Featured Friends: Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park

The Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park are the newest Friends group in New York State, having formed in early 2016 out of the Cayuga-Owasco Lakes Historical Society (COLHS). The COLHS recognized the need for a dedicated group of volunteers to strictly focus on advocating for the park, coordinating volunteers and working with park staff to preserve and enhance the park's appeal to the community.

Fillmore Glen State Park is a 941-acre park nestled in the Finger Lakes region in Cayuga County and hosts a number of unique features, both botanical and geological. A unique feature in the park is a replica of President Millard Fillmore’s childhood log cabin, as the park sits nearly five miles from the former president’s birthplace. In addition to the historical significance and rich botanical diversity, the park also offers hiking trails, a natural swimming area along with large enclosed picnic areas for visitors to enjoy.

While the Friends group has only been officially formed for a few months, members of the local community have always been strong advocates and the park has long been home to school and community events since before its foundation as a state park. It is very common to see local high school students choosing to take their senior and prom pictures at Fillmore Glen State Park.

The first project of the new Friends group was staffing the 2016 I Love My Park Day. The local community showed their desire to support the park by their overwhelming participation in this event; 120 volunteers rolled up their sleeves at the first-ever I Love My Park Day at Fillmore Glen. Volunteers included local Boy and Girl Scout Troops, Wells College FORCES, the local historical society, local Rotary, and more. Among the projects completed were sign painting, flower planting, adding yards and yards of mulch to the playground, repairing old picnic tables, and clearing trails.

Gail Morse, Chairperson for the Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park stated, “I Love My Park Day was a humbling experience! I was so surprised at the level of commitment our volunteers demonstrated. From the youngest to the oldest they quickly completed every task set for them and a group even came the next weekend to clear more shale! Throughout the summer volunteers continued to pitch in with weeding and planting whenever the need arose.” Gail was so proud of the event, she had a letter to the editor along with photos from the event published in the Moravia Republican Register.

Moving forward, the Friends hope to organize new projects, engage a broader audience, encourage visitors to explore the hiking trails and reintroduce some of the historical community events that used to be held at the park. “While we call our Park a hidden local gem, many people in the area are actually unaware of its location and the facilities and features it offers,” Gail noted.

Parks & Trails New York is pleased to highlight the Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park and welcome them to the diverse and increasing community of Friends groups of State Parks and Historic Sites!

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