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Cyber Monday
Save with a 3-Yr Empire Passport and make memories of a lifetime


Exploring the outdoors just got easier!  New York State Parks will be offering a deal on Cyber Monday, Dec. 1, 2014:  The one-day, online-only special reduces the price of the 3-Year Empire Passport to only $130.  It's like buying two years and getting the third for free!


Valid through March 31, 2018, the 3-Year Empire Passport will provide holders unlimited vehicle access to 180 state parks, nature centers, recreation areas, boat launch sites, arboretums and park preserves, in addition to 55 forest preserve sites operated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.


The special discount is only available for online purchases of the 3-Yr Empire Passport at  on Cyber Monday, Dec. 1, from 12:00am-11:59 pm. Orders will be shipped within seven business days.  Previous purchases of the 3-Year Empire Passport are excluded from this special one-day offer. Learn more.

Celebrate with NYS Parks & Historic Sites

Tis the season! Get into the holiday spirit with festive hands-on workshops at state parks and historic sites. Create
 boxwood tree crafts at Moreau Lake, rustic Thanksgiving tablescapes at Olana, wreaths at Clay Pit Ponds,  fire-and-ice candles at Caleb Smith, nature collages at Minnewaska, ornaments at Schoharie Crossing, decorate holiday cookies at Green Lakes; & shop for unique gifts crafted by local artisans at Thacher's Holiday Craft Bazaar.

Halls will be decked at Staatsburgh, where visitors can tour through the mansion's
Gilded Age Christmas; explore Old Fort Niagara and  Philipse Manor Hall by candlelight; experience the merriment of tree lighting ceremonies in Long Island State Parks; drop in for treats & stories by the tree at Clermont; enjoy a one-person performance of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at Olana; hear letters  written and songs sang during holidays past at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor; warm up at Washington's Headquarters; discover 18th Century Christmas with the Ellisons of Knox Headquarters; and meet Sinterklaas, the Dutch St. Nicholas, at Crailo. Find more craft workshops, hikes, runs, and winter fun on our events calendar. 


Planning a Trip?

More Virtual Tours Now Available!


New York State now offers 93 virtual tours of state campgrounds and select parks to provide visitors a sample of the setting and amenities at each location.  These 360 views include both moving "spins" and still images of scenic spots, popular attractions and features such as trails, beaches and pools, boat launches, pavilions, playgrounds, golf courses and more. Before your next adventure, be sure to check these out! Virtual Tours


Reinvigorating a Long Island Fly-Fishing Tradition
There's good news for Long Island's Connetquot River, one of the nation's premiere fly-fishing streams. For more than a century, a historic trout hatchery on the Connetquot helped stock the river with an abundance of large trout -- until a fish disease forced its closure in 2008.

The disease has been eliminated from the fish in the river. And now thanks to a $150,000 grant through the Environmental Protection Fund, the Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve are leading a project to reopen the hatchery next year. To reduce the chance of a reinfection, the project will install a bio-secure well and generator to provide a fresh supply of groundwater to the hatchery. Fish cultivation is expected to begin in 2015, with the first trout release occurring by early 2017. Eventually, 30,000-35,000 trout 12 inches or greater in size will be produced annually. Read More  
Holiday Light Spectacular Returns to Jones Beach


The Holiday Lights Spectacular presented by the NYCB Family of Banks will return to the West End of Jones Beach in November, bringing back a Long Island holiday tradition last held in the park in 2007. Partnering with entertainment giant Live Nation, the Holiday Lights Spectacular is a 2.5-mile drive offering visitors the opportunity to view more than 150 animated and synchronized light displays that will create a colorful and marvelous holiday experience.

The Holiday Lights Spectacular will begin on Thursday, November 20 and run through Sunday, January 4. Visitors can enjoy the display each day from dusk until 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 11:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Read More

Conservation deal enhances trail connections in Hudson Highlands
New York State has reached an agreement to acquire a conservation easement for the nearly 4,000-acre Black Rock Forest, which will enhance trail connections between Storm King and Schunnemunk State Parks. The agreement will give hikers uninterrupted access to nearly 60 miles of trails and 8,600 acres of protected open space in Orange County.

Schunnemunk State Park features the highest views in Orange County and 25 miles of trails, while Storm King offers nearly 10 miles of trails and unsurpassed views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley. Black Rock Forest, featuring nearly 25 miles of trails, features sweeping vistas of dramatic ridges, forest-ponds and reservoirs. Read more

Meet the Locals: Great Horned Owl

This large powerful raptor is one of the most widespread and common owls in North America. Highly adaptable, this tenacious hunter will take a variety of prey: small mammals to rabbits, geese, herons, amphibians and reptiles, even other raptorial birds as well as porcupines and skunks. The velvety texture of the wing feathers of most owls help muffle their wing beats, allowing owls to silently swoop down on their prey unnoticed. Like most owls- they may be heard but not seen. Listen to their deep resonating "hoo-h'HOO--hoo-hoo" call: Audio clip. 

Bear Mountain State Park

Construction photo of the Bear Mountain Inn, 1915. This building is listed on both the national and state registers of historic places. Renovated in 2011, the Bear Mountain Inn & Conference Center is open year-round and offers event space, dining and lodging options for park visitors.
Bear Mountain Inn


Behind the Scenery with Michael Cali 

New York State Park Police Officer

How long have you been with the agency? Since 2003.

What does someone in your position do?
I enforce state vehicle and traffic law, penal law and criminal procedure law as well as marine and recreation law. I also assist park patrons, maintain a presence in our parks and aid other agencies when needed. As of October, my new K-9 partner, Teo - a two-year old German Shepherd - and I are a NYS certified explosives detection team, doing sweeps at Niagara Falls State Park and other locations. We are available on a 24/7 basis for whatever may arise.

What's the coolest thing you've ever done? While training for swift water rescue at Niagara Falls I was able to enter the highly restricted area beneath the American Falls and get a view of the Falls that very few people have ever had. It was truly an awe-inspiring experience.

Is there a destination you'd recommend to someone? It would have to be Niagara Falls. I try not to take for granted working in such an incredible place that's such a popular destination visited by millions each year.

What inspired you to work in the park system? I always had an interest in law enforcement and the outdoors. The Park Police afforded me the opportunity to combine both.
Karista Spring Re-Opens in Saratoga Spa State Park 


Naturally carbonated mineral springs have attracted visitors to Saratoga Springs for generations.

Now the Karista Spring, a long dormant iron-infused mineral spring in the historic Vale of Springs area of the park, is flowing once again in a fountain covered by a new pavilion near the Geyser Creek.  The project to reopen the spring, construct the replica pavilion and add interpretive signage, was completed through a public-private partnership involving the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park, generous contributions from The Adirondack Trust Company and Allerdice Building Supply, and the State Park's staff. 

The project is a continuation of the work begun in 2012 to revitalize the mineral springs in celebration of the historic park's centennial.  The Regional State Park Commission raised funds to restore the Hayes Spring and rehabilitate the pavilions and pathways along the Geyser Creek. The Friends are currently advancing a project to restore the Ferndell Trail and to replace an historic fountain for the State Seal spring. View the park map, which includes its 12 mineral springs. 

Volunteer Spotlight: 
Una Corns from Poughkeepsie, NY

How long have you been volunteering at this location and how did you get involved?

I've been volunteering for 15 years. I actually became aware of the site over 30 years ago when I was involved in an event - Celtic Day in the Park - which became an annual event for over 25 years. Meetings were held at Staatsburgh and I became interested in the house, so when I retired I became a volunteer.

Describe a recent project, program or initiative that you participated in for the site:

I have volunteered as a docent and have been transcribing newspaper items from the early 1920's from handwritten notes recently which is very interesting.

What is your favorite thing to do at Staatsburgh?

I enjoy being a first-person interpreter and really like interacting with the children for the  Holiday Whodunit in December.

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

I think that if local people would take a tour of the house they would become interested and be willing to help out.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? I've enjoyed working with the staff over the years.

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New York State Office of Parks,
Recreation & Historic Preservation 
(518) 486-1868

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