Even a park could use a little bit of spring-cleaning before flowers bloom and wildlife roam, along with many eager trail-goers and bird watchers.
John Boyd Thacher and Thompson Lake State Parks will host “I Love My Park Day” activities Saturday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. The event features a variety of volunteer opportunities. There are six different projects scheduled for the event and organizers are hoping about 100 people turnout. Projects will be available to suit all ages and abilities.
Friends of Thacher Park President John Kilroy said a few groups of six have registered as of last week, along with some individuals and couples. Volunteers must register for the event by calling the park at 872-1237, or through Parks & Trails New York’s website at www.ptny.org.
“There is a tremendous amount of clean up that needs to take place this time of year,” said Friends of Thacher Park President John Kilroy. “We can use all the help we can get.”
The event does more than help beautify the parks, because it fosters community involvement with the parks, said Kilroy. The Friends of Thacher Park could always use more members to help throughout the year, too.
“What it does is it gets people involved with doing jobs in the park and that helps create a sense of ownership,” said Kilroy, “and they are actually effecting what is going on in the park.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the framework for the “NY Parks 2020” plan last month, which will utilize $900 million in public and private funding to modernize state parks. Kilroy said this funding boost assists with capital projects, but operations and maintenance funding remains essentially unchanged.
“Operating budgets have been flat for a few years,” said Kilroy. “The staff at Thacher … is being asked to do more with less.”
There will be cleaning up efforts around the park office, entrances and some picnic areas, along with planting new flowers and shrubs. Volunteers, if possible, should bring shovels and trowels for these activities.
Anyone interested in working on the Indian Ladder Trail should bring rakes, loppers and hand saws. Similar tools will also be needed for work on two new trails. Some stone steps are planned to be rerouted on trails and a 4.2-mile stretch of roadway needs to be cleaned.
There are two choices at Thompsons Lake Campground including clearing winter storm debris or a variety of painting projects at the new restroom facility and possible cabins. Applicable tools should be brought.
At the conclusion of the event, the Friends of Thacher Park will be providing a BBQ lunch for all volunteers. Participants should bring along water and a snack to eat while working during the day.
In the Town of Bethlehem, Selkirk Park is also participating in the statewide event from 9 a.m. to noon. Selkirk Park is located off Thatcher Street in the hamlet and features a playground, youth-sized softball field, and tennis and basketball courts
The first 50 volunteers registering by April 17 will receive a Friends of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation t-shirt. Volunteers are being sought to clear winter debris, rake the ball field, weed, and plant flowers. There will be an activity for younger children at 10 a.m., too.
To register for the Selkirk Park event, visit the Friends of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation website, www.FriendsOfBethlehemParks.org, and click on the “news & events” button.
Parks & Trails New York and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation jointly sponsor the statewide event, with almost 90 parks and historic sites participating.
“We hope New Yorkers who use and love their parks will take advantage of this opportunity to do their part by pitching in at this year’s I Love My Park Day,” Robin Dropkin, executive director for Parks & Trails NY, said in a statement.
Last year, more than 6,000 volunteers turned out for more than 120 projects across more than 80 sites. According to the Governor’s Office, last years statewide event had 12,000 hours of volunteer service contributed.