New York to have year-long state parks centennial celebration

Governor Kathy Hochul previewed a year-long celebration of the centennial anniversary of the founding of New York’s statewide park and historic site system to take place in 2024. The celebration will both highlight and build upon one of New York State’s greatest environmental legacies. In 1924, Governor Alfred E. Smith and the State Legislature created the New York State Council of Parks while voters approved a $15 million bond act to build and enlarge a network of State parks, forging the New York State park and historic site system that New York State residents and visitors know and cherish today. 

“New York State led the nation in creating a State park system for our citizens 100 years ago,” Governor Hochul said. “As we celebrate through next year, New York will continue to invest in our park system to support the State’s outdoor recreation economy, expand access to underserved communities, address the impacts of climate change, and position New York State as a top recreation destination.” 

Commissioner Kulleseid previewed the celebration with a two-day tour of parks and historic sites across the state, meeting with key partners and highlighting unique activities. He toured the landscape at Olana State Historic Site, rode a bike across the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, swam at Lake Welch in Harriman State Park, zipline and unveiled a sand sculpture at Jones Beach State Park, and facilitated the nightly illumination of Niagara Falls State Park’s lights over the falls, making them Parks’ green and gold Centennial colors. On Thursday, he experienced a cannon blast at Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site, descended into the Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls State Park, toured the longhouse at Ganondagan State Historic Site, paddled a crystal kayak at Green Lakes State Park, and visited performance venues at Saratoga Spa State Park. 

Across the state through 2024, New York will commemorate the state park centennial with hundreds of community celebrations, performances and special events led by the state park and historic site staff, the State Council of Parks and Park and Historic Site Friends Groups. A traveling exhibit on the history of New York State Parks will go on display at parks and historic sites throughout the state. New Yorkers can visit parks.ny.gov/100 to learn more about the Centennial. 

Image courtesy of Provided

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