Parks Program

Protecting and revitalizing parks for future generations

Parks & Trails New York is committed to protecting and revitalizing the NY State Park System. Every year we work with thousands of volunteers and members who share these goals. We bring together the people who use and love parks, Friends organizations that support our state parks and historic sites, and other environmental organizations to promote and protect parks for future generations.

Niagara FallsNew York’s parks preserve priceless landscapes and ecosystems, provide opportunities to improve our physical health and mental well-being, and enhance our quality of life. Often overlooked, but equally important, is parks’ contribution to the economy. As highlighted in Parks & Trails New York’s report, The NYS Park System: An Economic Asset to the Empire State, our state parks generate nearly $2 billion in economic benefits for the state and local economies, supporting small businesses and creating more than 20,000 jobs in addition to state parks employees. 

Funding for State Parks and Historic Sites

In 2014, more than 62 million people visited the 180 state parks and 35 historic sites that comprise the state park system. In spite of parks’ overwhelmingly broad-based support they often get short shrift in the state budget process. Years of neglect have led to a more than $1 billion backlog in infrastructure needs across the park system. Buildings, walkways, bridges, and water systems are in various stages of disrepair. 

Over the past three years, Governor Cuomo has put parks in the forefront of his efforts to rebuild the state’s infrastructure and economy. Thanks to the leadership of the Governor and the Legislature, state parks have received an historic infusion of capital funding through the New York Works initiative - nearly $270 million - to restore and rebuild state parks’ aging and dilapidated infrastructure. This ongoing commitment is breathing new life into a park system that has suffered from decades of underfunding while creating thousands of good-paying local jobs and helping to grow the state’s economy.

Parks & Trails New York looks forward to continuing to work with the Governor, Legislature, Friends groups and park supporters on protecting and preserving the legacy of our great park system.

Overall Goals of the Parks Program

  • Ensure that state parks are adequately funded and remain open, clean, safe, and accessible.
  • Organize parks Friends groups and other parks supporters into a broad-based, effective force for New York’s parks, mobilized to protect parks’ extraordinary legacy for years to come.
  • Build the capacity of park and historic site Friends groups so they can be stronger partners in supporting and advocating for the state park system.
  • Increase state support of parks through funding for the Environmental Protection Fund and federal support through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Establish a dedicated funding stream for parks and increase private support of state parks.

Download our fact sheet describing the ways in which we support the state park system.








29 Elk Street * Albany, NY 12207 * (ph) 518-434-1583 * (fax) 518-427-0067 *