December 2018

December 2018, Issue 51

First Day Hikes

Celebrate the New Year Outdoors with a First Day Hike

Start off the New Year exploring the outdoors at one of 80 hikes being held at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the Empire State. The guided hikes are being held as part of the annual First Day Hikes program taking place throughout the nation on January 1, 2019.

Hikes are being offered at 19 Department of Environmental Conservation State lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers, and 52 state parks and historic sites with some facilities offering multiple hikes for different age groups, skill levels and destinations within the park. Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers and partners at many sites, will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions.

If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many host sites will be offering refreshments and giveaways.  First Day Hike Events.

Tower of Victory, Washington's Headquarters

2018 New York State Historic Preservation Awards

The New York State Preservation Awards are given each year to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York's historic and cultural resources. The 2018 winners include four distinctive rehabilitation projects, a local archeology project, a community history project, and a former State Parks official. The awards demonstrate the ways historic preservation is an important tool for community renewal, economic development and job growth in New York. 
Learn more.

Holidays at State Parks

Enjoy the Holidays at a State Park or Historic Site

Celebrate the season at a holiday-themed event taking place at New York State Parks and Historic Sites. Events include a number of hands-on activities, outdoor recreation, historic tours, and holiday celebrations for visitors of all ages. From model train display at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, to the Magic of Lights at Jones Beach State Park, to tours of decorated historic homes of John Jay Homestead and Staatsburg in the Hudson Valley, there’s something for everyone. Holiday events.

Moreau Lake State Park

Moreau Lake State Park Adds New Vistas

A new 131-acre addition to Moreau Lake State Park will help expand year-round trail-based recreation and protect the natural habitat in fast-growing northern Saratoga County.  

The new parcel will expand the park's trail network, provide access to scenic views and protect open space. The new 131-acre parcel encompasses multiple summits, including Palmertown Mountain, and affords dramatic views of the Hudson Valley and southern Adirondack Mountains. The vistas will help add to the park's appeal as a destination for bald eagle watching, when eagles winter along the Hudson River. Connections to existing trails will create new long-distance hiking opportunities, including the planned Palmertown Range trail, which would link the park to Saratoga Springs. 

Moreau Lake State Park was 700 acres when established in 1968. The addition brings the park's total acreage to 6,100, a nearly nine-fold increase in size since the park was opened 50 years ago. Learn more.

Allegany Red House

Allegany State Park Red House Building Gets Facelift

A major historic preservation project is underway at the Red House Administration Building at Allegany State Park in Western New York. This project will preserve the original splendor of the 90-year-old Tudor-style building, including the removal and restoration of 173 historic windows and doors, painting and a new exterior patio. The well-known landmark in Allegany State Park houses the Park Police station, Red House Rental Office, gift shop, restaurant, nature museum, and regional headquarters. The project is expected to continue through June of 2019. Learn more.

Mike Boyle, Park Manager

Behind the Scenery with Mike Boyle, Park Manager, Chenango Valley State Park

How long have you been with the agency? I’ve worked for the agency since 1988, in multiple parks and in three different regions of the state: Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Central New York.

What does someone in your position do? As Park Manager at Chenango Valley State Park I oversee all aspects of park operations (with a lot of help from my fellow co-workers!), including; administration, budgeting, scheduling, hiring, special events, park projects, volunteer groups, Friends Group, golf course operations, concessions, and so on.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen or done? The coolest thing I’ve ever done in parks is probably working with the Taconic Region’s Search and Rescue Team. Some of our trainings included hanging off 100’ cliffs at Breakneck Ridge, to rappelling into a 150’ cave in Fahnestock State Park, to walking inside the Old Croton Aqueduct. Overall though, there’s been something cool at each of the facilities I’ve been.

Is there a destination in the region you’d recommend to someone? I’d highly recommend any of the three golf courses that are in the Central Region. Each one is unique and provides a great outdoor experience. As for Chenango Valley, I’d recommend coming to take part in our Winter Pond Hockey Festival, which is now in its fourth year.

What inspired you to work in the park system? To be honest, I started out as a seasonal employee at Jones Beach while working to earn a degree in Biology. The friendships I made while working there made me rethink my career path so after being offered a permanent position in 1993, I chose to take it. The rest is history. As they say, if you love what you do……you never work a day in your life. I’m a very fortunate person to say I love what I do, and more so “who I do it with.”