News from State Parks, February 2019

News from State Parks

February 2019, Issue 51

Photo Contest Winner, Jerome Davis

Great Outdoors Photo Contest Winners Announced 

State Parks and the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) offered congratulations to the winners of the online photo contest highlighting the best of New York’s great outdoors.  More than 5,200 photos were submitted and nearly 18,000 votes cast in the competition that captured the best of the state’s parks, forests, trails, campgrounds, and other favorite destinations.  Finalists were determined by a process including top vote-getters through social media and a selection committee. Winning photos.  

Photo Above: Grand Prize Winner - Jerome Davis of Penfield, NY. Sampson State Park

Welcome Erik Kulleseid

State Parks Welcomes New Leader

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo named Erik Kulleseid Acting Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in January 2019. Mr. Kulleseid has worked for or on behalf of parks for decades, beginning with his first formal job as a lifeguard at Harriman State Park's Lake Welch. Most recently, Mr. Kulleseid served as Senior Vice President, Parks and Policy Program for the Open Space Institute. He founded the Parks Program (originally the Alliance for New York State Parks) at OSI and previously served as Deputy Commissioner for Open Space Protection at State Parks from 2007 to 2010. Acting Commissioner Kulleseid succeeds Rose Harvey, who led the agency the previous eight years. Learn more. 

Moreau Lake State Park

Record Crowds Enjoy First Day Hikes!

80 New Year’s Day hikes welcomed 7,500+ hikers across New York 

The 8th annual First Day Hike program was held January 1 with guided hikes offered at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, nature centers and trails across the Empire State. Together, State Parks and DEC hosted 80 hikes and 7,548 people to help celebrate the New Year in the outdoors, breaking the previous record by more than 3,500 hikers!

Hikes held included a seal walk, walking history tour, snowshoe waterfall hike, and more. New host sites for 2019 included hikes along Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain, the western edge of the Tug Hill Plateau, and recently-added trails at Overlook Mountain in Woodstock.  Interested? Save the date for January 1, 2020! 

Connect Kids, Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park

Governor's Budget Proposal Continues State Park Revitalization

Governor Cuomo's 2019-20 Executive Budget holds great news for State Parks. The plan continues his NY Parks 2020 initiative to revitalize State Parks with a $110 million commitment to capital improvements, including $20 million to establish the new Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn. The plan also maintains the Environmental Protection Fund at historic levels, which includes funding for the Connect Kids to Parks school field trip program and the Park & Trail Partnership Program supporting the good work of our friends groups. 

Horse Island

New York State Parks Protects War of 1812 Battlefield Site

State Parks acquired a historically significant site of a War of 1812 battle between British and American forces. The 24-acre property on Horse Island will become part of Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site in Jefferson County. The site is crucial to telling the full story of the May 29, 1813 Battle of Sackets Harbor, which began with an early-morning amphibious assault against American forces encamped at Horse Island. New York State Parks partnered with the American Battlefield Trust to purchase the property. 
Learn more.


We're Hiring! 

Are you a strong swimmer, love to be outdoors and looking for a summer job? Plan now and join the State Parks Lifeguard team. Dates to qualify have started! Find a location near you. 

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Gift Keeps Scenic Landscape Open to Rockefeller State Park Preserve Visitors

New York State Parks is grateful to the late David Rockefeller's estate for a 346-acre donation to Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Westchester County. David Rockefeller allowed visitors to the Preserve to enjoy the many historic carriage roads through his adjacent Hudson Pines Farm. The donation keeps these recreational pathways open to the public and ensures the scenic landscape stays intact. The gift builds on the Rockefeller family’s support for its now 1771-acre namesake park, which the family created in 1983. In addition, the adjacent Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture received 93 acres from the estate. Stone Barns has agreed to convey a conservation easement to State Parks, which will place the 93 acres in protected status. The Preserve and Stone Barns intend to cooperatively manage the fields to favor native species and to use rotational livestock grazing to enhance grassland and soil health, carbon sequestration, and water retention. Learn more.

Mary McQueen, Ski Patrol at Allegany State Park

Behind the Scenery with Mary MacQueen, Ski Patrol at Allegany State Park (and recent honoree by the National Ski Patrol for outstanding service)

How long have you been working with the agency? I co-founded the Allegany State Park Nordic Ski Patrol through the National Ski Patrol in December of 2002 along with my husband Joseph MacQueen, after seeing a need for readily accessible emergency response resources on the Park’s remote cross-country trail system. I have remained active as a member, and served as Patrol Director for many years since the patrol’s inception.

What does someone in your position do? As Patrol Director I coordinate the scheduling of ski Patrollers to provide first aid coverage, search and rescue, and generalized assistance and public relations to the skiing public.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen or done? The hours I spent on the park trail systems preparing for my National Ski Patrol Nordic Master certification were probably the most memorable. Armed with a full backpack, and breaking trail through 16” of fresh snow with a 70lb. Golden Retriever trying to mooch a ride on the backs of my skis, is an image my mind (and muscles) may not soon forget!

Is there a destination in the park you’d recommend to someone? I absolutely love hiking the North Country Trail between Baystate Road and the Quaker Area. The scenery is breathtaking and the shelters are very welcoming.

What inspired you to work/volunteer in the park system?  I grew up in Salamanca and spent many summers hiking up the hills into the park. Winters found me spending many hours on the Art Roscoe Cross-Country trails, so volunteering to be a Ski Patroller in such a lovely environment was a no-brainer!

Snowmobile Safety Courses

Keep Your Winter Adventures Safe 

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or new to the sport, state parks encourages everyone to take a snowmobile safety course. Topics covered include a pre-ride checklist, trail etiquette, operation in various weather conditions and how to handle emergencies. Learn more.