Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation

Skip Navigation LinksHome / Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation is an important function within our agency and is an important economic catalyst for New York State. The breadth and scope of historic resources and historic preservation in New York State spans over 400 years of history, and includes Natives Americans, founding fathers, architectural masterpieces, and small town and big city Main Streets and residential neighborhoods.

Historic Preservation in New York State is overseen within the agency by the Historic Preservation Division, comprised of:

The Bureau of Historic Sites provides technical and program support to New York's state parks and historic sites. For more than thirty years, the bureau has contributed to the long-term protection and interpretation of these significant natural, historic, and cultural treasures. Through a cooperative and collaborative approach, the bureau provides assistance to parks and sites in the following interrelated areas: building and landscape preservation, historic collections conservation, curatorial services, collections management, archaeological research and preservation, interpretive program and project development, and historic property protection and security. The bureau also assists nonprofit Friends organizations in various efforts to enhance and expand the programs, properties, and collections at state historic sites and historic parks.

The Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau which also acts as the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) manages all state and federal historic preservation programs that help communities, municipalities, and individuals identify, evaluate, preserve, protect, and revitalize their historic, archeological and cultural resources. The SHPO administers both state and national historic preservation programs, including the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, the historic rehabilitation tax credits, the Certified Local Government program, preservation planning, and environmental review. Services are provided through a network of teams assigned to territories across the state.

The NYS Heritage Area system is a state-local partnership established to promote special areas of significance across New York State. From the Great Lakes to the eastern tip of Long Island, the Heritage Areas encompass some of the state's most significant natural, historic, and cultural resources, as well as the people and programs that keep them vital. You can start your visit at a Heritage Area Visitor Center, then tour the Heritage Areas and all they have to offer -- glorious vistas, exquisite architecture, informative exhibits, lively festivals, enticing shops, dynamic downtowns, and fascinating stories.

Heritage Trails highlight significant sites statewide along four historical themes - the Revolutionary War, Underground Railroad, Women's Heritage, and Theodore Roosevelt. New York was a bastion of freedom and reform; the turning point of the Revolutionary War, the birthplace of the great New Yorker Theodore Roosevelt and home to many heroes of the antislavery and women's movement. These sites; from battlefields and farmhouses to museums and churches, convey the complex tapestry of New York's proud heritage and the important role the Empire State played in our nation's history.