News from State Parks, April 2019

April 2019, Issue 52

I Love My Park Day

I Love My Park Day, Saturday, May 4

Registration is open! More than 140 state parks and historic sites are participating in the eighth annual Parks & Trails NY and New York State Parks' I Love My Park Day on Saturday, May 4. Join your friends, family and neighbors and sign up today to volunteer at your favorite state park or site. From beach clean-ups to trail restoration and tree and flower plantings, hundreds of events are planned to spruce up our parks and get them ready for the summer season.

Make a difference at the parks you love, and register today to volunteer!

Letchworth State Park

Historic 74 Million Visits to State Parks in 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced New York's system of state parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails welcomed more than 74 million visitors in 2018. This milestone marks seven years of steady visitor growth and represents an overall increase of 28 percent, or 16.2 million visitors since the Governor took office in 2011.

New York State Parks saw 2018 visitation increase 4 percent from 71.5 million  in 2017 to 74.1 million. Continued improvements made through the Governor’s NY Parks 2020 Plan promoted healthy outdoor recreation and encouraged families and visitors to explore State Parks. New York State Parks also had nearly 212,000 camping reservations in 2018, up 1 percent from 2017. Parks also attracted new visitors with the convenience of a family-sharing Empire Pass Card option. State Parks sold more than 102,000 Empire Passes in 2018, the most annual sales on record, and a 31 percent increase from 2017. Learn more

Ganondagan State Historic Site

Strengthening our Partnerships

Governor Cuomo recently announced that 22 “Friends Groups” will share $450,000 in state grants to advance their work sustaining and promoting New York State parks and historic sites. The innovative grant program will help leverage over $150,000 in private fundraising as well as the volunteer services Friends Groups already provide. The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are administered by State Parks and Parks & Trails New York, a statewide non-profit group. Learn more


Camp Junior Youth Summer Camp Will Honor Memory of Victim of Gang Violence

Construction has begun on Camp Junior, a summer camp at Harriman State Park for youth from targeted neighborhoods in the Bronx. New York State Parks is establishing the camp in partnership with The Fresh Air Fund and Bronx leaders to honor 15-year-old Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz, a victim of Bronx gang violence in June 2018. State Parks will invest $2 million over two years in Camp Junior, rehabilitating a deteriorated youth camp at the 47,500-acre wilderness park only 30 minutes from the Bronx. The camp will be housed at the park's historic Top of the Pines location on Lake Tiorati, with a goal to serve 500 children in summer 2019 and up to 1,000 children each summer thereafter. The camp will offer an outdoor skills experience to boys and girls ages 9-13 from targeted neighborhoods in the Bronx. Learn more

Sojourner Truth statue

Statute Honoring Abolitionist and Suffragette Sojourner Truth Coming to at Walkway Over the Hudson State Park

In recognition of Women’s History Month, New York State announced a monument commemorating famed abolitionist and suffragette Sojourner Truth will be located at the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park along the Empire State Trail in Ulster County next year. Yonkers Sculptor and artist Vinnie Bagwell's proposed design for a 7-foot bronze statue of Sojourner Truth will help more fully include and represent women and people of all races and creeds who have contributed to the history of New York State.

In November 2017, Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced the construction of a monument honoring Sojourner Truth to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York State. Truth was born into slavery in Ulster County circa 1797, sold three times, and ultimately escaped to freedom in 1826. She went on to become a noted abolitionist and women's rights advocate until her death in 1883. Artist Vinnie Bagwell's design intends to capture Sojourner Truth's warmth, compassion, humility and beauty. Learn more

We're Hiring 

If you are a strong swimmer and looking for summer employment-- join our team. We're hiring over 1,000 lifeguards for our beaches, lakes and pools.  Dates to qualify have started! Find a location near you. 

Behind the Scenery

Behind the Scenery 

With Empire State Public Service Award recipients

Susan Carver – Environmental Education, Albany

Tina Spencer – Environmental Educator, Niagara Region 

Jim Brophy – Park Manager, Buttermilk Falls and Robert Treman State Parks

New York State Parks congratulates three of our colleagues for each winning an Empire Star Public Service Award. These awards – the highest honor NYS employees can achieve – recognize exceptional state government employees from across the state. They are among only 50 employees from across the state to receive the honor. Empire Star recipients “distinguished themselves from their peers through meaningful contributions to State government, demonstrating their dedication to serve New Yorkers with the highest level of performance, integrity and pride.”

Empire Star recipients were first nominated by an Executive Branch staff member. After being notified of their nominations, individuals submitted  Empire Star Public Service applications. 

Following nominations by colleagues, a panel of New York State agency commissioners reviewed the Empire Star Public Service applications and selected the 50 awardees.

Empire Star recipients receive a $5,000 professional development scholarship that can be used for on-line or in person classes, conference fees and travel, and training materials or equipment to support the recipient’s public employment. Learn more