Renderings of 5,000 Square Foot Center Available Here Project Complements Governor's $900 Million NY Parks 2020 Initiative
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction has begun on a $3.2 million Grafton Lakes State Park Center, which will provide a new year-round public gathering space for enhanced educational, recreational and volunteer programming in the heart of the park.
"From beautiful ponds to miles of trails, Grafton Lakes is a jewel of the state park system, and this new center will offer more ways for visitors to enjoy this great park," Governor Cuomo said. "This administration has made record investments to rebuild and modernize our park infrastructure, and I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to see what our parks have to offer all year-round."
In addition to housing the park’s offices and an info center, the 5,000-square-foot Grafton Lakes State Park Center will provide comfortable space to host year-round educational, recreational and volunteer activities. The facility will be situated at the north end of the Long Pond Beach parking lot to be convenient to the heart of activity in the park. Construction is expected to be completed next year. Renderings of the center are available here. Features include:
- Activity space to expand and enhance the park’s environmental education programs, which already serve about 7,000 children and families annually;
- Exhibit area to highlight the ecology of the park and the Rensselaer Plateau;
- Outdoor patio with terraced seating and fire pit as well as an indoor wood-burning hearth;
- Information desk to help visitors explore the park’s expansive trail network and other features;
- Sustainable design, including a photovoltaic system, geothermal heating and cooling, LED and natural lighting, low-flow plumbing features and storm-water controls;
- Centrally located park offices and public restrooms.
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, "Grafton Lakes State Park is a great place for Capital Region families to gain a first-hand connection to nature, and this new facility will help inspire and teach the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards. It’s another example of how Governor Cuomo’s revitalization of the park system is connecting new generations of visitors and tourists to these incredible places."
Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino said, "From hiking, boating, and swimming in the summer months, hunting in the fall and winter and fishing all year long, in addition to the year round education programming, Grafton Lakes State Park provides tremendous opportunities to residents and visitors alike. I want to thank the Governor and NYS Parks for their investment into this local treasure that will help provide an even greater experience to all those visiting."
Dorothy Surprise, President of Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park, said, "The Friends of Grafton are very excited about the new Welcome Center. The opportunity to provide additional activities for patrons at the center will help foster our mission of attracting participants and engaging the public and community in our organization."
Grafton Lakes State Park
Grafton Lakes State Park, visited by 250,000 people annually, sits on the forested plateau between the Taconic Mountains and the Hudson Valley. The 2,500-acre park boasts six scenic ponds, including Long Pond, where the large, sandy beach is a popular summer swimming destination. Visitors also picnic, walk the nature trails, hike, bike or ride horses along the 25 miles of park trails, and canoe, kayak, and fish in the ponds. In winter, the trails are groomed for snowmobilers, and visitors may also snowshoe, cross-country ski, ice skate or go ice fishing.
NY Parks 2020
Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor's NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The Governor's 2016-17 Executive Budget allocates $90 million toward this initiative.
The park improvements reflect Governor Cuomo’s Connect Kids to Parks program to draw more youth to the outdoors, which includes free day-use park entry to fourth-grade students and their families and a new transportation grant program to help schoolchildren visit state parks.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 65 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com.