Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 09, 2021

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

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. To commemorate the event, park entry will be reduced to its original 1971 opening day fare of 25 cents. All 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.


Other anniversary celebration programming includes:


  • Art Gallery: Join local artists as they discuss pieces inspired by Grafton Lakes' natural beauty. To submit your piece, contact the park for more information.
  • Historic Talks and Walks: Join in on a cemetery walk or look back at photos with Grafton historian Anne Kiely.
  • Remember When: An informal gathering for community members to share their memories and stories of Grafton's history.
  • Visits to the Dickinson Fire Tower, which offers sweeping vistas. Linda Laveway, granddaughter of Ellen Ellett, a female fire observer who served in the tower starting in 1943 and ending in 1965, will offer stories and recollections of her grandmother, who for a time at the tower was kept company by her dog, Tippy, and her pet raccoon, Soggy. Restored by Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park and reopened to the public in 2012, the tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. It is the last remaining fire tower in Rensselaer County.


All aspects of the event will follow current COVID-19 protocols with masks and social distancing. 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.


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