Everything needs some tidying up now and then.
This holds true for state parks and historic sites. On the first Saturday of each May, volunteers give their time to clean up these popular destinations so that others can enjoy them.
I Love My Park Day is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Projects will be held both Saturday and Sunday at sites across the state, including in several locations in and around the four-county GLOW region.
While registration had filled for some of the more than a half-dozen projects in our region – COVID-19 restrictions has limited the size of some projects this year – there were still slots open for work planned Saturday at Highbanks Camping and Recreation Area at Letchworth State Park.
At the Highbanks Area, volunteers are needed for garden and lawn maintenance, trail work, invasive species removal and general building clean up. The work is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon.
Slots may also be available for one of the Genesee Valley Greenway projects in Mount Morris. At 10 a.m. Saturday, general cleanup of the Greenway is planned along sections of the trail between the parking lot near the RG&E building by the bridge over the Genesee River, and the Connor Avenue area.
Several projects are planned for Letchworth State Park. Another clean up in the Upper and Middle Falls area of the park will include general landscape cleaning, and around trails in the area, the Letchworth Museum, playground maintenance, tree planting and invasive plant removal.
Several Greenway locations, including Cuba, Hinsdale and Scottsville have projects planned. And gate painting will take place along the Greenway in Mount Morris (sign-up for that project has passed).
Other nearby projects include clean-ups at Stony Brook State Park and along state Route 36 along the park’s borders; Hamline Beach State Park, and Golden Hill State Park/30 Mile Point Lighthouse.
The annual “I Love My Park” event is organized by Parks and Trails New York, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. It’s the largest single-volunteer event in the state, according to the DEC. This year’s events will be modified for safe, in-person opportunities with mandated social distancing and masks.
I Love My Park Day has traditionally attracted thousands of volunteers from across the state to participate in cleanup, improvement, and beautification events at New York State parks and historic sites. These volunteers celebrate New York’s park system by cleaning up park lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trail and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and working on various site improvement projects
The work by the volunteers will help remove remnants of winter storms and leftover fall debris as we prepare to arrive in some of the most beautiful seasons in our region.
Outdoor activities, even a simple walk along a trail on a sunny day, will go a long way toward lifting spirits as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
And if you are unable to join one of the organized park efforts, consider doing your part by walking through your local park and cleaning up some trash that may have lingered.
What better way to get started on the new season then doing your little bit to bring some sparkle back to our local parks.
How to participate