Officials marked the grand opening of Hallock State Park Preserve on the North Fork this week, making it the first New York State Park to be added to Long Island in years.
The park’s facilities include a 3,000-square-foot visitor center with a classroom and interactive educational displays as well as new hiking and equestrian trails, fishing, non-motor-powered boating and even scuba diving. The 225-acre plot of land was originally purchased from Keyspan Energy for $16 million in 2003, but wasn’t officially opened to the public until Tuesday.
“Good things come in good time,” Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State parks department, told those gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The park is the 27th state park on LI, but is only one of four on the Island that have the distinction of being a park preserve, which offers the highest level of protection in the state parks system.
“Opening Hallock State Park Preserve reflects the history of the area and the Hallock family, who owned the property for centuries, and is the last piece of this momentous preservation effort,” said Suffolk County Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).
“It’s really half the game to save the land,” added Harvey. “So now how are we going to develop it?”
That question was answered in part by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Parks 2020 initiative, which seeks to allocate $900 million over seven years to the restoration and beautification of all 215 of state parks.
The initiative provided $2 million to the Hallock State Park’s development. The Trust for Public Land donated another $2 million as well as a $1 million that will go toward operating costs.
The visitor center was developed with a focus on environmental sustainability, using geo-thermal heating and cooling, cutting edge nitrogen-reducing sanitary wastewater treatment in the restrooms and high-efficiency LED lighting throughout the facility, officials said.
“This is an exciting day for all of us, the newest state park in the oldest state parks system in the country,” said Brian Erwin, chairman of Long Island State Parks Commission. “My little girls, who are sitting there, when they start to travel and someone asks them, ‘tell me about the North Fork, tell me about your agricultural history, tell me about the beauty, tell me about your maritime tradition, tell me about the new methods and how you’re mindful of the environment, tell me about sustainable farms,’ they can come right here, to the old North Road, to Hallock State Park Preserve.”
Hallock State Park Preserve is located at 6062 Sound Ave. in Jamesport. For more information, call 631-323-2440 or visit parks.ny.gov/parks