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New York State awards $400,000 to revitalize beach facilities at Fahnestock State Park

Albany, NY — December 20, 2011 — The Alliance for New York State Parks and the Friends of Fahnestock-Hudson Highlands State Parks (FOFHH) today welcomed a $400,000 state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grant to revitalize and repair the bathhouse and café buildings at the Canopus Lake Beach complex of Fahnestock State Park in Putnam County. The grant, which will require a private match, was awarded through Governor  Andrew  Cuomo’s 2011 Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

The state commitment will be used to attract private funds and launch a multi-phase $4.5 million project to update the public spaces at Canopus Lake, including restrooms and changing areas for both summer and winter park goers, beach improvements, the additions of a new playground and fishing pier and new environmentally sustainable upgrades throughout the area.

The Canopus Lake Beach Complex is open during the summer and winter seasons. In the summer, the area is used for swimming, fishing, birding, hiking and family outings. In the winter, the area is transformed to the Fahnestock Winter Park. Activities at the Winter Park include cross country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. Last winter the Winter Park hosted upwards of 800 to 1,000 per weekend day. Fahnestock State Park, which welcomes 250,000 visitors annually, also boasts campgrounds, a butterfly garden, a Bird Conservation Area and is home to a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. But like so many of New York’s State Parks, Fahnestock’s deteriorating and outdated facilities and recreational features are diminishing the destination.

“We are grateful to Governor Cuomo, the Mid-Hudson Regional  Economic  Council and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for this important seed money,” said Erik Kulleseid, executive director of the Alliance for New York State Parks. “The Alliance recognizes there are limited state funds to properly maintain and restore New York State’s chronically underfunded state park system. That is why we are committed to building stronger public-private partnerships and stepping up with private fundraising efforts. This award will allow us to leverage the state’s funding and transform this spectacular four-season park.”

“The two buildings to be renovated are the gateway to the Canopus Beach Complex leading from the parking area to the beach and Winter Park. The existing facilities are not able to adequately serve park patrons and diminish visitor experiences at the park. This grant will allow New York State Parks and its private partners to improve the facilities for thousands and thousands of New Yorkers and tourists to the area,” said Katrina Shindledecker president of FOFHH.

“A quality state park system, by promoting tourism and making our state more appealing to business decision-makers, is critical to New York’s economic revitalization,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “I’m thankful to Governor Cuomo for advancing an innovative economic development strategy that invests in regional assets such as Fahnestock Memorial State Park, as well as the Alliance and FOFHH for stepping forward to be such great stewards of the park.”

Under design plans advanced by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the entire Canopus Lake beach area will be transformed through a three-phase project.

  • Rebuilding the Aging and Outdated Visitor Center Complex
    Under the plan, the outdated, cramped and broken restroom, changing facilities and café space will be reconfigured, made fully accessible and updated to provide better first aid, ski rental and concession services. ($1.05 million)
  • Transforming the Swimming Beach
    Submerged vegetation and sedimentation over the past 50 years have diminished the swimming area. Plans call for dredging of the beach, enhancing the landscaping to reduce maintenance costs and adding amenities including a new playground, fishing pier and picnic areas. ($1.65 million)
  • Reconfiguring and Improving Parking, Courtyard and Recreational Areas
    A better, smarter design of the public spaces will enhance water quality of the lake while improving the visitor experience and creating a new opportunity for recreational ball fields. ($1.77 million)

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has identified a backlog of capital rehabilitation needs across the 213 state parks and historic sites. The list totals $1.1 billion, of which $461 million is associated with basic health and safety projects and $595 million with deteriorated and worn-out facilities in need of rehabilitation.

The Alliance for New York State Parks, a program of the Open Space Institute, is committed to the restoration, maintenance and support of New York State’s 213 state parks and historic sites. The Alliance is spearheading a number of capital campaigns throughout the state. 

Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks support  the stewardship of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks. They promote the preservation of the parks’ natural and historic resources, as well as educational and recreational opportunities for the public. This is done in partnership with OPRHP, other organizations and the community through advocacy, education, volunteerism and fundraising. In addition to partnering with the Alliance on the Canopus Beach project, FOFHH has completed a number of capital improvements at the parks and invested in equipment for the Fahnestock Winter Park. To learn more visit www.fofhh.org.

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