ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — $1.8M in grants was announced to support 28 not-for-profit organizations involving state parks, trails, historic sites, public lands, and more. The grants will support partner groups looking to raise private funds for capital projects, maintenance and beautification projects, provide educational training, and host special events to promote the parks.

The $1.8M in grants is the highest amount awarded in Park and Trail Partnership Grants program history. The program is funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund.

“We are proud to support the work of the incredible grassroots partner organizations that elevates the stewardship and programming of our state parks, historic sites, trails, and public lands,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “With the largest investment in the Park and Trail Partnership Grants program history, New York State is sending a message that we are deeply committed to protecting and funding our public lands as we continue to embark on nation-leading climate resiliency initiatives.”

The 2023 awardees of the grant include the following in the following areas:

Capital Region

  • Friends of Johnson Hall ($27,585) to develop an app to enhance the traditional physical tour through the historic house allowing visitors of varied abilities and cultures to engage in existing interpretation. 
  • Friends of U.S. Grant Cottage ($36,000) for designing and engineering a trail that will provide an accessible pedestrian route to the Eastern Overlook for visitors with physical limitations. 
  • Lake George Battlefield Park (Fort George) Alliance ($50,000) for hiring a Member Services Manager to promote awareness of the park through marketing, fundraising, and operation of the new visitor center.

Central New York

  • Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum ($146,250) to repair the exterior and interior of the 1990 reproduction Erie Canal-era store to provide year-round use of the newly ADA-compliant programming areas. 
  • Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park ($4,000) to hire a consulting firm to evaluate and design replacement options for the heavily used, original to-the-site, stone staircase that provides essential direct access to locations within the park. 

Finger Lakes

  • Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park ($29,118) improve inclusive recreational access at the Area 3 beach by installing Mobi Mats and adding floating beach chairs. 
  • Friends of Letchworth State Park ($8,000) to improve access to three picnic shelters and one comfort station in the park to better serve park visitors with physical limitations. 

Long Island

  • Planting Fields Foundation ($108,129) renovate and install ADA-accessible pathways to improve accessibility, and pedestrian safety, and lead guests to notable sites at the park. 
  • Caumsett Foundation, Inc. ($55,500) for a feasibility study that will restore two paths with safety issues, improve native ecological communities, and establish an educational viewing site. 
  • Friends of Jones Beach ($10,025) to establish organizational capacity-building initiatives for this newly re-established state park friends group. 
  • Atlantic Marine Conservation Society ($26,145) for a “Lunch and Learn” series to train New York State Parks staff, lifeguards, and educators on proper procedures for handling marine life washed ashore.


  • Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance ($150,000) repair, re-deck, and install safety barriers for the 1912 Warren truss bridge – a gateway to Mills-Norrie State Park and the Hudson River.  
  • Friends of Philipse Manor Hall ($48,100) for a marketing/membership campaign and the development of targeted programming to promote visitation to the renovated and updated historic site. 
  • Friends of Rockland Lake and Hook Mountain ($100,000) add two new educational programs for outreach to young people from groups currently underrepresented in these parks. 
  • Jay Heritage Center ($150,000) construction of ADA pathways in the historic Jay Gardens allowing a greater number of visitors and partners to enjoy the award-winning gardens and social justice programs.    
  • Mamakating Environmental Education Center/Friends of MEEC ($51,300) to create more programming at the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area that will help form alliances with other groups and increase outreach to wider audiences. 
  • Morgan Duke Conservation Society ($5,789) to organize continuing community clean-up events at the Hudson River Special Management Area and to encourage citizens and college students to become long-term volunteers. 
  • Palisades Parks Conservancy ($150,000) to hire a Program Manager to develop greater community connection and activation, improve marketing and branding, and implement DEIA initiatives in Palisades region state parks. 
  • Stony Kill Foundation Inc. ($150,000) to undertake an essential renovation of the barnyard and agricultural learning area which is a center for public programming and youth education at Stony Kill Farm.

New York City

  • Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park ($25,011) for tables and umbrellas that will provide additional seating and shaded comfort to address the park’s significantly increased visitation.  

North Country

  • Friends of Higley Flow State Park ($45,966) to purchase an ADA-accessible kayak launch and gangway approach to be installed in collaboration with volunteers and park staff. 
  • John Brown Lives! ($150,000) for its first Executive Director position that will help professionalize and stabilize the organization and its continuing impact on behalf of John Brown Farm State Historic Site. 

Western New York

  • Artpark & Company, Inc. ($100,000) to hire a Director of Education, Interpretation, and Accessibility who will organize year-round educational and outreach activities, establish new programming, and partner with NYS Parks on environmental education and outreach. 
  • Chautauqua County Equestrian Trail System ($68,000) to develop a multi-year strategic plan focusing on marketing, fundraising, and volunteer support to broaden the diversity of trail users and expand and strengthen partnerships.    
  • Friends of Knox Farm State Park ($75,000) to renovate the Mansion Summer Estate–a unique wedding and events venue managed by The Friends.   
  • Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve ($10,581) to build an enclosure that will protect and establish the native forest as well as to improve public access and education related to forest ecosystems.   
  • IMPACT: Friends Improving Allegany County Trails ($7,396) to replace a 30-foot bridge to be built in partnership with Alfred State College and the DEC, and to install two trail counters for data collection on nearby trails. 
  • Old Fort Niagara Association ($12,103) to create a rest stop for cyclists on the Niagara Greenway bike trail in Old Fort Niagara State Park.