August Newsletter

header niagara falls

August 2017   |  Issue 39 

robert treman

Extended Swimming at State Parks

Popular swim locations across the state park system will stay open longer this year so that New Yorkers and visitors alike may enjoy an extended summer season. More than a dozen of the most sought after swimming spots across the state will remain open until Sunday September 17, a full two weeks beyond when they are originally set to close for the season. Find a location.


Elegant Dining Hall, New Games Area Latest Jones Beach Improvements

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently visited Jones Beach State Park to see the latest round of improvements that are transforming and reinvigorating the public space as part of a $65 million overall revitalization initiative. The tour featured a visit to the  historic Marine Dining Room, now operated as The Landing, which offers daily lunch, dinner service, and brunch on weekends and will host events such as weddings and birthday parties.  Other improvements include a new East Games Area, featuring shuffleboard courts, concrete table tennis, and bocce courts. Visitors are also greeted by new "Welcome to Jones Beach" monuments that honor the grand design of the park. Read more.


Saratoga Spa Pool Project To Improve Bathhouse and Create More Green Space

Construction has begun on a new $2.9 million project to replace the outdated Peerless Pool Bathhouse complex at Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga County. The project, which is expected to be completed in time for swimming season in summer 2018, will create more green space near the pool complex and provide updated and improved facilities for pool visitors. Replacing the deteriorating 1962 bathhouse will provide the pool’s 30,000 annual visitors with expanded changing areas and bathrooms, including family bathrooms; new entrance plaza and courtyard with new benches, bike racks, lighting and landscaping; and a large shade canopy and three covered shelters available for public rental. The project is funded by NY Parks 2020 initiative to rejuvenate the state park system. Read More

family biking IS

Learn More About the Empire State Trail

Governor Cuomo is launching the Empire State Trail, which when completed in 2020 will create a 750-mile trail bike and walking pathway from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo. A Draft Plan is now available, providing an overview of the Empire State Trail, including maps identifying the proposed route for the entire 750-mile trail. Over the next several months, New York State will work with elected and local officials, transportation experts, and bicycling and trails organizations to finalize the exact trail route, with a particular focus on on-road sections where there are multiple options for passing through cities, villages, and rural roads. Learn More  


Enjoy Labor Day Weekend at NY State Parks

With the school year about to begin, take advantage of the long weekend by exploring some of the amazing opportunities that State Parks has to offer this Labor Day weekend.

Participate in a First Saturday Hike on September 2nd at Two Rivers State Park Recreation Area. Meet at the parking lot on Banzhoof Road and join the group in exploring the red and yellow trails of the park to the upper reservoir. Total mileage will be 3.8 miles but routes are subject to change depending upon weather. Call 607-387-7041 ext 131 for more information.

For something more challenging, Caumsett State Park will be offering a Cliff Hike (Adult Program) on September 3rd. The 6-mile, very hilly trail will be done at a moderate pace and it is recommended to bring plenty of drinking water.

Interested in birding? Explore wildlife at Evangola State Park with Bald Eagle Hikes on September 2nd and 4th. Meet at the Nature Center to join a park naturalist for a hike along the rim trail in search for some bald eagles!

Celebrate with the family at Letchworth State Park on September 3rd, as the park hosts its annual Summer Farewell Festival. Live music and activities for all ages will be on display beginning at 3pm and conclude with a firework display that evening.

Show your creative side by taking part in the Labor Day Sand Sculpture Contest on September 4th at Grafton Lakes State Park. Prizes will be awarded to all participants and extra rewards will be presented for best in their category: family, teens and adult groups.

For more information about any of the programs mentioned above or for additional events taking place this weekend, visit our calendar of events.

Verona Splash Pad

Splash Pad Offers New Spot for Verona Beach Visitors to Cool Off 

Verona Beach State Park in Oneida County opened a new splash pad to provide a safe option for young beachfront visitors to cool off during summer months. The new 2,000-sq.ft splash pad features 17 interactive spray fountains and a natural plant and beach theme. The in season splash pad will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting. The improvements are supported by an investment from the NY Parks 2020 program, and complements a new beach bathhouse, pavilions and playgrounds that recently opened at the park. Read More

Sam Aldrich

Alexander “Sam” Aldrich

New York State Parks mourns the passing of Alexander “Sam” Aldrich, who served as the commissioner of New York State Office of Parks and Recreation from 1971 to 1974. Aldrich was the agency’s second commissioner, serving at a crucial time soon after State Parks became an autonomous agency within state government. Under his leadership, State Parks first took on its historic preservation role – taking over jurisdiction of the state’s historic sites, which were previously operated by the State Education Department. Earlier, he had been president of Olana Preservation Inc., which helped bring Frederic Church’s majestic Hudson River estate into the public domain in 1966. 

As commissioner, Aldrich was known for travelling the state’s waterways on a Maine lobster boat, and had an affection for islands. He helped make several island destinations part of the park system, including Peebles Island State Park, Pollepel Island, (home of Bannerman Castle), and Roosevelt Island, where he helped pave the way for Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park. The first state park in New York City, Roberto Clemente State Park, opened during his tenure.

Photo Credit: Beth Schneck Photography,

meg janis

Behind the Scenery – Meg Janis, Niagara
Natural Resource Steward - Biologist

How long have you been with the agency? I started with Parks in 2004 at Letchworth for a summer job testing drinking water quality and have been in my current biologist position for 9 years working in Western New York.

What does someone in your position do?  
Working with natural resources, my projects are always diverse.  I am always working with various folks from our agency, outside groups, and volunteers to protect, enhance and restore the sensitive species and habitats in our parks. From organizing invasive species removals with field crews and volunteers, to surveying forest vegetation for deer browse pressure, to shoreline restoration along the Niagara River, there is plenty to do!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen or done?Flying in a helicopter with DEC and State Police for a deer survey; it allowed me a birds-eye view of the park and the deer population, and also a quick look from above into eagles’ nests.  Wish I could do it again!

Is there a destination in the region you’d recommend to someone? Allegany State Park’s old growth hemlock forest; it is a great escape into the cool, shady quiet under the towering trees; a great place to relax and soak in the beauty of creation.

What inspired you to work in the park system?Growing up working outside daily on our family farm, I always knew I wanted to work outdoors, and after graduating with my degree in biology, Parks seemed like a good fit, allowing me to be outside and share my passion for natural resource stewardship.