Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

NHT Current Projects & Partnerships

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Welcoming Our New Board Chair

We are pleased to welcome Erik Kulleseid as Acting Board Chair of the Natural Heritage Trust! In January 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Erik Kulleseid as the Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).

Acting Commissioner Kulleseid was formerly a Senior Vice President of the Open Space Institute (OSI) and has held multiple leadership roles with OSI and the Alliance for New York State Parks. He had previously worked with OPRHP, serving as Deputy Commissioner for Open Space Protection from 2007 to 2010, and before that was the New York State Program Director for The Trust for Public Land.

We are excited to add his expertise, experience and fresh perspective as Acting Chair of our Board. Read more here!

Learn to Swim's Seventh Season

This summer will begin the seventh season of Learn to Swim programming. Offering free swim lessons and free transportation to New York State Parks, this program largely benefits low-income urban and rural populations statewide where swimming options and instruction are limited.

Last year's summer programs varied from intermediate-to-advanced swim lessons to pre-school and parent-child programs at 27 locations throughout the state. 2018 also marked the first time that adult swim lessons were offered in select locations!

In the past six years, this program has helped over 6,200 children learn to swim. Support from the American Red Cross, the National Swimming Pool Foundation and the Northeast Spa and Pool Association Foundation has been instrumental to the program's success, enabling us to expand Learn to Swim as a component of the free recreation programs offered to children and families at New York parks and sites. Governor Andrew Cuomo has also made Learn to Swim a signature program of his commitment to serving more youth at state parks. Explore the 2019 Learn to Swim schedule here!

Transforming History into New Memories

Midway State Park, one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the country, recently launched a fundraising campaign to support the purchase and rehabilitation of historic rides.

The park purchased a Ferris Wheel and a Twister, two period pieces that represent park attractions throughout its history. Both rides require rehabilitation and additional infrastructure before being enjoyed by the public, so funds raised in this campaign will support these necessary costs. Midway hopes to use any remaining funds to purchase either rides that were historically present at the park or pieces missing from their current historic collections.

The NHT is delighted to partner with the Friends of Midway State Park and the Lenna Foundation on this exciting project. Learn more about the campaign here!

Energy and Nature Center at Jones Beach State Park

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will construct a new $25 million year-round facility in a public-private partnership with PSEG Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority, New York Power Authority and the Natural Heritage Trust. This facility will feature exhibits and programming that encourage visitors of all ages to become engaged stewards of the environment and smart energy advocates. OPRHP has also designated the west end of Jones Beach as a Park Preservation Area to enhance protection of its significant coastal habitat.

This project continues the State's revitalization of historic Jones Beach State Park, which is part of Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 plan, a multi-year commitment of $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020.

The Natural Heritage Trust is excited to be part of the fundraising effort for this project at one of the state's most visited and iconic parks. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project!