We Are NYParticipants Will Celebrate New York’s Public Lands by Volunteering in Cleanup and Stewardship Events Throughout the State

Events Include Canal Clean Sweep from April 19-21 and I Love My Park Day on May 4

Efforts Align With Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Announcement to Plant 25 Million Trees Across New York State by 2033  

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York State agencies and partners will celebrate a series of stewardship days to help enhance parks, historic sites and public lands. Service projects during four events held throughout the year will raise awareness and visibility of the state’s many outdoor recreation assets and their needs during the Love Our New York Lands Stewardship Days.  

“With a record number of New Yorkers and visitors taking advantage of the world class outdoor recreation opportunities our state has to offer, we have a responsibility to preserve the unparalleled beauty of New York’s outdoor spaces,” Governor Hochul said. “I invite all New Yorkers to show how much they love our New York lands and take part in these stewardship opportunities to support the environmental and cultural legacy of our state lands.” 

To encourage year-round stewardship, the goal of Love Our New York Lands is to help protect the state’s natural resources by providing visitors with the knowledge necessary to reduce their impact, engage users to practice sustainable and safe recreation and help all visitors feel welcome while visiting state lands. These efforts to enhance New York’s public lands align with Governor Hochul’s plan to plant 25 million trees across New York State by 2033, announced during her 2024 State of the State.

In partnership with Parks & Trails New York, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York State Canal Corporation and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will support statewide volunteer opportunities that kick off with Canal Clean Sweep from April 19-21. Events that follow include I Love My Park Day on May 4, Adirondack and Catskill Park Day on September 7 and Fish and Wildlife Day on September 28.  

Registration is currently open for the 19th annual Canal Clean Sweep on April 19-21. The annual clean-up event is held across the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail with over 170 volunteer events to select from. Visit www.ptny.org/canalsweep to sign up for the event you would like to attend. Make sure to note the date and time as most events occur the weekend of April 19-21.

The 13th annual I Love My Park Day will take place on May 4 with registration opening April 3. This is the largest statewide volunteer event that enhances our public lands, with volunteers participating by cleaning up debris, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitats, removing invasive species and working on various site improvement projects. More information can be found at https://www.ptny.org/ilovemypark.

New event opportunities will be available with Adirondack & Catskill Park Day on September 7 and Fish & Wildlife Day on September 28. These events will highlight the unique Forest Preserve lands that are found in New York State and enhance wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation. More information will be available at https://www.ptny.org/lovenylands.

Love Our New York Lands stewardship days come as New York State continues to celebrate the 100th anniversary the State Parks system. Celebratory initiatives include ‘Blazing A Trail,’ an interactive timeline chronicling the agency’s history and influential figures; an exhibit in the New York State Capitol’s State Street Tunnel currently on view; the Share Your Story project, which invites people to tell their own stories relating to Parks and Sites; the Centennial Challenge, which encourages people to win prizes by participating in various activities at parks and sites; and the release of the Centennial Collection merchandise, which includes t-shirts, hoodies, mugs and more. Additional initiatives will be announced throughout 2024.

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Paul Steely White said, “Thanks to the extraordinary leadership and investment in recent years, New Yorkers have come to embrace their public lands! This strong sense of ownership is of course something to be celebrated, and now – with this wonderful slate of volunteer events – expanded and encouraged. Great and public displays of caring are the most reliable indicators that our beloved parks and preserves are performing as they should.”

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, “Thank you to our partners at Parks & Trails New York for organizing and continuing to expand the opportunities to give back and promote responsible stewardship. Our volunteers are crucial in making our state park system the very best in the nation and we look forward to welcoming volunteers for these events and inspiring the next generation of visitors to help maintain and preserve our amazing public lands.”

 New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “We are thrilled to have the 19th annual Canal Clean Sweep kick-off Love Our New York Lands Stewardship Days this year. Each spring, hundreds of volunteers come together at numerous Canal Clean Sweep events to ensure the Canalway Trail is spruced up and ready to welcome the millions of recreational enthusiasts that will visit in the coming months. As we prepare for the start of our 200th consecutive navigation season this May and the Erie Canal’s Bicentennial in 2025, the Canal Clean Sweep is an example of our commitment to be good environmental stewards so that future generations may enjoy this tremendous resource.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New and returning visitors to New York lands are helping increase the public’s appreciation of the State’s environmental and recreational assets. The Love Our New York Lands campaign continues to promote safe and responsible recreation and events with Parks & Trails New York and our State agency partners and bolster our efforts to protect State lands and sites by encouraging visitors to plan ahead, visit responsibly, and practice Leave No Trace™ principles to collectively preserve public lands for generations to come.”

 About Parks & Trails New York
Parks & Trails New York is New York's leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space for all. With thousands of members and supporters across the state, PTNY is a leading voice in the protection of New York's magnificent state park system and the creation and promotion of more than 1,500 miles of greenways, bike paths, river walks and trails. More information can be found here.

 About New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app  or call 518.474.0456. Join us in celebrating our Centennial throughout 2024, and connect with us on  Facebook,  Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and the OPRHP Blog.

About New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation manages five million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, 55 campgrounds and day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. Plan your next outdoor adventure and connect with us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Flickr and Instagram.

About the New York State Canal System
New York’s Canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga – Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique communities. The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York Power Authority. Like Canals on Facebook at NYS Canal Corporation and follow Canals on Twitter at @NYSCanalCorp.