Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

February 05, 2020

New York State Announces Next Phase of Parks 2020 Initiative with $2.9 Million in Improvements in Trails, Playgrounds in State Parks

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2.9 million to improve new or existing trails and playgrounds in State Parks across the state, the next phase of the NY Parks 2020 Plan. The Governor's plan is a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in State Park improvements. Under the initiative, the Governor has set a goal of modernizing 100 playgrounds, replacing outdated equipment with modern, code-compliant facilities, improving access for people with disabilities, and creating specific areas for older and younger age groups.

"We are continuing to invest in every corner of the state to ensure that New Yorkers have access to nearby family-friendly, top-notch facilities, with modern playgrounds and expanded or improved opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation," Governor Cuomo said. "Our State Parks serve as community anchors as well as economic engines for families and business across New York, and this is why we have made their enhancement a top priority."

"Our parks and trails are the gems of communities across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "New York is home to some of the most beautiful parks, historic sites, and natural resources in the world. This funding is important to improve and preserve our playgrounds and trails in State Parks for children and families to continue to enjoy. Our Parks 2020 modernization effort will increase recreational opportunities, boost the tourism industry, and strengthen the economy of New York."

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Under the Governor's leadership, these projects will encourage more New Yorkers and their families to engage in healthy outdoor activities, and help instill in children what we hope is a life-long love of experiencing their parks and of being outside."

Senator Jose Serrano, Chairman of the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation Committee, said, "Not only do our State Parks provide countless health and recreational opportunities, but with more than 70 million yearly visitors, they're also an essential part of our tourism economy. By investing in beautifying and modernizing our parks, we enhance visitor experience and ensure that New Yorkers can continue to enjoy this vital source of affordable recreational and cultural enrichment. Many thanks to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Kulleseid for their commitment to maintaining and improving our greatest natural treasures."

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, Chairman of the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee, said, "Our state parks are treasures to be enjoyed by all ages. That's why I'm happy that the Governor and the NYS Parks Department are modernizing playgrounds and trails as part of the Parks 2020 Initiative, where the joys of play can inspire our youth to further connect with the nature around them. Some of these projects include ADA compliance, to ensure that those with disabilities also have access to our parks. I thank everyone involved with this project, and look forward to seeing our parks become more inclusive for all."

Projects funded include:

Capital Region

  • Saratoga Spa State Park ($50,000) - Rehabilitation of stone dust paths.
  • Moreau Lake State Park ($20,000) - Design work started for a new gravel parking area at the Sherman Island boat launch.
  • Materials purchased ($5,000) for creation of new trail signs at the regional sign shop for all parks in the region.

Central New York

  • Fillmore Glen State Park ($60,000) - Completion of a new 80-foot bridge, rehabilitation of box steps and stone steps, and regrading of a mile of the North Rim Trail.
  • Chittenango Falls State Park (69,000) - Renovation of existing playground.

Finger Lakes

  • Chimney Bluffs State Park ($50,000) - Construction starting on a new 400-foot boardwalk and trail relocation, with completion expected in spring 2020.
  • Genesee Valley Greenway State Park ($50,000) - New drainage culverts are being added to improve the 90-mile former canal towpath and railway bed in Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. In September, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $6.4 million in grants from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, in addition to $4 million in state funding, to support ongoing improvements to the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park and the Niagara Shoreline Trail in Western New York.

Long Island

  • Hallock State Park Preserve ($17,000) - A new .75-mile birding trail loop added from the upper parking lot through Harbor Hill moraine and rare clay hoodoos (a type of rock tower formation) along the north shore of Long Island Sound.

Mid-Hudson Region

  • Taconic State Park ($158,000) - Expansion of playground to include equipment for younger children and a bear theme.
  • Lake Taghkanic ($245,000) - Expansion of West Beach playground to include new fish theme, along with increased shade structures and an ADA-compliant pedestrian trail to the beach.
  • Mills Norrie State Park ($405,000) - Bids opened for new woodland-themed playground, with construction to start next spring for summer completion.
  • Fahnestock State Park ($325,000) - Design work started for a new bird-themed playground at Canopus Lake, with completion estimated in 2020 or 2021.
  • Trail signage replacement ($75,000) throughout region, with work expected to be done by spring 2020.
  • Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve - New interpretive panels will be added to the Constitution Marsh Bird Conservation Area, with work expected to be done by spring 2020.

North Country

  • Wellesley Island State Park ($10,000) - Construction of new boardwalks at the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center.
  • Robert G. Wehle State Park ($50,000) - Construction of a new playground shaped like a dog's paw, to underscore Wehle's history as a breeder of champion bird hunting dogs.
  • Higley Flow State Park ($50,000) - Construction of a second playground closer to the campgrounds.

New York City

  • Clay Pit Ponds Park Preserve ($15,000) - Trails have been improved at the 265-acre nature preserve at the southwest shore of Staten Island.

Southern Tier

  • Buttermilk Falls State Park ($30,000) - Work begun on new 56-foot bridge at Scott's Dam connecting the main parking lot to the Bear Trail, with completion expected in spring 2020.
  • Taughhannock Falls State Park ($10,000) - Construction completed of new box steps and stone steps on the South Rim Trail.
  • Chenango Valley State Park ($282,000) - Playground near beach area improved with upgraded equipment. Clearing work has started on the Chenango Lake Trail, with planning begun for a new ADA-compliant parking area near the trailhead, a new Oak Island bridge and a mountain bikes skills course.
  • Oquaga Creek State Park ($75,500) - Construction of new play area.

Western New York

  • Allegany State Park ($130,000) - Rehabilitation complete on the 25-mile Art Roscoe Cross-Country Ski and Mountain Bike Area, with work expected to be complete by October. Work is complete on refurbishing the Lonkto Hollow Trail and culvert replacement. Replace culverts, with work expected to be done by October 2019. Refurbish the Stoney Trail and replace culverts, with work expected to be done in summer 2020.
  • Midway State Park ($300,000) - Construction this winter for a new train-themed playground reflecting the park's origination as a 19th century "trolley park," with work expected to be done for the 2020 operating season.
  • Letchworth State Park ($300,000) - Design work underway for new Nature Center playground, with construction start anticipated for April 2020.


  • Backcountry Trails Program ($170,000) - Sterling Forest State Park: Repairs to existing trails, and construction of new Doris Duke Trail and seven-mile Red Back multi-use loop; Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve: Restoration and surfacing improvements to highly-used trails.

State Parks oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 74 million people last year. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.