Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 09, 2021

Tamara Beal
Grafton Lakes State Park
254 Grafton Lakes State Park Way
PO Box 163
Grafton, NY 12082 | 518-279-1155

Grafton Lakes State Park to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Admission Reduced to Original 25 Cent Fee From 1971 

Grafton Town Historian To Speak


(Cropseyville, NY) –Grafton Lakes State Park, in partnership with the Grafton Historical Society, will celebrate its 50th anniversary with community programming on Thursday, July 1. In honor of the event, park entry will be reduced to its original 1971 opening day fare of 25 cents. A lunch will be held to commemorate the anniversary. No charge to attend the commemoration, $5 to obtain a lunch ticket. All other activities and programs will be free of charge.


"Grafton Lakes State Park's breathtaking ponds and miles of trails are just some of the features that make this site a jewel of the State Park system that has drawn many visitors over the decades. This celebration will join past accolades with the next generation of park visitors who appreciate all this special place has to offer," said NYS Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.


Located in the heart of the Rensselaer Plateau, Grafton Lakes State Park opened July 1, 1971 with five lakes, 1,850 acres, a new 1,000-foot beach, a concession stand, and a park office. Today, the park has expanded to include more than 2,500 acres, 25 miles of trails, and six lakes, along with the reopened Dickinson Fire Tower and a new Welcome Center.


Parks staff have been gathering oral remembrances from visitors and staff at Grafton to form a video documentary that will be debuted on the beach the evening of July 1. Learn more about the project and some of the park's history in this post in the NYS Parks Blog.


The park spans both sides of Route 2 in Rensselaer County about 12 miles east of Troy and is a favored place for hikers, snowmobilers, equestrians, kayakers, canoeists, and those who like to fish. Amenities also include biking, boat launches and rentals, swimming, equestrian trails, fishing, hunting, pavilions and shelter rentals, playgrounds, and showers. During winter months, there is snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. About a quarter-million people a year visit Grafton Lakes State Park.


50th anniversary celebration programming includes:


  • Art Gallery: Thurs. July 1st – Mon., July 5th: 9am-4pm daily at the Welcome Center

            Art pieces inspired by Grafton's natural beauty_Welcome Center

·         Scavenger Hunt: 9:00am-4:00pm throughout the park

            Pick up a packet at the Welcome Center, self-led, return it afterwards for a prize!

  • Cemetery Walk: 10:00am at the Mill Pond Parking Lot

            Learn about the Snyder Cemetery with historian Anne Kiely

  • Flashback Virtual Photo Tour: 1:30pm at the Welcome Center back patio

                Learn about what the park used to look like 100 years ago.

·         Fire Tower Chat: 2:00-4:00pm at the Dickinson Fire Tower

                        Linda Laveway, will be talking with people about her grandmother Helen Ellett,     who was a fire tower observer for 18 years.

  • Remember When: 7:00pm at the Beach Tent

            Informal gathering for community members to share their memories of Grafton.

  • Oral History Movie: 9:00pm on the beach

            Hear stories from former employees, patrons of the park, and those who used to own property in the park. Don't miss out on this highlight event!


Entry into the park will be based on a first come first serve basis and the park will close to new visitors when capacity is reached.


50th merchandise will be on sale at the Welcome Center. Stop by to get your very own 50th t-shirt, water bottle, face mask, sticker, or carabiner.


For more information about any aspects of the 50th anniversary, call the park at 518-279-1155 or email For more information about Grafton Lakes State Park events, check out its Facebook page or visit


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $5 billion in park and visitor spending, which supports nearly 54,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit connect with us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram