded capacity at Long Point and Kring Point State Parks; and streamlined boat trailer access at Seneca Lake State Park. The projects are among a series of improvements at parks and historic sites funded by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY Works initiative.

Volunteer Spotlight
Jim & Bonnie Schaller, Altamont, NY
Friends of Thacher State Park

How long have you been volunteering at this location and how did you get involved?
About ten years. Our long-time friend Fred Schroeder volunteered planning, building, and maintaining the trails, and loved the park. We follow in his footsteps.

Describe recent projects that you organized or participated in for the park:
The Garden Gang rejuvenated many of the planters at the park.
Trail reroutes were done per the Master Plan, along with park staff. Building an 80-foot-long boardwalk, along with fellow Friends member Bob Marriott. Leading work parties on Trails Day. Maintaining an inventory of 50 trail signs. The Indian Ladder historic marker replacement was planned, ordered, and will be unveiled at the Centennial.

What is your favorite
thing to do at the park?
Trail maintenance, hiking, and maintaining the park's general nice appearance, with aid of park staff. 

What would you suggest to others who might want to get more involved in helping out at their favorite park/site?
Form (or be involved in) a Friends group.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
"Giving Back" to your park is also a personal rewarding experience.
Free Mobile NYS Parks Trail Maps Available

New York State Parks has partnered with Avenza Systems Inc. to give State Park visitors free mobile access to more than 50 State Park trail maps featuring more than 1,500 miles of trails. The digital PDF maps are  available to download free.

Park visitors with GPS-enabled devices are now able to locate themselves on New York State Parks maps as they explore the trails. The maps provide a great option for visitors planning a hike in remote parks, where wireless service is not always available. Visitors can download and save maps through the Avenza PDF Maps in-app map store on their mobile device. At the park, visitors can open the map and take advantage of various interactive features such as showing location; dropping waypoints/pinpoints on points-of-interest; attaching images and notes; and tracking routes, distance and elevation - all while offline.

Park visitors interested in the maps will need to download Avenza's PDF Maps app to their Apple iOS and Android mobile devices and search for the New York State Park map of their choice. Read More.
Behind the Scenery with Paris Harper,
Environmental Educator and Natural Heritage Assistant

How long have you been with the agency?
I started with Parks in January this year as an intern with the Student Conservation Association and Americorps. I am completing a ten-month term.

What does someone in your position do?
I coordinate multiple projects between the Environmental Management Bureau, the Natural Heritage Program, and the Executive Office. Some of my ongoing projects include writing the #WildlifeWednesday posts for the NYS Parks & Historic Sites Facebook page, writing the "Nature Up Close" webpages highlighting biodiversity in State Parks, and I also developed and now maintain the NYS Parks blog, Nature Times. I also get to do a good deal of field work with the wildlife and water quality units. Some of the projects I've helped with include invasive species removal, performing deer pellet surveys, and helping the Natural Heritage Program organize the May 2014 BioBlitz at Minnewaska State Park.

What's the coolest thing you've ever seen?
I never really knew about the salamander life cycle before getting involved with volunteering at Thacher State Park, but on the first night of warm rain this spring, I was amazed at how many salamanders crawled out of the ground and across the road at the same time. There was barely time to take pictures of all the different species I saw as I ferried salamanders and frogs across the road!

What's the coolest thing you've ever done?
I think my coolest project, and the one I'm most proud of, is creating the NYS Parks Nature Times blog, which is designed to highlight and educate the public about projects going on in state parks that might otherwise fall under the radar. The water quality unit, wildlife, and the environmental analysts are all doing very cool projects that make parks better places for the public to visit and enjoy, and I think there should be a space where that information is accessible for everyone to learn about and appreciate.

Is there a park/region you'd recommend to someone?
Watkins Glen is an amazing example of how the intersection of nature and technology can produce something very beautiful. Basically, the entire park is composed of pathways and staircases carved into the walls of a narrow gorge. I can't imagine how much labor must have gone into producing that place, but it is a very unique experience.

What inspired you to work in the park system?
I've always thought that New York is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and a lot of that is due to the hard work put into managing and conserving natural resources in New York State Parks. I'm very proud of belonging to an organization which has a strong environmental ethic and I'm happy to be able to share some of our exciting work with the public through social media and in other ways.

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Good Things Come in
Small Packages

While it may be the smallest in the system and only open for part of the summer, the four-acre State Park at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every August. This year's fair runs Opening Day, August 21 - Labor Day, September 1.

Centered in the fairgrounds, the tiny State Park at the Fair offers an oasis of shaded picnic tables around a large reflecting pool drawing families to picnic and enjoy a favorite meeting spot. Staff is on hand to answer questions, promote events, and make travel suggestions.

The public can meet outdoor educators from around the state, see musket firings and costumed interpreters from historic sites, build a bluebird nesting box, experience the popular birds of prey show, shop in the gift pavilion, and learn more about boating, snowmobiling, camping, golf and more! New for 2014, the park welcomes the I Love NY Visitor Center.

Enhanced North Shore Trail Continues Revitalization of
Niagara Falls State Park

Earlier this month, Niagara Falls State Park reopened an improved North Shore Trail, a popular trail that connects important park viewing areas via a shaded, scenic route. The work included improved lighting and landscaping, as well as a number of new overlooks where patrons can view the rapids of the Niagara River before it plunges over the American Falls. The improvements made the path to Luna Island universally accessible, for the first time providing easy access to one of the park's most dramatic spots for people with mobility challenges.

The $1 million project was funded by Governor Cuomo's NY Works Program and the New York Power Authority's State Parks Greenway Fund, and continues a major revitalization of Niagara Falls State Park launched in 2012. Previously completed projects include Luna Island, Three Sisters Islands and Prospect Point. Read more


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Photo by: Carrie Smalser

Labor Day Weekend Festivities

The sun is setting earlier each night, but summer deserves one last weekend of celebration. Before the school bells start ringing, enjoy Grafton Lakes' sand sculpture contest, Letchworth's Summer Farewell Festival, Darien Lakes' rocking End of Summer Dance, the 38th Annual Fillmore Auto Show and Flea Market, Max V. Shaul's Toe Path Mountain Jamboree, or a long walk to Minnewaska's Rainbow Falls. Try disc golf at night at Green Lakes, fit in one last campfire (with s'mores of course!) and entertaining tales at Thacher, walk behind the waterfalls at Watkins Glen, and taste what's left of summer's freshest at Farmer's Markets held at Saratoga Spa and John Jay Homestead. For a fun-filled weekend of festivities, New York's state parks and historic sites have everything you need. See event details. 

Advice from Ninja Turtles: 
Visit a State Park

Be a New York Ninja for Fun and Fitness! That's the message the stars of the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have for kids. New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey joined Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stars Megan Fox and Will Arnett, along with a group of children from the youth organization Harlem RBI at a Fan Appreciation Screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to encourage youth to "Be a New York Ninja for Fun and Fitness" while visiting New York State Parks this summer.

"The Turtles, as energetic role models who are active and fit, offer a perfect opportunity to make an inspirational link for kids between fitness and visiting their local State Parks for exercise and fun year-round," Commissioner Harvey said. "Thank you to Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, and the NYS Governor's Office for Motion Pictures for helping to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle."
Read More

Ramble On!
What will you discover this September?

The 15th Annual Hudson River Valley Ramble will once again offer a series of events, spanning all weekends in the month of September, with hikes and walks, biking and paddle excursions, historic site tours, fall fairs and festivals, and more to experience the extraordinary Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. For residents and regular visitors and those who have never been, discovering all the region has to offer is an opportunity not to be missed.

Check out the full line-up for state park and historic site Ramble events, and a digital guidebook with a complete listing of Ramble programs.

Watkins Glen State Park