I Love My Park Day: Saturday, May 2nd
Don't miss this chance to show your favorite park some TLC

at the fourth annual I Love My Park Day. We have cleanup, improvement, and beautification projects scheduled at 95 Parks & Historic Sites across the state. Join us! www.ptny.org


Letchworth Wins Best State Park in the U.S

The results are in! After four weeks of voting, Letchworth State Park emerged the winner of the 2015 USA TODAY Readers' Choice Award for Best State Park! Watkins Glen State Park also won a spot in the top three, finishing third.


Letchworth State Park, known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," welcomes 650,000 visitors each year to explore 66 miles of hiking trails available for horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing. Watkins Glen State Park, the most visited state park in New York's Finger Lakes region, treats its visitors to 19 waterfalls along the course of its Gorge Trail.

Letchworth and Watkins Glen were chosen for the contest by a panel of American travel experts who selected the 20 nominees from more than 6,000 state parks across the country. New York was one of only three states with more than one park nominated. If you haven't yet experienced one or both of these parks, take advantage of the warmer weather to get out there and explore!


Governor Cuomo Announces NY Parks 2020 Plan to Modernize State Park System

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently unveiled his seven-point NY Parks 2020 Plan that will leverage approximately $900 million in public and private funding to modernize the State park system. The plan is part of a multi-year commitment to restore facilities, enhance visitor experiences, and create better access for tourists at parks across the State. This year's state budget will launch 88 revitalization projects in 60 state parks. Read about the park improvement projects here.


Catching Some Rays on the Long Island Coast


During Earth Week, New York State announced that a $1.7 million, 500-kilowatt solar-power system will be installed at Robert Moses State Park, which will make this coastal park the first energy neutral state park in the nation --that means all of the electricity needs for the park's offices, concession stands, lifeguard stations, bathrooms, lighting and more. Nearly 1,800 solar panels will be installed at the rear of parking lots by trained State Parks staff members. The major solar project reflects New York's commitment to expanding the use of clean and green energy in our parks. Read More


David Rockefeller Donates $4 Million to Rockefeller State Park Preserve 

State Parks is tremendously grateful for a 
$4 million donation from David Rockefeller to establish an operating endowment supporting the Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County. This donation is one of the largest-ever private donations in the history of the state park system and builds on the Rockefeller family's longstanding support for its namesake park. Mr. Rockefeller also plans to donate approximately 500 additional acres of pastures, hay fields and forest to the Preserve in the future, adding to the more than 1,400 acres of parkland the Rockefeller family has donated since the park's inception in 1983. 

In making the donation, David Rockefeller said, "My family has been deeply engaged in the creation of parks throughout this country for more than a century. Our beautiful state park system is an important asset that distinguishes the greatness of New York State and we are proud to have played a role in its development. It is my hope that this contribution will make Rockefeller State Park Preserve more accessible and enjoyable for everyone." 


The endowment will be used to support innovative environmental programming, capital improvement projects and stewardship initiatives at the Preserve. It will also help maintain the park's signature historic carriage roads and stone arch bridges that allow visitors to experience the natural wonders of the area. Read more.

April 2015 Volunteer Spotlight: AmeriCorps!

For the third year, volunteers from AmeriCorps programs across New York State will join forces with New York State Parks and Parks & Trails New York for the 2015 I Love My Park Day, assisting organizers with project planning and coordination, and to help connect local community volunteers with events in their area.  AmeriCorps is a program overseen by the New York State Commission on National and Community Service (NYS CNCS), a strong I Love My Park Day partner.

AmeriCorps is often referred to as the domestic Peace Corps, providing citizens the opportunity to engage in full or part-time service to their community.  Since 1994, more than 72,000 AmeriCorps members in New York have completed more than 110 million hours of service. NYS CNCS, a Governor-appointed commission, uses the power of AmeriCorps to address some of the State's most challenging issues, and encourages citizens to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. The State's AmeriCorps members have changed the lives of New Yorkers by improving schools, fighting poverty, coming to the aid of the sick, preserving the environment, and supporting veterans and military families.


For I Love My Park Day, upwards of 40 AmeriCorps programs will deploy members to assist with planning, volunteer engagements and day-of activities.  


Find Your Fit at New York State Parks! 

Whether running along a wooded trail, swimming in a mountain lake, hiking to a scenic point, or participating in a park-sponsored athletic event, New York State Parks provide countless opportunities for exercise and fun outdoor recreation. Starting with this edition, we'll regularly feature an activity, a location, trail or event that will inspire you to stay healthy and get fit at your favorite state park. To get started, check out our 

#GetFitNYS events and search our for a complete listing of upcoming recreational activities.  Bookmark the page for regular updates all spring and summer long!


Governor Cuomo recently announced a statewide campaign to fight obesity.  Staying active is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight, and New York State Parks are the perfect locations for people of all ages and fitness levels get outside and exercise, surrounded by the natural beauty our parks have to offer and the support of our staff and fellow visitors. For more information on ways to stay fit visit health.ny.gov and follow the #GetFitNYS campaign on social media.  


State Parks Welcomes New Park Police Officers


State Parks congratulates 35 park police officers who recently graduated from the New York State park police training academy. 

The new officers are already keeping 62 million annual park visitors
safe and protecting the natural and historic treasures of the park system.  
Read More.

Student Conservation Association in New York State Parks

Whether it's constructing new trails at Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site or surveying invasive species at Mine Kill State Park, Student Conservation Association (SCA) members tackle large scale project initiatives from trail improvement and community outreach, to historic preservation throughout the state. By continuously engaging youth through hands-on conservation efforts, the SCA has become a vital part of New York State Parks.

In 2014, State Parks increased the number of members they hosted from four to 17 and are looking to further expand the program in the coming years. Last year alone, the Hudson Valley Corps devoted more than 67,450 hours of service to the communities and natural areas of the Hudson Valley.

This year, SCA will participate in I Love My Park Day at various New York State Parks throughout the Hudson Valley. To see where you can help out on May 2nd, see the full event schedule hereInterested in joining the SCA? Visit: thesca.org/serve Email: hudsonvalley@thesca.org
or call 845-255-4758 for details. 


For the Birds....

For the Butterflies....

Did you know that New York is one of the top bird-watching destinations in the northeast with more than 450 species?  Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or just beginning to explore the world of birds, let I Love NY's new birding page be your guide to excellent birding opportunities, including nearly 25 Bird Conservation Areas (BCAs) found in state parks and historic sites.  The site also offers links to birding events, maps, guides, and other valuable resources, so grab your binoculars and get outdoors!   


Saratoga Spa State Park recently enlisted the help of local students to complete the restoration of habitat for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly in the park. Local students from the Waldorf School spent Earth Day by helping spread the seeds of native plants as one of the last steps in restoring 1.5 acres of habitat at the Saratoga Springs park. Waldorf School students helped park naturalists plant native species, mostly wildflowers, that will provide the butterflies with nectar, shelter, and good places to lay their eggs. In doing so, these students helped the park foster future generations of the Karner blue, for the preservation of biodiversity for future generations of New Yorkers. Read More


ehind the Scenery: Pam Sinko, Graphic Artist

How long have you been with the agency?
I started in 1988, I've been with the agency for 27 years.

What does someone in your position do?
I create and design visually-pleasing artwork for our website, exhibits, displays, and park signage. I also design many of the publications that you see in our parks and that we use for our boating and snowmobile safety courses. I work closely with most of our units and regions to create whatever they need to promote their programs for the general public.

What's the coolest thing you've ever seen?
I think Watkins Glen is the coolest park I've seen. It just looks so lush and shady and the rock formations are really great. What better place to be on a hot, sunny summer day? There's just so much to see at Watkins Glen.

What's the coolest thing you've ever done?
I think the coolest thing was designing our current website. It was something new for me since most of my work, up until then, was for publications and other print work. There's nothing better than seeing the end product of something you've designed being used by the public.

Is there a destination you'd recommend to someone?
I have always loved Olana. I think it's the artist in me that is really drawn to the beautiful interiors and the breathtaking views there. The paintings on display by Frederic Church are definitely worth a trip.

What inspired you to work in the park system?
After working for a few years in the advertising agency business, the opportunity to be a graphic designer came along at NYS Parks. I thought Parks would be a great place to work with all the great parks and sites to promote. I've never run out of great place to showcase. It's a great environment to work in.

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