Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 28, 2021

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

New York State Announces $900,000 in Grants Awarded to State Parks, Trails, Historic Sites and Public Lands Partner Organizations

Leverage Private and Public Funding to Support 30 Projects Across New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $900,000 in grants to support 30 not-for-profit organizations involved with stewardship of state parks, trails, historic sites and public lands.

"New York's beautiful state parks, trails, public lands and historic sites offer world-class outdoor recreational opportunities that continue to support tourism and grow local economies," Governor Cuomo said. "These partnership organizations provide invaluable support to our park system, and the grants announced today will help bolster efforts for these groups to build a better state parks system for generations to come."

The Park and Trail Partnership Grants program is funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund. The grants support partner group efforts to raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance and beautification undertakings, provide educational programming, and promote public use of the parks through hosting of special events.

Grants are administered in partnership with the not-for-profit advocacy group Parks & Trails New York. Recipients must raise outside funding of at least 10 percent of the grant amount received.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The Park and Trail Partnership Grant program makes it possible for Friends groups and other organizations to strengthen and expand their roles as stewards for our parks. We are grateful for all the support by these groups and their continued dedication towards building and enhancing the park experience for all visitors to enjoy."

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "To protect New York's lands for future generations, DEC works hand-in-hand with local partners and volunteers to promote sustainable use and help maintain our trails for the safe and responsible enjoyment of the public. Today's awards will advance efforts to make the outdoors more accessible to all New Yorkers and help visitors better understand their impact on natural resources in order to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards."

Robin Dropkin, Parks & Trails New York Executive Director said, "With more and more people discovering the outdoors, and visitation to our parks, trails, and public lands soaring, the need for strong public/public partnerships has never been greater. The Park and Trail Partnership Grants help bolster the role of Friends groups in these vital partnerships."

Grants are aimed at initiatives that 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 public lands 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.

Awardees include:

Capital Region

  • Friends of Fort Crailo ($6,500) -- To harness the capacity to draw broader awareness to the Friends of Fort Crailo and Crailo State Historic Site by strengthening the board makeup, developing a strong membership plan, and creating a website.
  • Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park ($9,506) - To build capacity through membership, volunteer, and donor development, and to fund a series of activities including hiking, mountain biking, summer film series, fundraising events, promotional materials, and other supporting initiatives.
  • Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park ($75,000) -- To restore the Coesa spring house, provide interpretive signage about the Coesa Mineral Spring, and to install a historically accurate replica of the original granite fountain.
  • Friends of Bennington Battlefield ($6,750) - To add professionally produced audio files via QR code to recently installed interpretive panels providing diverse accounts of the Battle.
  • Lake George Battlefield Park (Fort George) Alliance ($2,040) - To develop, print and distribute an updated Battlefield Park Tour Guide and rack card to build awareness of the new Lake George Battlefield Park Visitor Interpretive Center.

Central New York

  • Friends of Clark Reservation ($5,400) - To develop a strategic plan.
  • Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park ($13,296) - To create kiosks in the park with maps, information, and educational interpretive signs and to upgrade event signage.
  • Friends of Lorenzo ($43,020) - To arrange collections of maps, photos, land records, letters, and other historical documents into usable electronic collections to facilitate intellectual control and use.

Finger Lakes

  • Friends of Letchworth State Park ($50,700) - To restore and preserve 18 iconic Civilian Conservation Corps-built stone tables at the Wolf Creek and Eddyspicnic areas.
  • Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park ($16,200) - To fund a campaign and marketing plan to assist in public relations and fundraising.

Long Island

  • Atlantic Marine Conservation Society ($23,084) - To install enhanced education signage at Hallock State Park Preserve and Orient Beach State Park and a new exhibit in Hallock State Park Preserve's Community Room to highlight the important ecosystems and marine life at both parks.
  • Bayard Cutting Arboretum Horticultural Society ($50,000) -To hire an Education Coordinator to organize, increase, and enhance educational programs to better serve the arboretum and community.
  • Walt Whitman Birthplace Association ($33,888) - To promote Whitman's legacy through expanded website capabilities and marketing strategies which will bring attention, admiration, interactions, and support to the grounds of Whitman's birth.


  • Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance ($36,000) - To contract the services of a Communications and Development Specialist who will establish critical communications and development infrastructure to engage professional staff, expand public and private constituencies, and fundraise for capital projects and public programs.
  • Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association ($33,300) -- To repair and make safe the trail in the western portion of Fort Montgomery State Historic Site--part two of a two-phase project.
  • Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct ($24,875) - To expand successful outreach and community engagement in underserved and diverse communities by retaining a part-time outreach coordinator to increase awareness about the Aqueduct and enhance the capacity of the Friends.
  • Friends of Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Inc. ($60,000) - To rehabilitate the historic Overlook Trail carriage road in the Swan Lake section of Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
  • Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association ($75,000) - To repair and repave one of the oldest sections of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail which is part Taconic State Park.
  • Little Stony Point Citizens Association, Inc. ($13,500) - To increase access, stewardship, and environmental education opportunities by making the trail to the Little Stony Point overlook more accessible.
  • Walkway Over the Hudson ($64,996) - To fund a position to oversee its successful Summer Walkway Ambassador Program (a youth employment program), and to assist with on-bridge operations, events, and management of the new East Gate Plaza.

Mohawk Valley

  • Hyde Hall, Inc. ($2,830) - To design, fabricate, and install four interpretive and educational panels that introduce visitors to Hyde Hall's history and offer a general welcome and orientation to the site.

New York City

  • Four Freedoms Park Conservancy ($35,000) - To fund programming in FDR Four Freedoms State Park; plan, develop and execute a range of on-site tours given by area experts; and develop and execute self-guided mobile tours in multiple languages.

North Country

  • Adirondack Architectural Heritage ($30,000) - To complete a five-year rehabilitation of Poke-O-Moonshine's 1.8-mile Ranger Trail as a model of an interesting, varied, and sustainable interpretive trail to the top of the mountain.
  • Adirondack Mountain Club ($14,139) - To hire one staff member for a Summer Stewardship Program to be stationed on top of New York's tallest mountains from May to October to educate the public on alpine ecosystems and enlist their help in protecting this fragile resource.
  • Winona Forest Recreation Association ($26,837) - To double the traditional event trail course by adding five new bridges, three new trails, and performing trail rehabilitation, including the addition of a new 5K trail which can be used by hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners.

Southern Tier

  • Friends of The Catharine Valley Trail ($13,500) - To remedy trail erosion by installing culverts, resurfacing, and installing two interpretive kiosks at strategic locations.

Western NY

  • Artpark & Company, Inc. ($50,000) - To create a comprehensive wayfinding system and incorporate public Wi-Fi along Artpark's pathways providing data access to a diverse demographic of Artpark visitors, and to serve as a functional necessity for the proposed interactive signage system and data collection.
  • Chautauqua County Equestrian Trail System ($64,805) - To provide environmentally friendly, sustainable rehabilitation of the trail known as The Boulevard, which acts as a critical point of access for trail users and has been closed for the past two years due to logging.
  • Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve ($6,510) -To provide permanent, durable trailside interpretive signs along the "History Trail," including new accessibility features and an audio tour.
  • Martin House Restoration Corporation ($13,500) - To retain a Curatorial Intern who will support the second phase of a comprehensive collections cataloging project that will strengthen the stewardship of the collections and make them more accessible.

Introduced in the Governor's 2021 State of the State address, the Adopt-a-Trailheadprogram is managed by the DEC and gives the public the opportunity to support State-led efforts to care for state lands and educate fellow visitors on the value of responsible recreation. The AAT program supports DEC's comprehensive and ongoing efforts to sustainably manage increased visitation to public lands and provides important information to guide future land management decisions. For more information on the AAT program, visit DEC's website here.

Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide advocate for New York's parks and trails, working with grassroots groups for 35 years to strengthen public-private partnerships and improve New Yorker's health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space. For more information, visit

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information on State Park recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.