Volunteer Opportunities in NYS Parks, Historic Sites, and Public Lands

Parks & Trails New York helps support Friends and champions of public lands across the state by connecting people with the organizations that are mobilizing the next generation of stewards. By showcasing upcoming volunteer opportunities, we are offering a variety of options for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. With opportunities that fit a wide range of service options and time commitments, members of the public can identify unique, benevolent volunteer experiences across the state that suit their needs and interests. The map below showcases stewardship opportunities at parks, trails, and historic sites from our members!  

There are abundant year-round opportunities to volunteer throughout New York State. From beach clean-ups on Long Island to trailside tidying up along the Erie Canal, we have compiled a list for you below. If your site has regular volunteer events or programs for the public, please contact us and we'll include your location.


  • Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) For individuals looking to obtain valuable work experience or to contribute to the conservation of New York State's environment, a variety of volunteer opportunities are available at DEC. These opportunities are specific to DEC's program divisions, and availability varies across the state.
  • Erie Canalway Trail Share your time and talent by volunteering with the Canalway Trail. From trail maintenance and cleanup each spring to serving as a trail ambassador for visitors, or helping promote New York’s Canalway Trail System, there are many ways to get involved.

 Historic Sites and Museums

  • State Historic Site Friends Groups: There are over 75 dedicated volunteer Friends groups throughout New York State offering a multitude of opportunities for you to be engaged. Find a Friends group near you using our interactive map.
  • Erie Canal Sites
    • Erie Canal Museum The popular Syracuse attraction offers opportunities for docents/tour guides, research and curation, maintenance, assistance at special events, and more.
    • Lockport Locks Seeking tour docents, lock tenders, flower tenders, and canal ambassadors.

 New York State Parks

  • State park Friends groups: There are over 75 dedicated volunteer Friends groups throughout New York State offering a multitude of opportunities for you to be engaged. Find a Friends group near you using our interactive map.
  • Other state park opportunities:


  • Jolly Rovers Trail Crew Trained corps of volunteers contributes close to $200,000 of value every year to public parks in the Hudson Valley of New York, specializing in providing sustainable public access to iconic places.
  • Ashokan Rail Trail Stewards Seeking volunteers to become trail Stewards on the Ashokan Rail Trail in Ulster County. Stewards are asked to volunteer for three hour shifts on peak weekends and holidays from spring to fall.
  • Erie Canal Water Trail Stewards Become a Water Trail Steward and join this impressive effort to take care of all 450 miles of the NYS Canalway Water Trail.
  • Erie Canal Bike Gardens Volunteers are needed to help maintain the gardens in a seven-mile section of the Erie Canalway Trail near Buffalo.