Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

March 19, 2019

New York State Announces $450,000 in Grants to State Park, Forest and Historic Site Partner Organizations

Grants Leverage Programming and Fundraising Efforts of Local Partners

Grants Will Be Matched by More Than $150,000 In Private and Local Funding

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $450,000 in state grants to 22 organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York State parks, historic sites and public lands. These dedicated groups raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance tasks, provide educational programming and promote public use of parks through hosting special events. The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are administered by the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation as well as Parks and Trails New York, a statewide non-profit group.

"New York's state parks, trails, forests and historic sites offer world-class outdoor recreational and cultural opportunities, support tourism and grow local economies," Governor Cuomo said. "These partnership groups are essential to the continued success of our state parks, and today's grants will help leverage the programming and fundraising efforts of these organizations to build a better state parks system for generations to come."

"New York is home to some of the most beautiful parks and iconic historic sites in the world," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "With this grant funding, we're continuing to invest in them statewide to increase our commitment to tourism and ensure their success in the future."

The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants, funded through the Environmental Protection Fund, will be matched by more than $150,000 in private and local funding. The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are designed to:

  • Enhance the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and promotion of New York State parks, trails, historic sites and public lands;
  • Increase the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, volunteerism and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that promote, maintain and support New York State parks, trails and state historic sites; and
  • Promote the tourism and economic development benefits of outdoor recreation through the growth and expansion of a connected statewide network of parks, trails and greenways.

The awardees are, by region:

Capital Region:

  • Friends of Bennington Battlefield: $8,500 to design, create and place interpretative signs that will incorporate firsthand accounts of the battle and draw from multiple perspectives.
  • Friends of Five Rivers: $31,500 to hire an Outreach and Development Coordinator to cultivate a sustainable base of donors and expand the organization's funding and volunteer resources.
  • Friends of Moreau Lake State Park: $5,150to purchase supplies and materials to build eight boat storage racks and a kayak launch that will help alleviate tree damage.

Central New York:

  • Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum: $23,800 to create capital improvement and marketing plans for an outdoor recreation and community welcome area at the juncture of the Old Erie Canal trail and the Village of Chittenango Creekwalk, re-imagining an underutilized section of the site.
  • Council of Park Friends: $5,083 to officially change its corporate name to the Friends of Clark Reservation and to embark on a membership campaign using promotional materials to grow membership and help maintain a sustainable income.

Finger Lakes:

  • Friends of Ganondagan: $22,630 to hire a Program Assistant to support increased year-round innovative programming at Ganondagan State Historic Site.
  • Friends of Letchworth State Park: $13,888 to support a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Legacy Pathway project in Letchworth State Park with interpretive, directional and structure identification signage.

Long Island:

  • The Caumsett Foundation: $34,557 to fund the rehabilitation of the visitor kiosk at Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve to enhance the visitor experience, focusing on site interpretation, wayfinding and programming.


  • Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance: $28,000 to retain an historic preservation architecture firm to outline next steps for restoration and sustainable adaptive reuse of The Point located at Mills Norrie State Park in Staatsburg, N.Y.
  • Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association: $50,000 to repair and restore Fort Montgomery State Historic Site's trail system, which provides access to the site's 35,000 annual visitors, including school groups, families, organizations, and individuals.
  • Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks: $21,500 to add historical signage around Northgate/ Cornish Estate Ruins as well as give visitors of the Hudson Highlands a space to relax and learn about the park's history.
  • The Little Stony Point Citizens Association, Inc.: $11,889 to purchase an energy efficient heat pump for the new Volunteer Center to enable more seasonal activities which will increase volunteer presence at Little Stony Point. New database and calendar software will enhance volunteer engagement and administration.
  • Walkway Over The Hudson: $14,500 to fund multi-faceted, year-long fundraising and marketing campaign that takes advantage of the Walkway's status as a critical connector of the Empire State Rail Trail.

Mohawk Valley:

  • Friends of Johnson Hall: $7,245 to complete the restoration of an 18th century wallpaper in the central hall of Sir William Johnson's 1763 home which emphasized the ancient power and authority of the English king that Johnson represented.

North Country:

  • Azure Mountain Friends: $13,500 to stabilize erosion on the summit between the fire tower and the open cliffs to the southeast to make the trail safer for hikers, reduce the damage to summit vegetation and reestablish a more natural summit environment.
  • John Brown Lives: $31,200 to enhance and augment the visitor experience, including a children's corner, special themed tours, an audio installation for the Dreaming of Timbuctoo Exhibit, Friends Group kiosk, and special community-building events.
  • Winona Forest Recreation Association: $36,182 for the rehabilitation of an additional 5 miles of trail, enhancement of trailhead signage, and construction of a new picnic pavilion. Purchase of a snow machine with grooming implements will open up winter use of the trail.

Southern Tier:

  • Friends of Chenango Valley State Park: $18,000 to complete the fencing of a youth league ball field which will serve local youth and their families.
  • Friends of Rogers: $10,000 to hire a branding consultant to establish a clear and easily recognizable brand and image to grow the Rogers Environmental Education Center and continue to offer free access to over 6 miles of trails across 600 acres.

New York City:

  • Friends of Gantry State Park: $17,000 to replace the parks' hammocks, which are a popular feature, and to increase outreach in the neighborhood and volunteer capacity.

Western New York:

  • Friends of Allegany State Park: $10,625 to begin the restoration of the Red House Sawmill, a historic building that was used to produce lumber for cabins and other structures within the park. The first phase includes securing, stabilizing and sanitizing the structure.
  • Friends of Knox Farm: $40,000 to hire a part time Executive Director to help the volunteer organization better accomplish its mission and support the park.

The Park and Trail Partnership Program complements Governor Cuomo's historic commitment to revitalizing and transforming the state's parks and public lands for outdoor recreation. The Governor's Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks. The 2019-20 Executive Budget includes $110 million toward this initiative.

Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving the health and quality of life of all New Yorkers by working with community organizations and municipalities to envision, create, promote, and protect a growing network of parks, greenways and trails throughout the state for all to use and enjoy.

Acting Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Across New York State, Friends Groups are crucial to building and enhancing a quality experience for park visitors. I applaud these Friends Groups for their efforts to improve parks, trails and historic sites - and I thank Parks & Trails New York for its work to support them."

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York State is home to some of the most magnificent parks, historic sites, and public lands in the nation and Governor Cuomo recognizes the power these special places possess to draw millions of outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to experience their unrivaled beauty each year. The Governor's historic investments in the Environmental Protection Fund help support local economies and the many partners who share our passion for protecting, preserving, and responsibly promoting New York's vast and thriving network of parks and trails."

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, "It's inspiring to see the transformational effect of the Park and Trail Partnership Program grants and how they are enhancing the ability of Friends groups to make an even greater contribution to the stewardship of New York's great outdoor spaces. These grant funds will enable groups to leverage more private and federal funding, marshal more volunteer power, and augment the state's historic investment in parks, trails and other public outdoor places."

Senator José Serrano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, said, "As attendance to State Parks continues to rise each year, it is more important than ever to support the groups that improve, care for, and maintain New York's greatest natural and historic treasures. The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants will make it possible for Friends groups to strengthen and expand their role as the stewards of our parks and historic sites, ensuring that New Yorkers across the state can continue to enjoy all of the wonderful recreational and educational opportunities they offer."

Assembly Member Daniel J. O'Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, and Sports Development, said, "Our parks, trails, and green spaces provide countless New Yorkers with recreation opportunities and ways to connect with nature. The awarded grants will do wonders in expanding and maintaining these gems."

Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "Harnessing the beauty of New York's parks and public lands not only bolsters tourism and economic development, but also helps foster awareness of how vitally important it is to preserve our environment and natural resources. I look forward to seeing the benefits of these grants, both on Long Island, as well as throughout our great State as a whole."

Assembly Member Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, said, "Stewardship organizations are the unsung heroes of our State's parks and public lands. Born out of a deep and collective caring for our natural areas, these Friends organizations are powered by volunteers who roll their sleeves up to perform maintenance, lead educational programs and nature walks, and raise funds for special projects. Grants to these homegrown stewardship groups earn a windfall return in helping to augment the work of State Parks and the DEC."