Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

April 24, 2015

Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

More Than 800 Trees Planted in Long Island State Parks to Recover from Superstorm Sandy Damage

Natural stewardship a key focus of the Governor's NY Parks 2020 Plan

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced the completion of a project to plant more than 800 trees at Hempstead Lake, Valley Stream and Jones Beach State Parks on Long Island to help recover from Superstorm Sandy. The announcement is in honor of Arbor Day and Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York's commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state's vast and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.

"Trees not only enhance our parks with their beauty, but also help to provide health benefits, shade and habitats," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Losing so many was a great loss. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's support, we have made great strides in this important aspect of Long Island State Parks' recovery from the storm. This is a perfect Earth Week reminder of the importance of stewardship and striving to preserve our natural resources for future generations."

Governor Cuomo's NY 2020 Plan allocated $100,000 to plant new trees following the destructive 2012 storm. Most trees were planted at hard-hit parks in Nassau County. State Parks planted 600 Pitch Pine trees at Jones Beach and repopulated Hempstead Lake and Valley Stream with 220 Red Maples. Both species are native to Long Island.

To celebrate Arbor Day and commemorate the tree planting project, a ceremonial tree planting took place Friday during the 29th Annual Arbor Day Family Festival at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park. Additionally, in March, the Long Island Arborist Association celebrated their 25th anniversary of providing volunteer work for various Long Island State Parks with an Arbor Day Celebration at Belmont Lake State Park, where they performed maintenance to the park's existing trees and planted two more. Each year, State Parks undertakes a number of environmental stewardship projects to prevent the spread of invasive species, protect rare plants and animals, and improve natural habitat at parks across the state. The projects are funded through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 plan, a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The Governor committed $110 million to the effort in the 2015-16 State Budget.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.