ALBANY, NY (May 30, 2019) — The New York State Senate today officially confirmed Erik Kulleseid as Commissioner of New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, a position he has held in an acting capacity since January 2019. Kulleseid was previously Senior Vice President at OSI, where he led state park improvements and expanded recreational access to protected land.
“We at OSI are overjoyed for the people of New York that Erik, a talented and creative leader and champion of public land, is working on behalf of the state’s parks,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “We are confident that Erik is a terrific choice to successfully lead the agency, and look forward to working with him to promote and support New York’s world-class state parks.”
From 2010 to 2019, Kulleseid led OSI’s Parks and Policy Program — originally known as the Alliance for New York State Parks — which he founded with former State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash, with the leading support of New York State Council of Parks Chair Lucy R. Waletzky. The Parks initiative aims to build support for New York parks, integrate private fundraising into park improvement projects, and enhance the visitor experience at New York’s exceptional parks and protected areas.
During his eight years at OSI, Kulleseid secured $30 million in private and public funds to support the state’s parks and protected lands, with projects including the revitalization plan for Jones Beach, overhaul of the Canopus Beach/Winter Park Complex at Letchworth State Park, and restoration of many of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads.
OSI has had a long and highly successful connection with New York State Parks, having protected land that accounts for a full 10 percent of the state’s parkland. Over the past forty years, OSI has doubled the size of Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Fahnestock State Park, Moreau Lake State Park and Thacher State Park. OSI has also secured critical buffer additions at state parks throughout the Hudson Valley and played a leading role in the creation of Sterling Forest State Park.