Restoration of dam infrastructure, new trails, and northern pond cleaning are the latest projects to complete the park’s transformation.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the completion of a $47 million, multi-year project at Hempstead Lakes State Park on Long Island. Final work includes two miles of new ADA-compliant stone powder and bridle trails, viewing platforms, improvements to the park’s northern pond to mitigate flood risk and pollution, and restoration of 150-year-old Hempstead lake dam. These important infrastructure improvements will help transform the park’s services to the public while also making it more climate-change resilient.
“Hempstead Lake State Park’s updated infrastructure underscores New York’s commitment to climate resilience and demonstrates our commitment to protecting communities most vulnerable to increases in extreme weather events,” Governor Hocher said. “I’m proud to celebrate the completion of this multi-year project that expands recreational opportunities, protects our environment and supports climate resilience, making surrounding communities safer.”
The park’s 144-acre Northern Ponds complex was upgraded in the final phase of a $47 million general improvement plan, with nearly $17 million in major improvements to mitigate Mill River flood risk, reduce access to Hewlett Bay pollution and improved recreational trails. As one of the largest wetland projects ever completed by a New York State Park, construction of the eight-acre emerging wetland now allows South State Parkway runoff to flow slowly through, filtering and purifying the water before it enters the Northeast Pond.
Restoration of the Northwest Pond Dam was also completed to maintain the existing water levels that have been creating an enhanced and diverse habitat since Superstorm Sandy washed away the dam in 2012. Additional work includes a new Eagle Avenue parking lot serving as the trail entry entrance, a viewing deck overlooking the northeast pond, removal of invasive species by replanting native species to support enhanced plant and animal biodiversity, and collection of floating debris entering the pond system. Pond area in surrounding highly urbanized neighborhood. Over the course of a year, more than 100 tons of decades-old trash and debris that flowed down the upper Mill Creek were manually removed from the entire North Pond complex.
Trail improvements include a new 10-foot wide Stone Dust Greenway trail to provide a continuous north-to-south trail system through the park, a new 8-foot wide Stone Dust Wetland trail and two new pedestrian walkways Flyover to accommodate emergency and maintenance vehicles.
New York State Park Service Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said:“The end result of these important infrastructure projects will help make Hempstead Lakes State Park and surrounding communities safer and more resilient to future storms, while improving the community’s opportunities for outdoor recreation. These fortifications will help Ensuring the structural integrity of the dam and continuing our excellent work improving Hempstead Lake State Park and making it more welcoming to visitors.”
New York State Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said:“Building resilient communities requires strategic investments that protect life and property and strengthen residents’ connection to the natural environment. Through the award-winning Living with the Bay program and our partnership with New York State Parks, those living in People’s watersheds on the Mill River are better protected from flooding, have cleaner water, and have better access to natural resources.”
State Senator Kevin Thomas said, “The completion of the Hempstead Lakes State Park renovation marks an important step in the park’s transformation, ensuring it remains a vibrant open space for residents and visitors to enjoy. I am proud to support these investments and look forward to seeing Positive impact on the park. The environment and our quality of life. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing the health and safety of Long Islanders and pushing for a greener, cleaner and more climate-resilient region.”
Councilor Tyler Darling said, “We want everyone to enjoy our New York State Parks, especially those in Ward 18, and adding new, more accessible trails provides all New Yorkers with the opportunity to enjoy Hempstead Lakes State Park’s beautiful trails, lakes and and wildlife opportunities. Improving accessibility is very important to me as a member of the Disability Council. Additional improvements to park infrastructure will make Hempstead Lakes State Park resilient to climate change as we continue to Striving for a Cleaner Environment “Keep New York greener by taking care of our incredible state parks. Thank you Governor Hochul and everyone involved, this is a huge achievement. “
National Parks Board Chairman Bryan Erwin said, “There is no better week than early summer to celebrate the completion of nearly 10 years of investment in Hempstead Lakes State Park. These investments will ensure that Hempstead is resilient to climate change while being a welcoming haven for the surrounding community. “.
Nassau County Legislator Siela A. Bynoe said, “Through years of investment, New York State has preserved the natural treasures within Hempstead Lake State Park and made them accessible to every resident of the surrounding community. We are grateful to Governor Hochul for spearheading a collaborative approach that brings together community leaders, stakeholders, and elected officials at all levels of government so they can contribute their expertise and insights to this regionally significant effort.”
Francis X. Murray, Village Chief of Rockville Center Village, said, “Hempstead Lakes State Park has been a wonderful place for our residents for many years. Whether it’s fishing, hiking, tennis, pickle ball, ball courts, or just enjoying all that nature has to offer, Hempstead Lake State Parks checks it all out “The $47 million renovation of the massive park will ensure that this unique facility remains available for generations to come. All levels of government working together to achieve this goal is what residents should expect from elected leaders in return. “
Hempstead Village Mayor Welling Hobbs Jr. said, “We are very excited by Governor Hochul’s announcement of the completion of the $47 million project at Hempstead Lakes State Park. This funding provides us with new access to the park and brings new vitality and sustainability. Additionally, we are grateful that funding this program will help our workforce develop. We thank Governor Hochul for his leadership.”
Town of Hempstead Deputy Superintendent Dorothy Goosby said, “Our parks are the best resource we have for relaxing, recovering, and connecting with family. I’m glad the improvement project has been completed; the wait was worth it. Thanks to Governor Hochul’s leadership, Hempstead Lakes State Park has truly come true After the transformation, our community will enjoy a beautiful place to enjoy for years to come.”
Additionally, structural improvements to stabilize the Hempstead Lake Dam, built in 1873 at a cost of $4 million and the only high-hazard dam on Long Island, are now complete. The restoration work of the dam stone face is in compliance with the regulations of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEC). The project restores the dam’s operational infrastructure to improve safety and help maintain water levels to support the park’s water bodies and their surrounding habitats and ecosystems.
The renovation of the Hempstead Lake Concierge and South Pond Inlet House (which share a newly renovated and restored 800-foot underground pipe-arch culvert) equipped the Hempstead Lake facility with new operable lock gates, allowing the park to Staff were able to control the lake level before entering the water and at the inlet. during a storm. The Gatehouse also installed new water level monitoring and lake temperature measurement equipment, providing information to assess seasonal and long-term changes in lake conditions and real-time data to better manage Hempstead Lake’s stormwater storage capacity. This will also serve as a long-term baseline against which future hydrological changes can be compared.
The $47 million renovation of Hempstead Lake State Park was supported by a $35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a $12 million capital fund from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks). The project is a collaboration between State Parks, the Office of Resilient Homes and Communities, HUD, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.This is part of RHC’s $125 million funding “Coexisting with the Gulf” An initiative to increase the resilience of Nassau County communities along the Mill River and around South Shore Bay.
2021, Hempstead Lake State Park $8.3 million Center for Environmental Education and Resilience completed. The 8,000-square-foot center provides hands-on learning on topics such as storm resilience and environmental stewardship; provides space for community outreach; and serves as an emergency coordination center during disaster response.
Hempstead Lake State Park is a 737-acre multi-use facility that includes 18 tennis courts, 6 pickleball courts (2 hard courts plus 4 pickleball courts ball fields), children’s playground, basketball court, softball field, riding, biking and hiking trails, shaded picnic areas, a beautiful lookout overlooking Hempstead Lake, and a historic hand-carved wooden carousel. There are also three freshwater bodies available for fishing: Hempstead Lake, MacDonald Pond and South Pond. At 167 acres, Hempstead Lake is Long Island’s largest freshwater lake.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, pleasure boat launches and more, with a record 79.5 million visits in 2022.For more information on recreational activities in these areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov,free download New York State Park Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456.Also, connect to Facebook, Instagram and Twi