In a press statement, NY state governor, Andrew Cuomo said of the new plans to renovate the Southwick Beach State Park that state parks were essential to New York’s thriving tourism industry. Cuomo said, “The addition of a new bathhouse and concession building combined with restoration of the environmentally sensitive coastal sand dunes. This and other environmental protection measures will help revitalize Southwick Beach State Park.”
The $5.2 million beach area renovation project will be the first major improvement to the popular beachfront park in 50 years. It will feature a new bathhouse and concession building as well as restored dunes. In addition, a new “green” parking lots will enhance environmental protection.
Southwick Beach State Park is located on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. It is the busiest day-use park among New York state parks in the Thousand Islands region. It boasts a 112-site campground.
According to a local website, Southwick Beach State Park is spacious and popular. It’s known for outstanding swimming and sunning on its long sandy beach. Campers and day-users enjoy picnicking, hiking and games on the playing fields. The park is located next to the Lakeview Wildlife Management Area, which is home to the environmentally-sensitive coastal sand dunes. Park nature, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails adjoin the wildlife management area and its trail system, which visitors are encouraged to use. During the winter, snowmobilers are permitted in the park. Deer hunting is allowed south of the park entrance in season. Here’s a virtual tour of Southwick beach.
The area improvement plans include a public gathering station, food concession, nature trails, hiking trails, picnic areas reservable for patron use. The project also includes new concession kitchen and camp store, outdoor fireplace, patio area, walkways and three rental pavilions, laundry room, a games arcade, a entrance drive and sidewalk/bike path connection to campsites and a lifeguard and first aid station.
The project also includes several features to protect the park’s environment. New parking lots will be installed with proper storm water systems, bio retention ponds, and a combination of standard asphalt pavement, porous pavement, reinforced grass paver parking, and overflow grass parking to filter pollutants from stormwater runoff and protect water quality. The project will also construct an enhanced dune system to improve shoreline habitat and prevent erosion and blowing sand, and will include wood boardwalks and a treed day-use area.
Funding for the project comes from Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 initiative and a $1 million grant from the Environmental Facilities Corporation.
The 540-acre Southwick Beach State Park is spacious and popular, known for outstanding swimming and sunning on its long sandy beach. More than 120,000 annual campers and day-users enjoy picnicking, hiking and games on the playing fields.
Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 program commits about $900 million over the next years in private and public funding for State Parks to 2020. In addition, Connect Kids to Parks program provides free day-use park entry to fourth-grade students and their families, and offers transportation grants to help students from underserved schools visit state parks and historic sites.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual state parks, historic sites, golf courses, boat launches and recreational trails, which are visited by 71 million people annually.
Pic credits: By Easchiff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4672003. By The SeaWiFS project, annotation by Wikipedia editor Easchiff – Annotated and cropped version of public domain Commons image Image:Lakes Erie and Ontario – satellite.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4735104
Check out the New York State Tourism Directory