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Green Lakes State Park to get more renovations

Ellen Abbott
The view of Green Lakes from the state park's clubhouse

New York state is expected to break ground this fall on a new environmental education center at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville – the second part of an almost $17 million upgrade of the busiest state park in central New York.

A circa 1940s boat house, that’s been deteriorating for years at the park will be transformed into an education center with indoor classrooms and high-tech amenities. Along with that, an outdoor classroom will be created with a lakefront boardwalk and a canoe and kayak landing and fishing pier.

Credit Courtesy of New York State
Rendering of the new outdoor classroom and education center at the park.

New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey says it’s meant to be a place anyone can learn about Green Lakes.

“From an environmental prospective, what are these lakes? What are the significance, why are they blue-green? What about the trails and the 800 acres of old growth forest? What is an old growth forest, why should we protect it?” Harvey said are some of the things the new center will educate visitors about.

The upgrade also will create a place for outdoor recreation, especially for students in schools that don’t have access to an outdoor area like Green Lakes.

Credit Courtesy of New York State
Rendering of the new educational center at Green Lakes State Park.

SUNY ESF is also working with the state on the project. Faculty member and former president Neil Murphy is heading up plans to raise money to complete the picture.

"The state gives us an improved structure, but it doesn’t give the amenities that can really advance the educational mission, and it’s those amenities that we’re going to raise money to get those in place and make this a high quality educational experience,” Murphy said. “Computers and digital displays -- all those things that will be necessary. Also sampling equipment. That kind of thing that the young people can use and understand the water quality of the green lakes themselves.”

This state’s plan follows a recent $10 million renovation of the park’s golf course club house, campgrounds and park entrance.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.