About NYS Friends Groups

Friends of Fillmore Glen Big Check Event 2020

Friends groups are grassroots, non-profit organizations that champion our public lands and are essential to the stewardship and promotion of our state park system. These nonprofit organizations—oftentimes made up entirely of volunteers—clear trails, paint buildings, build kiosks, lead interpretive programs, and raise significant money for capital projects.

These volunteer groups have a large impact, accounting for more than $17 million in fundraising to benefit their respective parks in 2018, according to our Friends by the Numbers report. That impact was on top of nearly 132,000 hours of work by more than 5,100 volunteers, valuing over $3 million.

By cultivating dynamic park communities and enhancing a network of supporters, we can ensure that New York's parks and conservation legacy remains intact. One of the primary ways that PTNY achieves our mission is by supporting the network of 70+ Friends groups that help steward and increase access to our parks, sites, and public lands--helping groups continue to thrive in an ever changing landscape of environmental education and outdoor recreation.

Ways in which we support Friends Groups

Showing Parks Love

PTNY organizes the annual I Love My Park Day, in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), when friends and neighbors of New York’s state parks and historic sites participate in cleanup, beautification, and stewardship events and bring visibility to the entire park system and its needs.

Learn More About I Love My Park Day


Speaking Out for Parks 

PTNY encourages Friends groups and members to educate legislators and decision-makers about the importance of state parks and historic sites to our state’s economy, health and quality of life through sign-on letters, action alerts, and Park Advocacy Day in Albany, which we organize in partnership with the Open Space Institute's Alliance for New York State Parks.

Learn More About Park Advocacy Day


Supporting Friends: The Park and Trail Partnership Grants

PTNY provides direct support to Friends groups through a competitive application process. PTNY awards Park and Trail Partnership capacity-building grants to Friends groups for help with outreach, membership development, communications and other organization-building projects.

Learn More About the Park and Trail Partnership Grant


Sharing Resources and Providing Technical Assistance

PTNY hosts workshops for Friends throughout the years on topics such as fundraising and development, volunteer management, board governance, and more. We also provide an abundance of resources for Friends on these topics and provide technical assistance for issues that may arise.

Learn More About Resources for Friends