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Start a new tradition and kick off 2015 in the outdoors!

On Jan. 1, 2015, nearly 30 First Day Hikes are being offered at state parks and historic sites across New York. Explore New York's newest and first state park in Buffalo, Buffalo Harbor State Park, or choose from seal walks, a celebration of Rockland Lake State Park's 50th anniversary, history-themed hikes, pet-friendly treks, crossing the world's longest elevated pedestrian bridge, and more. If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.  

Many hikes will be offering refreshments, and new this year, State Parks will provide pre-registered participants with free, commemorative fleece caps and First Day Hike stickers. 
Details about hike locations, level of difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at Find one near you!


Blueshirts Visit Riverbank State Park

Members of the New York Rangers pro hockey team helped kick off the winter skating season at the newly renovated ice rink at Riverbank State Park in New York City. The Rangers joined in an evening of skills clinics, youth hockey games, as well as an exhibition hockey game featuring Rangers alumni. The 20-year-old Riverbank State Park ice rink, a rare and much beloved resource in Harlem, recently underwent a $2.6 million renovation funded by Governor Cuomo's NY Works initiative, and is one of the 279 capital improvement projects at 109 parks taking place since 2012. 

Riverbank ice rink reopens with skills clinics led by members of the New York Rangers
Riverbank ice rink reopens with skills clinics led by members of the New York Rangers


Don't let winter keep you inside!  


Outdoor retailer REI can help you explore our parks all year long with a range of outdoor recreation classes and programs offered at New York state parks in the Hudson Valley. Classes like Winter Navigation with Map and Compass at Rockefeller State Park Preserve provides hands on navigation training; and outdoor instructors can help you discover the joys of winter while hiking at Harriman State Park. Those seeking even more adventure can learn the basics of winter camping; including skills like setting up a winter campsite, learning different methods of winter travel, and dressing for success on your winter outings.  When the snow flies, snowshoe and cross country ski classes are also offered. Register to be informed of class schedules and locations. 

Visit REI's website for more information and to register for REI outdoor classes.

A full complement of outdoor recreation programs led by park staff, friends groups and other partners are held at our parks throughout the winter. Visit our calendar of events for the full schedule.

2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards

Seven distinctive historic preservation projects were  recently recognized with 2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards. Established in 1980, the state preservation awards are given by State Parks each year to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York's historic and cultural resources. This year's awards demonstrate the outstanding commitments, hard work and strong partnerships that have made preservation an important tool for community renewal, economic development and job growth in New York State. 

2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards
2014 New York State Historic Preservation Awards


Volunteer Spotlight: You!

It's been our continued honor over the last year to spotlight exemplary volunteers in the New York State park and historic site system. Volunteers like Una Corns who makes history come alive for children visiting Staatsburgh State Historic Site; Karen Valdini who helps run the Community Supported Agriculture Farm at Bayard Cutting Arboretum; Jim and Bonnie Schaller who helped complete several projects at Thacher State Park in commemoration of that park's centennial year; Linda Rabjohn of the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park who organizes the park's annual I Love My Park Day events; Chris Roe who built a new trail at Grafton Lakes State Park; Ed and Judy Fuhr who groom trails for cross country skiing at Higley Flow State Park; and Susan Kyle Anthony who decorates Lorenzo State Historic Site for the holidays to the delight of visitors. Each of these dedicated individuals enriched our parks and historic sites with their unique talents, innovative ideas, and their time and energy. Volunteers and Friends Groups are vital to the State Parks community and they help to enhance and deepen the park experience for our visitors all year long. 

We hope you've been inspired by these stories to give back to your favorite park or site.  For information on volunteer opportunities, check our website; contact the park; or attend a Friends Group meeting.  And, mark your calendars for I Love My Park Day, May 2, 2015 and spend the first Saturday in May with State Parks, Parks & Trails NY and thousands of fellow New Yorkers across the state to help get parks and sites ready for the summer season! 

To all our friends and volunteers, THANK YOU.


New Camper Program Connects 105 Foster Families with the Outdoors

Foster families around New York explored the outdoors this summer as part of the North Face New Camper program in partnership with State Parks and the Office of Children and Family Services. The 105 participating families visited parks in 40 different communities. In its second year, the program provided gift cards toward a two-night stay at a state campground along with helpful tips for first-time campers and those looking to reconnect with nature.

Congratulations to the Bouchard Family of Fairport for winning a fully-equipped camping package as part of the initiative.
Thanks, North Face!  Read more


Free Mobile Trail Maps Available 

Before you head out on the trail, check out our new trail map options! Thanks to a partnership with Avenza Systems Inc., free PDF maps covering 1,500 miles of trails in more than 50 New York state parks and historic sites are now available through a free app for mobile access to state parks' trails and other information.

To access, visit the App store on your mobile device and download the Avenza PDF Maps app. The free maps can be accessed within the app, or by visiting the Maps tab on park and site profiles on Then, download and save to your device for use.

These maps include park facilities such as parking, park offices, nature centers, campsites, and boat launches in addition to the location, name and distance of each designated trail in the park. Interactive features allow users to show their location, drop waypoints/pinpoints on points of interest, attach images and notes, and track routes, distance and elevation - even without an internet connection. Happy exploring!

Behind the Scenery with Barbara Bartlett 
Gene Gisin Photography
Site Supervisor 

How long have you been with the agency?
I was hired by the Historic Sites Bureau in 1988 and became the Lorenzo site manager in 2002.

What does someone in your position do?

I manage the administrative, programmatic and preservation aspects of the facility and work directly with various constituencies of the historic Village of Cazenovia and our incredibly supportive Friends group. My job is to ensure that our activities at Lorenzo are as pertinent and accessible as possible, and that we're recognized as a significant cultural asset.

What's the coolest thing you've ever seen?
I've had the wonderful opportunity to work on a number of restoration initiatives for Lorenzo-including facilitating the custom reproduction of wallpapers, textiles and floor coverings with several venerated fabricators including Scalamandré. I've witnessed artisans at work on spoon dyeing of silks and calendering of fabrics, observed the leap frogging of wallpaper screening, and learned how to take a design and translate it into cards to set a loom.

What's the coolest thing you've ever done?
I am very proud to participate in our agency's very first cultural landscape report, working with the SUNY ESF department of landscape architecture, now retired distinguished teaching professor George Curry and my colleague Chris Capella Peters. Out of this exhaustive study I was able to work with our local PBS station (WCNY) to produce a 15-minute video of our exceptional historic landscape features.

Is there a special area of Lorenzo you'd recommend to someone?

After taking a wonderful tour of our neoclassical Mansion, a walk through our Ellen Shipman garden and Dark Aisle arboretum would fill the senses. And of course, a lesson in our one-room Rippleton Schoolhouse would top off the experience.

What inspired you to work in the park system?

In starting with the Agency, I was able to join the ranks of a number of exceptional professionals working in the field of historic preservation and cultural resource management. The camaraderie and support from these great individuals has been a wonderful gift over the years.


2014: A Year in Review
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New York State Office of Parks,
Recreation & Historic Preservation 
(518) 486-1868

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