Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 31, 2020

New York State Announces Grants Awarded to Nonprofits Supporting Stewardship of 29 State Parks

Funding for State Parks, Forest and Historic Sites Partner Organizations Will Improve Maintenance of Open Spaces

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the advocacy group Parks & Trails New York have awarded grants to support not-for-profit organizations involved with stewardship of 29 State Parks, historic sites and public lands. The 29 grants provided to partner organizations will help to improve the maintenance of these historic open spaces.

"The grants announced today will help bolster efforts to keep New York's open spaces beautiful and pristine at a time when more New Yorkers than ever are turning to nature for refuge and relaxation," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is thankful for this dedicated group of volunteers, which provide invaluable support to our park system by devoting their time to help make improvements that all of us can enjoy."

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

The program, established in 2015, has awarded $900,000 in its fifth round and to date, has awarded $2.7 million to strengthen Parks, historic sites and public lands for years to come. Grants are aimed at programs 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;
  • 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.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Friends groups are on the front lines of supporting our facilities and key programming. We are grateful for all these groups provide and these grants help them provide it."

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York's amazing State Forests, State Parks, historic sites, and open spaces offer unrivaled beauty and unlimited activities for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers of all ages and abilities. This critical funding supports the State's many not-for-profit partners who form the backbone of the New York's Park and Trail Partnership Program and are an example of the power of the State's $300 million Environmental Protection Fund."

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, "Continuing to build and strengthen Friends organizations provides a significant complement to New York State's ongoing efforts to revitalize its iconic park system and other public lands and affords more opportunities for visitors to engage with and appreciate nature, which is more important than ever in these unprecedented times. 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."

Awardees include:

Capital Region

  • Columbia Friends of the Electric Trail ($10,000)- To support improvements to communication and website, printing and mailing costs, and membership coordination to promote the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail.
  • Friends of Moreau Lake State Park ($13,500)- To fund a consultant to create promotional materials designed to promote membership in the group.
  • Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park ($12,000)- To fund a consultant, membership management software and promotional materials, digital marketing and Chamber of Commerce membership.
  • Friends of Schuyler Mansion ($28,256)- To purchase historic floor cloth covering for the mansion's second-floor ballroom, and for photographs of current Brussels carpeting.
  • Lake George Battlefield Park (Fort George) Alliance ($3,528)- To purchase new signage in the park.
  • The Friends of U.S. Grant Cottage ($48,000)- To fund an assessment of current conditions and master plan for potential future improvements including off-site parking, accessible pedestrian pathways, connection to the Palmertown Trail network, a memorial garden and new pavilion.
  • The Olana Partnership ($14,400)- To support planning for a new trailhead from the Hudson River Skywalk to Olana State Historic Site with a new gate, signage, benches and bike racks.
  • Wilton Wildlife Preserve ($4,800)- To fund new signage for trail kiosks and school programming on the environmental history of the Saratoga Sand Plains.

Central New York

  • Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park ($16,500)- To support equipment and expenses for the group's annual fundraising effort, Fillmore Days.
  • Winona Forest Recreation Association ($33,386)- To improve three miles of trails and purchase cross-country skiing equipment.

Finger Lakes

  • Finger Lakes Trail Conference ($50,000)- To hire a communications consultant to promote membership and marketing to increase tourism on the 1,000-mile trail network.
  • Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park ($25,000)- To support the collection, transport and storage of the site's collection of historic furniture, textiles, china and other materials in a new facility.
  • Rochester Inclusive Community Rowing ($23,934)- For purchase of a new accessible dock.

Long Island

  • Atlantic Marine Conservation Society ($95,822)- To hire an Education Coordinator to work with nearby Hallock State Park Preserve.
  • Planting Fields Foundation ($70,000)- To hire an architect for an historic preservation and adaptive reuse of vacant structure at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park.
  • Walt Whitman Birthplace Association ($21,120)- For installation of an outdoor video display for increased visibility and marketing.


  • Bannerman Castle Trust ($63,000)- To replace broken sidewalks around the residence and the North Trail.
  • Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks ($7,286)- To build a overnight trail shelter along the Appalachian Trail within the parks.
  • Friends of Rockland Lake and Hook Mountain ($45,000)- To connect public schools with Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake, Nyack Beach State Park, Haverstraw Beach State Park and the Hudson River by expanding the "Learning in the Park" program.
  • New York-New Jersey Trail Conference ($32,400)- To provide trail stewards at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
  • Stony Kill Foundation Inc. ($90,000)- To hire a new executive director to enhance programming, operations and fundraising.
  • The Little Stony Point Citizens Association Inc. ($6,640)- For media equipment and new ceiling fans at the new Volunteer Center.

North Country

  • John Brown Lives ($11,650)- To support expanded programming at the John Brown's Farm State Historic Site.
  • Upper Saranac Foundation ($19,000)- To support the Fish Creek Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention and Containment Project.

New York City

  • Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park ($21,600)- To replace tree guards in the park and to support enhanced volunteer outreach.

Southern Tier

  • Friends of Rogers Environmental Education Center ($36,000)- To improve the exhibits at the center.

Western New York

  • Friends of Allegany State Park ($10,399)- To install interpretive kiosks, add a video screen, and repair damage to the Red House Sawmill.
  • Friends of Knox Farm State Park ($75,000)- To repair seven historic barns at the site.
  • Martin House Restoration Corporation ($10,000)- To support a curatorial intern to preserve and display the collections of the Darwin D. Martin House State Historic Site.

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

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 77 million people annually. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors support $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.