dziaksBy Alicia Dziak

On May 4, almost 50 volunteers gathered on the Red House side of Allegany State Park (ASP) to participate in the second annual I Love My Park Day, dedicated to improving the wonderful parks and historic sites across New York State. The event, organized by Parks & Trails New York, in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, aims to boost volunteerism and raise the visibility of the entire state parks system and its needs.

“All ages welcome” meant this was a great opportunity for families to enjoy the outdoors while helping make ASP even more scenic. Preschoolers to teenagers to grandparents could be seen proudly wearing their “I Love My Park” T-shirts throughout the park.

Volunteers picked up litter around the lake, throughout the picnic areas, on cabin trails and at Thunder Rocks. Shrubs were pruned back around the lake, the bike path was swept clean of debris and the memorial benches received a new layer of clear coat.

I Love My Park Day was held in conjunction with Friends of Allegany’s monthly meeting, held the first Saturday of every month, which entails volunteer work on both the Red House and Quaker sides of the park.

“Friends of Allegany State Park was started as a result of inquiries as to how folks could give back something to the park that has given so much to us,” said Paul Crawford, founder of Friends of Allegany. “Due to tight budgets and the immense size of the park, some areas have fallen into neglect. This is where we hope to fill the void. Through volunteerism and donations, we have monthly events to help clean up and maintain all areas of the park. We meet the first Saturday of each month May through September, and the places and projects will be posted on the various ASP Facebook pages well in advance.”

On May 4, the Friends of Allegany centered their attention around Group Camp 12, ASP’s oldest in-service group camp, by giving several of the cabins a fresh coat of “Allegany green” paint.  They also cleared litter and pruned back some of the shrubs around the cabins.

Overall, the combined efforts of the Friends of Allegany and I Love My Park Day volunteers resulted in a productive and successful day.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather!” said Cassie Wright, ASP Recreation Assistant. “The volunteers were all so enthusiastic to be giving back to the place they all love so much. I can’t thank them enough for the hours they put into this park!”

Allegany State Park has a variety of volunteer opportunities available for everyone, including National Public Lands Day, scheduled for Sept. 28, 2013. For more details of these opportunities, “like” the Friends of Allegany page on Facebook, or contact Cassie Wright at  (716) 354-9101 ext. 236 or email

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