NYS Park Friends

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Friends organizations are essential to the stewardship and promotion of our state park system. These nonprofit organizations—oftentimes made up entirely of volunteers—clear trails, paint buildings, build kiosks, leading interpretive programs, and raise significant money for capital projects.

See a list of Friends groups and our map of NYS Park and Historic Site Friends groups in New York State.

By building the community of park supporters, we can ensure that New York's parks and conservation legacy remains intact. If you are involved with a Friends group that supports one of New York's 215 state parks and historic sites, read below for resources to help build and strengthen your organization.

Ways in which we support Friends Groups

Showing parks love

PTNY organizes the annual I Love My Park Day, in partnership with State Parks, when friends and neighbors of New York’s state parks and historic sites participate in cleanup, beautification, and stewardship events and bring visibility to the entire park system and its needs.

Speaking out for parks

PTNY encourages Park Friends groups and members to educate legislators and decisionmakers about the importance of state parks and historic sites to our state’s economy, health and quality of life through sign-on letters, action alerts, and Park Advocacy Day in Albany, which we organize in partnership with the Alliance for New York State Parks.

Celebrating park champions

Our Park & Trail Recognition Awards honor volunteers, nonprofit organizations, government employees, and corporate partners who have demonstrated a special commitment to New York’s state parks or historic sites.

Spreading the word about parks and the contribution of Friends groups

PTNY publishes the quarterly You Gotta Have Friends e-newsletter, which provides tips and timely information for state park Friends and supporters. We also post news about parks and Friends groups through Facebook, Twitter and our blog. Subscribe.

Supporting Friends groups with grants, one-on-one assistance, information sharing & fiscal admin

PTNY also provides direct support to Friends groups:

  • Through a competitive application process, PTNY awards Park and Trail Partnership Program capacity-building grants to Friends groups for help with outreach, membership development, communications and other organization-building projects.
  • In our TAP Program – the Technical Assistance Program for State Park and Historic Site Friends groups, PTNY staff work one-on-one with groups in areas such as communications, board development, and engaging and recruiting volunteers.
  • Through PTNY’s Fiscal Agent Program we assist fledgling Friends groups by providing a means for them to do fundraising and collect grant monies without going through the arduous process of gaining tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.
  • Use the Discussion Forum to communicate and network with other NYS park and historic site Friends groups.
  • Our online Friends Resource Kit includes links to resources and tips to help build your organization.