I Love My Park Day at Long Point State Park

I Love My Park Day 2018

Contributing Writer
Faith Gibbons

“I Love My Park Day” is an annual clean-up event bringing together thousands of volunteers to participate in the beautification and celebration of NYS parks, historic sites, and public lands. From cleaning up trails, planting trees and gardens, restoring park benches and other amenities and more, this state-wide event is important not only for those within the community, but for the many species of wildlife whose homes are in these special places.

Long Point is a 360-acre state park located in the town of Ellery on Chautauqua Lake, New York, and is one of the many, many parks involved in this preservation project. Park amenities include boat launches, dockage, nature trails, playgrounds, grilling areas, bicycle trails, and more. There are even activities for the winter months, such as snowboarding and skiing.

A Popular Event

“Long Point has participated in this event for three years now, and we have always had a great turnout, even in the rain. This year, we are anticipating around 60-80 volunteers,” said Marla Connelly, the General Park Director at Long Point State Park.

“How the event works is, they actually have a whole list of projects lined up for the volunteers to do, if you don’t like doing one thing you can choose another. Things from painting, to playground chipping, to getting flowers in place, to even just picking up twigs. Something I would personally love to see done is the painting of the marina building, it would be great to have that look nice again.

The marina in discussion here is the Ready About Sailing marina owned and run at Long Point State Park. It offers a variety of sailboats for experienced sailors and skippers to rent individually or for groups, the Quarter Deck restaurant, and a ship store.

“Overall, just having beautification and clean up done to make the park look nicer and feel more inviting, that’s our goal,” Connelly said. “And we really appreciate the help this event brings, because it is so difficult for the staff to get everything done in the small window of spring in WNY.”

I Love My Park Day on Long Point State Park is a completely free event, and volunteers and visitors will not have to pay the vehicle admission until the beach is officially open for the season on May 17th 2019.

Friends of Midway

Similar to completing the efforts on the I Love My Park Day events, a group of individuals found the work so important that they created a group dedicated to doing this all-year-round.

The Friends of Midway State Park is a non-profit organization founded by a growing family of park enthusiasts and recreational supporters in 2010 whose mission is to work with New York State to improve, maintain, and financially support the historic Midway State Park on Chautauqua Lake, New York. Those within the group serve as park preservation and historic ambassadors, advocates, and educators, and strive on the involvement of friends and family members as well as outreaching into wider communities, such as corporate and other funding development.

The Friends devote their time and efforts to bettering the amusement park amenities by rehabilitating roller coasters, restoring rides, renovating mechanics, design maintenance and painting, and more, for an overall safer and more enjoyable experience.

Water Toxins in Chautauqua Lake

In the recent past, toxins emitted into the lake from widespread harmful algal blooms (HAB), technically known as Cyanobacteria, which was spotted along the waterline of the parks mentioned above. Upon observation, several signs and notices were placed along the shore to caution visitors away from the blooms, which could be harmful upon contact with humans and animals. HAB usually bloom during the summer and fall months, but can bloom anytime throughout the year, and due to the fact that it is almost impossible to identify the difference between the harmless and harmful types of algae, it is best just to avoid contact with all scums, rafts, or discolored water.

“The algal blooms happen every year, it’s just a matter of when. At that point we follow all state and local guidelines for the parks, other than that it doesn’t have any effect on any other event or amenities happening at the park,” Connelly said.

What We Can Do As A Community

“Many, many agencies are coming together to try and find a solution to this problem, but some of the ways we can help this problem within the community are to stop spraying herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers on your lawns, and to get your septic tanks checked regularly,” Connelly added. “When you spray things like that, they eventually make their way down through the rain water and into the lake. The problem in the lake is nutrient growth, and this is why we have so many weeds in the lake.”

The environment around us is responsible for the animals, food chains, plants, water, creating oxygen, and more. It is our responsibility to protect and maintain the place we call home, as well as keeping it clean and continue improving it for the future generations.

Readers can join the volunteers in enhancing and maintaining this CHQ hidden gem on Saturday May 4th from 10:00 a.m. to noon. To register, please visit www.ptny.org.