Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

November 19, 2015

State Parks Press Office:
Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks Announces New Regional Director of Thousand Islands State Parks & Historic Sites

Former Maryland Park Service manager brings extensive leadership, stewardship experience to role

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today announced that Peyton Taylor, a former regional manager in the Maryland Park Service, has been named director of the Thousand Islands State Park Region. A lifelong professional in park and natural resource management, Taylor brings over thirty years of knowledge and experience, both in the day-to-day operations of state parks, and in executive leadership roles in the Maryland Park Service, to her new position.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have an accomplished, dedicated steward like Peyton join our team," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "The vast range of skills and abilities she developed while spearheading successful initiatives and programs in the Maryland Park System will be invaluable as the New York State Park system continues its renaissance."

Ms. Taylor began her dynamic career in state parks as a seasonal employee in the Maryland Park Service, rising in the ranks to various supervisory roles, including Assistant Park Manager for Gunpowder Falls, Maryland's largest state park, and eventually serving as one of three regional managers in the state. In this role, she handled responsibilities of budget management; personnel; daily park operations; capital improvements and critical maintenance projects; public relations; resource management; internal project review; master planning and project planning, and land acquisition for the park service's 70,000-acre Central Region.

Additionally, she created Maryland Park Service's Conservation Jobs Corps during her tenure and served as its executive director for six years, utilizing aggressive grant work and partnerships to supplement a modest operating budget and expanding the program to serve nearly 2,000 youth in that time.

Taylor holds a Master of Liberal Arts, focusing on American History, from Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management from the University of Maryland, College Park.

She will begin in December, replacing Kevin Kieff, who recently retired after serving as Thousand Islands Regional Director for 15 years.

Stretching from Lake Ontario north along the St. Lawrence River to Lake Champlain, the Thousand Islands Region is one of the state park system's largest, including 30 state parks, one historic site and six boat launches, as well as thousands of campsites. The region is known for some of the best boating and fishing in the world and nearly all of the state parks have campgrounds with accommodations ranging from primitive, boat-access only camping to cabins and full-service cottage rentals. Highlights include the historic, recently restored Rock Island Lighthouse on the beautiful St. Lawrence Seaway; Sackets Harbor Battlefield, a center of American naval and military activity following the outbreak of the War of 1812; and the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center at Wellesley Island, one of the best outdoor education centers in the state.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. Recent improvements to the Thousands Islands Region under the Governor's NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding in State Parks from 2011 to 2020, include a new bathhouse, adjoining open-air pavilion, and upgrades to sites at the flagship campground in Wellesley Island State Park, and improved marina services at Keewaydin State Park to offer excellent boating and fishing, among other recreational opportunities.

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. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.