The Friends of Allegany State Park Inc. was recently awarded a $10,625 matching grant from the Environmental Protection Fund’s (EPF) Park and Trail Partnership Program to remediate animal damage and seal the Red House Sawmill up for exclusion of future animal entry.

The Friends of Allegany State Park will have to raise an additional $1,875 in matching funds, for a total of $12,500.

The Red House Sawmill represents an important part of Allegany State Park’s history. The mill was moved from its original location on Stoddard Creek in 1946 and rebuilt at its current location at the Red House lower maintenance area. Shuttered in 1991, this once productive mill provided lumber for not only the park but as trade for local services and machinery use. 

The mill is believed to be one of the last of its breed. At the heart of the mill is a 1918 “wheel-less” locomotive steam engine which drove a single cylinder steam engine located in the basement of the building.

Allegany State Park management asked the Friends to tackle this historic renovation project in 2015 after the Friends successfully renovated six McIntosh Cabins once slated for demolition. This long-term project will result in a historic destination point in the park.

Before opening, the mill will need further structural repairs and will be fitted with informational kiosks inside and out. The Friends in cooperation with the park will eventually hold hosted tours of the mill for park patrons. 

“This funding represents a pivotal moment for our project,” said Paul Crawford, Friends of Allegany President. “With it, we will now be able to safely enter the building and start necessary interior repairs and improvements.”

The grant, announced March 19, is one of 22 awards totaling $450,000 for organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York’s state parks and historic sites.

The grants, funded through the EPF, will be matched by almost $150,000 in private and local funding and will support projects to strengthen friends groups and enhance public access and recreational opportunities at state parks and historic sites across the state.

The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants are administered by the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York, a statewide non-profit group.

Friends groups — nonprofit organizations often made up entirely of volunteers — are essential to the stewardship and promotion of our state park system. These dedicated groups raise private funds for capital projects; perform maintenance tasks; provide educational programming; and promote public use through hosting special events. 

“It’s inspiring to see the transformational effect of the Park and Trail Partnership Program grants and how they are enhancing the ability of Friends groups to make an even greater contribution to the stewardship of New York’s great outdoor spaces,” said Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks & Trails New York. “These grant funds will enable groups to leverage more private and federal funding, marshal more volunteer power, and augment the state’s historic investment in parks, trails and other public outdoor places.”