Governor Hochul Announces Improved Public Access to Hempstead Lake State Park

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of $3.6 million in improvements to Hempstead Lake State Park on Long Island that improve public accessibility to the park and its namesake lake, the most large body of fresh water in Nassau County. The project included creating 4.75 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as improving connections to the lake and ponds with a kayak launch and boat dock. sin.

“These improvements will expand much-needed access to outdoor recreation for Long Island families, while making the community more resilient to future storms,” Governor Hochul said. “The ongoing transformation of Hempstead Lake State Park will help protect Hewlett Bay, reduce flood risk, provide visitors with better recreational opportunities, and educate the next generation of Long Islanders. on the environmental challenges facing the region.”

Recently completed works in the park which is now open to the public include:

  • a new ADA-compliant fishing pier on Hempstead Lake with drill-through decks for improved fish habitat;
  • a new 20-foot observation tower that offers panoramic views:
  • a new elevated walkway that provides ADA access to the tower;
  • a new ADA-compliant kayak launch with a landing ramp;
  • two raised pedestrian crossings with flashing solar stop signs;
  • new 10-foot-wide trails with stone dust optimized for riding: and
  • new stairs and handrails ensuring safe public access to the lake.

The improvements are part of a $47 million transformation of Hempstead Lake State Park, supported by a $35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and $12 million from Bureau of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) investment fund. . This project is the result of a partnership involving State Parks, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, HUD, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency and US Fish and Wildlife Service. The project is part of the Governor’s Office of the Governor’s $125 million Living with the Bay initiative for storm recovery aimed at increasing the resilience of communities along the Mill River and around the bays of the south shore by mitigating storm surge damage; stormwater management to mitigate damage from routine rains; improve habitat and water quality; and improving access to the Mill River through increased educational and recreational opportunities.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said“The support of HUD and the Governor’s Office for storm recovery has made this popular park, which has attracted more than 3.5 million visitors over the past decade, an even more attractive destination for recreation. healthy and safe outdoor spaces in this heavily populated region.Further work is continuing to remodel it to better withstand the extreme weather conditions that are part of human-induced climate change and to help protect its neighboring communities from flooding. .

Katie Brennan, executive director of the governor’s office for storm recovery, said, “Parks are one of our most vital environmental assets. These improvements to Hempstead Lake State Park improve resilience, expand recreation access, and strengthen the community’s social connections to nature and the watershed. We are proud that the park serves as an example of how New York is leading the way in adapting to climate change and building our next generation of resilience leaders.

Senator Chuck Schumer said: “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I fought to secure billions of dollars in federal investments in green, resilient infrastructure across New York, including $125 million for the Mill River watershed, and a much of that money was spent on improvements at Hempstead Lake State. Park. These funds not only make the park and surrounding communities more resilient, but they improve public safety and access so that more Long Islanders can enjoy all the park has to offer, just in time for the ‘summer. I applaud the work of Governor Hochul and New York State Parks, and all of the local, state, and federal partners who have made these improvements possible.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “Hempstead Lake State Park is a Long Island treasure and I applaud the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the significant improvements they have made to the park. Improvements to Hempstead Lake State Park will improve accessibility for Long Island residents, allowing many more visitors to enjoy its scenic green spaces, miles of adventure, and wholesome recreational activities.

Representative Kathleen Rice said: “Hempstead Lake State Park provides essential outdoor recreation space for all of Long Island to enjoy. I’m so glad we’re investing to keep these public lands safe, clean and accessible. »

State Senator Kevin Thomas said: “Hempstead Lake State Park is both a vital environmental resource and an important recreation area enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Nassau County residents and visitors each year. These improvements will allow residents to enjoy this beautiful green space for generations to come. I thank New York State Parks for their continued partnership and dedication to preserving our precious natural resources and improving the quality of life for New Yorkers.

Assemblyman Taylor Darling said: “I am thrilled that Hempstead Lake State Park has completed repairs and modifications to improve accessibility so all New Yorkers can enjoy our beautiful park. As a founding member of the first-ever disability committee, these improvements are so badly needed. These huge improvements will encourage even better adventures for years to come. I want to thank everyone who made this progress possible, especially our parks department, you are all awesome! This is a great accomplishment for everyone involved! »

Assembly Member Judy Griffin said: “I am so excited to see Hempstead Lake State Park’s outstanding projects come to fruition with fun recreational activities for all ages. Assembly District 21 residents and visitors will enjoy the beautiful new hiking, biking and horseback riding trails as well as a new fishing pier and kayak launch. We are so lucky to have this pristine state park in our community and I thank Governor Hochul, New York State Parks and all agencies involved in providing these improvements, upgrades and accessibility to the audience. I look forward to the completion of future projects which are all part of the $47 million transformation of Hempstead Lake State Park. »

Ongoing improvements to stabilize Long Island’s only high-risk dam, Lake Hempstead Dam, are currently underway. The Lake Hempstead Gatehouse and South Pond Entrance House are currently undergoing renovations, with the Lake Hempstead facility set to receive new working sluice gates that will allow park staff to control lake levels before and during storms. Repairs are also planned for the stone facade of the dam to comply with state Department of Environmental Conservation safety regulations. These improvements are expected to be completed by September 2022.

Trail improvements planned for December 2022 also include a new 10-foot-wide stonedust greenway trail to provide a continuous north-south trail network through the park, as well as a new wetland trail in stone dust 8 feet wide.

Other project work scheduled for completion in December 2022 includes improvements to the park’s north ponds to mitigate flood risk on the Mill River and reduce pollution entering Hewlett Bay. Work includes a new parking lot on Eagle Avenue to serve as the entrance, repairs to the Northwest Pond Dam, new drainage culverts, two new steel pedestrian bridges, an observation deck overlooking the northeast pond, systems to collect floating debris entering the ponds area from surrounding heavily urbanized neighborhoods, removal of invasive species with replanting of native species to support improved plant and animal biodiversity, and the creation of new wetlands and channels to filter stormwater from the nearby Southern State Parkway.

Last September, Governor Hochul opened the park’s $8.3 million Environmental Education and Resilience Center as part of this project. The 8,000 square foot center offers hands-on learning on the topics of storm resilience and environmental stewardship; provides space for community outreach; and serves as an emergency coordination center during a disaster response.

The park’s new Environmental Education and Resilience Center features exhibits and information explaining the impacts of climate change, community resilience processes and environmental stewardship, and includes a deck overlooking Lake Hempstead. Additional educational programs throughout the year will help improve the community’s understanding of and their relationship to the Mill River watershed.

The Center includes a community space for environmental education, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and community organizations. The Nassau County Law Enforcement Exploration Program, operated by the Nassau County Police Department, uses the center for local community outreach, anti-gang violence positively engaging youth through mentoring and education. The facility can also function as a storm response “command post” for local disaster response coordination for first responders, as well as an area for utility companies coordinating the implementation. equipment scene, enhancing their emergency response to restore critical utilities.

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 as of 2021 have were visited by a record 78.4 million people. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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