Grants awarded to nonprofits supporting stewardship of 20 state parks in NY

This week Gov. Andrew Cuomo 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.

“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,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid 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,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos added.

“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,” Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin continued.

Here’s how the awards shook out locally:

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.

Southern Tier

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