May 24, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $1.8 Million in Grants Awarded to State Parks, Trails, Historic Sites and Public Lands Partner Organizations

Governor Hochul Announces $1.8 Million in Grants Awarded to State Parks, Trails, Historic Sites and Public Lands Partner Organizations

Highest Private and Public Funding Allocation to Support 28 Projects Across New York in the Program's History

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $1.8 million in grants to support 28 not-for-profit organizations involved with stewardship of state parks, trails, historic sites and public lands, the highest amount awarded in the Park and Trail Partnership Grants program history. The grants support partner group efforts to raise private funds for capital projects, engage in maintenance and beautification projects, provide educational programming, and host special events that promote public use of the parks.

"We are proud to support the work of the incredible grassroots partner organizations that elevates the stewardship and programming of our state parks, historic sites, trails and public lands," Governor Hochul said. "With the largest investment in the Park and Trail Partnership Grants program history, New York State is sending a message that we are deeply committed to protecting and funding our public lands as we continue to embark on nation-leading climate resiliency initiatives."

The Park and Trail Partnership Grants program is funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund. Grants are administered in partnership with the not-for-profit advocacy group Parks & Trails New York. This eighth round of awards will be matched by over $625,000 in private funds. Recipients must raise outside funding of at least 10 percent of the grant amount received.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "State Parks is so fortunate to have incredible partners in Governor Hochul, Parks & Trails New York, and the countless friends groups and volunteers who help ensure the success of our offerings to the public. I look forward to seeing how this historic investment of $1.8 million will help more New Yorkers access and connect with our phenomenal natural and historic resources."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The natural beauty and character of New York's lands draws millions of visitors each year and the support of our stewardship partners is critical to the ongoing needs to maintain and preserve these areas, as well as facilities like environmental education centers. Today's significant grant funding acknowledges the critical roles these partners play at DEC and other public resources and we are grateful for Governor Hochul's continued investments to help provide essential services to make the outdoors accessible for visitors to enjoy now and into the future."

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Paul Steely White said, "These grants are like rich organic fertilizer for growing the grassroots movement to improve New York's parks, trails, historic sites, and public lands. Accessible kayak launches, bridge repairs, strategic planning and youth education are just a few examples of the newly funded projects that will bring more nature and more joy to more New Yorkers."

State Senator Jose M. Serrano said, "Our State Parks are a much-needed resource for communities across the state. This resource would not be possible without the steadfast support and stewardship from grassroots organizations and friends groups that maintain the vital upkeep, beautification, and preservation for their continued use. This year's funding announcement will provide 28 not-for-profit organizations with an unprecedented $1.8 million in grants. Many thanks to The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Parks and Trails NY, and Governor Hochul for their work on this issue."

Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell said, "Parks and public land are critical to the quality of life for all New Yorkers. As Chair of the Assembly Committee overseeing State Parks, I am deeply committed to ensuring our parks are thriving and accessible to all. I am thrilled with this historic investment, which will allow wonderful and impactful grassroots organizations to further expand, protect, and promote open spaces for current users and generations to come."

2023 awardees include:

Capital Region

  • Friends of Johnson Hall ($27,585) to develop an app that will enhance the traditional physical tour through the historic house allowing visitors of varied ability and culture to engage in existing interpretation.
  • Friends of U.S. Grant Cottage ($36,000) for the design and engineering of a trail that will provide an accessible pedestrian route to the Eastern Overlook for visitors with physical limitations.
  • Lake George Battlefield Park (Fort George) Alliance ($50,000) for the hiring of a Member Services Manager to promote awareness of the park through marketing, fundraising, and operation of the new visitor center.

Central New York

  • Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum ($146,250) to repair the exterior and interior of the 1990 reproduction Erie Canal-era store to provide year-round use of the newly ADA-compliant programming areas.
  • Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park ($4,000) to hire a consulting firm to evaluate and design replacement options for the heavily used, original to the site, stone staircase that provides essential direct access to locations within the park.

Finger Lakes

  • Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park ($29,118) to enhance inclusive recreational access at the Area 3 beach by installing Mobi Mats and providing floating beach chairs.
  • Friends of Letchworth State Park ($8,000) for plans to upgrade access to three picnic shelters and one comfort station in the park to better serve park visitors with physical limitations.

Long Island

  • Planting Fields Foundation ($108,129) to renovate and install ADA-accessible pathways that will increase accessibility, pedestrian safety, and lead guests to notable sites within the park.
  • Caumsett Foundation, Inc. ($55,500) for a feasibility study that will restore two paths with safety issues, improve native ecological communities, and establish an educational viewing site.
  • Friends of Jones Beach ($10,025) to establish organizational capacity-building initiatives for this newly re-established state park friends group.
  • Atlantic Marine Conservation Society ($26,145) for a "Lunch and Learn" series to train New York State Parks staff, lifeguards, and educators on proper procedures for handling marine life washed ashore.

Mid-Hudson

  • Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance ($150,000) to repair, re-deck, and install safety barriers for the 1912 Warren truss bridge - a gateway to Mills-Norrie State Park and the Hudson River.
  • Friends of Philipse Manor Hall ($48,100) for a marketing/membership campaign and the development of targeted programming to promote visitation to the renovated and updated historic site.
  • Friends of Rockland Lake and Hook Mountain ($100,000) to add two new educational programs that will extend outreach to young people from groups currently underrepresented in these parks.
  • Jay Heritage Center ($150,000) for the construction of ADA pathways in the historic Jay Gardens allowing a greater number of visitors and partners to enjoy the award-winning gardens and social justice programs.
  • Mamakating Environmental Education Center/Friends of MEEC ($51,300) to create more programming at the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area that will help form alliances with other groups and increase outreach to wider audiences.
  • Morgan Duke Conservation Society ($5,789) to organize continuing community clean-up events at the Hudson River Special Management Area and to encourage citizens and college students to become long-term volunteers.
  • Palisades Parks Conservancy ($150,000) to hire a Program Manager who will develop greater community connection and activation, improve marketing and branding, and implement DEIA initiatives in Palisades region state parks.
  • Stony Kill Foundation Inc. ($150,000) to undertake an essential renovation of the barnyard and agricultural learning area which is a center for public programming and youth education at Stony Kill Farm.

New York City

  • Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park ($25,011) for tables and umbrellas that will provide additional seating and shaded comfort to address the park's significant increased visitation.

North Country

  • Friends of Higley Flow State Park ($45,966) to purchase an ADA accessible kayak launch and gangway approach to be installed in collaboration by volunteers and park staff.
  • John Brown Lives! ($150,000) for its first Executive Director position that will help professionalize and stabilize the organization and its continuing impact on behalf of John Brown Farm State Historic Site.

Western New York

  • Artpark & Company, Inc. ($100,000) to hire a Director of Education, Interpretation, and Accessibility who will organize year-round educational and outreach activities, establish new programming, and partner with NYS Parks on environmental education and outreach.
  • Chautauqua County Equestrian Trail System ($68,000) to develop a multi-year strategic plan focusing on marketing, fundraising, and volunteer support to broaden the diversity of trail users and expand and strengthen partnerships.
  • Friends of Knox Farm State Park ($75,000) to renovate the Mansion Summer Estate--a unique wedding and events venue managed by The Friends.
  • Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve ($10,581) to build an enclosure that will protect and establish the native forest as well as to improve public access and education related to forest ecosystems.
  • IMPACT: Friends Improving Allegany County Trails ($7,396) to replace a 30-foot bridge to be built in partnership with Alfred State College and the DEC, and to install two trail counters for data collection on nearby trails.
  • Old Fort Niagara Association ($12,103) to create a rest stop for cyclists on the Niagara Greenway bike trail in Old Fort Niagara State Park.

The Fiscal Year 2024 Budget provides $2 million for the next round of Park and Trail Partnership grant funds, as part of a record $400 million Environmental Protection Fund to support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, improve agricultural resources to promote sustainable agriculture, protect our water sources, advance conservation efforts, and provide recreational opportunities for New Yorkers. In addition, the budget included $200 million for State Parks for capital improvement projects. This substantial level of funding will aid the ongoing transformation of New York's flagship parks and support critical infrastructure projects throughout the park system.

Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide advocate for New York's parks and trails, working with grassroots groups for 35 years to strengthen public-private partnerships and improve New Yorker's health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space. For more information, visit www.ptny.org.

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