CASTILE, NY (July 19, 2016)—Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the Open Space Institute (OSI) and other public and private partners today announced that the Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park is now open to the park's more than 850,000 annual visitors. The Nature Center is the result of a public-private partnership to establish a four-season, educational facility on Letchworth State Park grounds, and received $3.55 million through Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment of $900 million in private and public funding to revitalize State Parks. The Nature Center is named for philanthropist Peter G. Humphrey--whose unrelenting fundraising efforts and commitment to State Parks secured the critical $3.2 million in private investment and grants necessary for making the project a reality.
“From its pristine gorge to scenic trails, the award-winning Letchworth State Park offers a myriad of outdoor opportunities for its millions of annual visitors,” Governor Cuomo said. The Humphrey Nature Center is the result of a fruitful public-private partnership, made possible by the generous spirit of the Humphrey Family. Our parks are an integral part of who we are, and when they’re gleaming and innovative, so are we. The addition of the state-of-the-art Nature Center will continue to attract visitors and inject more tourism dollars into the Finger Lakes' economy.”
“The new Letchworth State Park Nature Center’s educational offerings and interpretive exhibits will heighten the public’s enjoyment and appreciation for this world-class park,” said Erik Kulleseid, Executive Director of the Open Space Institute’s Alliance for New York State Parks program. “OSI is proud to be a leading member of this groundbreaking public-private partnership whose benefits will extend across our great state. Thank you to Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Harvey and Campaign Committee Chair Peter Humphrey for their visionary leadership in supporting this jewel of a park.”
In 2015, Letchworth State Park was awarded the 2015 USA TODAY Readers' Choice Award for Best State Park. Known for its impressive views, geological formation and 66 miles of hiking trails that traverse the Park’s 14,350 acres, the Park is also largely defined by the 17 miles of the Genesee River that tumble over three major waterfalls and gorge cliffs.
The addition of the Humphrey Nature Center builds on the Park’s variety of educational and recreational programming – guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, and will feature state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, as well as learning and service opportunities.
The building’s sustainable design incorporates LED and natural lighting, and features a high efficiency HVAC system, radiant floor heat and a rain water cistern that is tied to the irrigation of a new “Butterfly Garden.” The Nature Center meets the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and includes expanded meeting and classroom space, interactive exhibits designed to lead visitors outdoors to multi-use park trails.
Chairman of the Genesee Region State Park Commission Peter G. Humphrey said, "Our family has been honored to be involved in the stewardship of Letchworth State Park for over a century. I know my grandfather and father would be elated by all the community support that has made this nature center possible. On behalf of the entire Humphrey family, I thank all those who have come together to give the public an exceptional new facility that is fitting to the unique natural beauty of Letchworth."