Parks - Rochester, NY area

Consider how important our parks (areas of nature owned by the public) to us and our environment, including NewsLinks, Resources, and Information for the Rochester, NY area.     

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Page Contents: Parks NewsLinks | Discussions | Official Park Info | Park Groups | Individual Listing | Other Nearby Parks | Parks Resources |


The Rochester/Monroe County area has a lot of parks (three are Olmstead Parks) and these are environmentally benign and public areas, in the midst of an area continually in growth. 

It is up to the public to insure that various groups do not try and privatize what has been set Monroe County Parks aside for the public to educate themselves about our environment and to provide a respite from continually development.  My goal is give an overall impression on how important these last remaining areas of undeveloped land in our county contributes to our environmental health. 

Seneca Park in Monroe County is one of three Olmstead parks in our area. Frederick Law Olmsted, A celebration of the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted, founder of American landscape architecture. More on Frederick Law Olmsted


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SEARCH: Use search engine below to find anything posted since 1998.

Park Discussions

Rochester area parks are forever changing. But, are they changing for the better and in the public interest.

  • Closing our parks, tough environmental choices Friday, June 4th, 2010 The prospect of closing a quarter of our New York State parks looked ominous indeed as the Memorial Day weekend approached this year. But at the last... Keep Reading »
  • Plan for Washington Grove Park Monday, May 24th, 2010 Several residents who live near and around Rochester’s Washington Grove Park recently attended a meeting hosted by city officials, who presented... Keep Reading »
  • Governor Paterson Announces Legislature Accepts Spending Reductions to Fully Fund Parks Governor David A. Paterson today announced that an agreement has been reached with the Legislature to ensure there are sufficient revenues to maintain operations at all New York State parks and historic sites, including all Department of Environmental Conservation campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The agreement with the Legislature achieves $74 million in State General Fund savings and contains Governor Paterson's E-waste Program Bill.  (May 27, 2010) [more on Parks in our area]
  • 5/21/2010 - The Plan for Washington Grove Park: Several residents who live near and around the city’s Washington Grove Park attended a meeting by city officials on the new work plan for resolving some of the issues that have built up over the years.  The work plan includes: control of invasive species, replanting, trail recovery, park visitation, stewardship, and planning.  The meeting was not well attended, nor representative of concerned residents, because a couple of close-by neighborhoods (including The Upper Monroe Avenue Association UMNA) were not notified of this event.  That’s too bad because there will be some changes, including taking down several large Norway Maple trees (invasive species), that will impact those who enjoy the park regularly.   One attendee remarked that the public would better understand the efforts by the city, which include chain sawing large trees, if they were adequately informed and educated on the environmental and other issues in the park that are trying to be addressed.  If you are concerned about the new measures taken by the city, Email Mr. Brian Liberti, City Forester with questions or comments, or call the Division of Forestry at (585) 428-7581. Also, to help the city identify resident’s use of this park, complete an online survey of how you use the park: City of Rochester | Washington Grove Park Visitor Survey.  Check here for the city website on Washington Grove Park: City of Rochester | Washington Grove Workplan Development Washington Grove is a woodland area nestled on the eastern edge of Cobbs Hill Park . In 2008, a coalition of neighborhood associations, led by the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club, came together to develop a management plan for Washington Grove. The group worked to identify the users of the Grove, their needs and interests, and the problems facing the area. They produced a draft management plan and provided it to City officials for their review. On May 20th, 2010, the City will hold a community meeting to present its work plan for the Grove. The work plan will be posted here afterwards.
  • Commandeering the Commons Our small urban public parks that were created and are maintained for the enjoyment and refuge of its landlords (us) and to preserve the last vestige of Nature in our cities are under continual assault. Note the history of our own urban parks that have over the years resisted morphing into golf courses, zoos, dog runs, drug havens, soccer fields and (perhaps the worst) neglect by a myriad of tactics. These tactics have included everything from public appeals to secret deals. more ...
  • Climate Change and our National Parks Scientists are watching how Climate Change is going to affect our National Parks: NPCA | Climate Change and National Park Wildlife: A Survival Guide for a Warming World  more...
  • A Parks For All? Some in the Monroe County area believe that everyone should have the right to use our public parks for whatever they please, as they are public parks. Laissez Faire of the Commons, sort of thing. Yet, we have many restrictions on how the public uses any of our public facilities. We do not allow bicycling on 490, 590, 390, or the New York State Thruway. Alternatively, we do not allow motorized vehicles (except maintenance) on the New York State Canal Path. So, should we allow aggressive biking off-trail in our parks? They do pay taxes.  more... .

Genesee Park in mid April 2010

Genesee Park (an Olmstead Park) on a sunny April weekend day. 


Official Rochester area parks information

Find out about our areas parks: rules, information, reservations, and more.

  • National Park Service: Maps, passes, information--everything you need from the government on our national parks. 
  • Parks | Monroe County, NY The Parks Department is comprised of dedicated staff working with community partners in effectively and efficiently providing an array of park services. This ensures that everyone may enjoy recreational and educational opportunities while treasuring the natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological features of the Monroe County Parks System.
  • New York State Canals: Excursions and Vacations: Biking and Hiking the Canalway Trail is comprised of a network of more than 240 miles of existing multi-use, recreational trails across upstate New York. Major segments are adjacent to the waterways of the New York State Canal System (see our map) or follow remnants of the historic original canals of the early 1800s that preceded today's working Canal System. Also: New York State Canals: News
  • City of Rochester | Parks Rochester has more than 3,500 acres of nationally recognized parks where you can explore, play, rest or entertain. Some of these parks were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park. Rochester's parks offer active and passive forms of recreation, from organized sports facilities and playgrounds, to scenic overlooks and trails for solitary walks and jogs. Our park amenities include picnic areas, lodges, playgrounds, ball fields and tennis courts. Some include sandy beaches, ice-skating rinks and pools. --City of Rochester

Park and/or Trail Groups

Groups whose mission is to preserve and help develop our parks. 

  • Parks Preservation in Monroe County, NY Christine Sevilla Parks Preservationist, Environmentalist, Photographer, Writer and Friend | We dedicate this website to Christine Sevilla. Christine was a passionate advocate for preserving our parks for future generations. Her ongoing concerns about the piecemeal destruction promoted by the current county leadership - allowing mountain biking on walking trails and in sensitive areas, selling parklands for wetland mitigation, bulldozing eskers in Mendon Ponds or meadows in Oatka Creek. Christine envisioned our parks as a legacy to the future, and passionately worked to prevent what she called this "death by a thousand cuts". In dedicating this website to Christine, we hope it encourages others to get involved to save our parks.
  • Genesee Valley Chapter of ADK The Adirondack Mountain Club is a non-profit organization that, through its various chapters and lodges, operates exclusively for conservation, recreation and educational purposes and whose assets and earnings profit no member, officer or employee. The Genesee Valley Chapter is also a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. We are extremely active in the scheduling of outings. Our trip calendar has something for everyone: hiking, backpacking, X-C skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing and cave exploration. The difficulties of these trips range from easy for the beginner, to challenging for the expert. There's always at least one beginners trip in each of the categories so it's a great opportunity to try out a new sport. Through our conservation committee we keep current (and often take active stands) on such issues as acid rain, state land acquisition and local park planning.
  • Friends of Genesee Valley Greenway The Genesee Valley Greenway is one of hundreds of greenways being developed across the nation along old canals, abandoned rail beds, and riverbanks. It passes through scenic woodlands, river and stream valleys, rolling farmlands, steep gorges, and historic villages located in sixteen towns in Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, Allegany, and Cattaraugus counties in New York State.
  • Parks & Trails New York - expanding, protecting and promoting a network of parks, trails and open spaces Parks & Trails New York is the only organization working statewide to protect New York's parks and help communities create new parks. Founded in 1985, Parks & Trails New York has grown from a small group of park advocates to over 5000 members and supporters from every region of the state.
  • Rochester Greenway A revolutionary all-weather alternative energy transitway for bikes, e-vehicles, joggers, and skaters connecting RIT, U of R, and MCC, downtown Rochester.
  • Friends of Webster Trails The Friends of Webster Trails is a non-profit organization serving primarily as a volunteer arm of the Webster Parks and Recreation Department. When Friends of Webster Trails was established in 1997 its only activity was the maintenance of the Hojack Trail. In 2002, we built a nature trail in Vosburg Hollow. With the Town's acquisition of open space properties, Friends of Webster Trails has now built trails in Finn Park, the Whiting Road Nature Preserve and the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve.
  • Finger Lakes Trail Conference The mission of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference is to build, protect, and enhance a continuous footpath across New York State, Forever!
  • Railroad Mills Environmental Area (Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area - A Unique Part of the Auburn Trail Extension) Welcome to the Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area (RRMSEA), a sensitive and unique natural area.  It is located on the Auburn Trail extension,  in the Upper Irondequoit Creek valley,  in the town of Victor, NY.  Victor is one of the most rapidly growing towns in the state, and RRMSEA is a little known treasure.   In this short, flat 3000' stretch, there is an extraordinary diversity of birds, butterflies, frogs, and other creatures; an amazing variety of native plants, several types of wetlands, and scenic views. In this wilderness-like setting, visitors are often treated to close-up views of birds, butterflies, turtles, and other wildlife.  In RRMSEA you can experience 'nature up close.'
  • Ontario Pathways Ontario Pathways bridge over routes 5+20 in the hamlet of Flint is now open! With this bridge we have uninterrupted trail all the way from Canandaigua to Stanley and on to Orleans.
  • RogueHikers : Rogue Hikers of Rochester and Western NY To break routine, visit off-the-beaten path parks in Monroe county, and surrounding areas, get outside, and make new friends. We strive to integrate community service and environmental advocacy with outdoor activities.
  • Trailworks, Inc. Trail Works, Inc., a not for profit organization was founded in Wayne County New York in 1997 by a small group of individuals who are dedicated trail users and who are interested in trail develop-ment and expanding trail use. Trail Works purpose is to provide a unified voice for Wayne County trail users as well as to coordinate the development and maintenance of high-quality, year-round, multi-use trails. Our purpose also embodies public education about trails and their location in New York.



The Genesee River flowing through Genesee Park. Photo by Frank J. Regan.
Closing our parks, tough environmental choices

The prospect of closing a quarter of our New York State parks looked ominous indeed as the Memorial Day weekend approached this year. But at the last minute, a hasty deal was made: Governor Paterson to Introduce Bill to Fully Fund State Parks and Historical Sites “Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he will send a bill to the Legislature that would provide funding to continue the operation of State parks and historic sites this year. Enactment of this bill would allow 41 State parks and 14 historic sites to remain open and would provide for continued services at 23 parks and one historic site. The bill would also continue necessary and critical programs funded through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).” Governor Press Releases, 5/24/2010  more...

(Above scripts from Dynamic Drive)

Individual Listing of Monroe County Parks

Each park in our area is unique.

  • Monroe County: Highland Park In a beautiful setting of hills and valleys resulting from glacier deposits lies Highland Park. Now best known as the home of Rochester's famous Lilac Festival, Highland Park has a history as colorful as its 500 varieties of flowering shrubs.
  • Corbet's Glen LAND TRUST, BRIGHTON PARTNER TO PRESERVE CORBETT’S GLEN Corbett's Glen Location On Allens Creek, a tributary of Irondequoit Creek in the town of Penfield, Monroe County.--from Ruth's Waterfalls. 
  • Durand Eastman by  Tom Lathrop and Kurt Fox
  • Tinker Nature Park is located at 1525 Calkins Road in the Town of Henrietta, New York. In 1992, John and Carol Aldridge donated 68 acres of the Tinker family's farm to the Town of Henrietta to be developed as a nature park.
  • Macedon Trails Committee "The Committee continually works to build and maintain a system of logically connected trails which provide public access to muscle-powered recreational opportunities both within the Town of Macedon as well as connecting trails with similar networks in adjoining communities."
  • Welcome to the Victor Hiking Trails, Inc. "Our purpose is to develop a trail system which will preserve open space and provide an educational and recreational experience for everyone in the town of Victor. "
  • Tinker Nature Park: "Tinker Nature Park is located at 1525 Calkins Road in the Town of Henrietta, New York. At Tinker Nature Park, you are a guest in plant and animal communities which have been preserved so you and future generations may understand and enjoy the fields, marsh, pond and forest as nature made them."
  • Friends of Webster Trails The Friends of Webster Trails is a non-profit organization serving primarily as a volunteer arm of the Webster Parks and Recreation Department. When Friends of Webster Trails was established in 1997 its only activity was the maintenance of the Hojack Trail. In 2002, we built a nature trail in Vosburg Hollow. With the Town's acquisition of open space properties, Friends of Webster Trails has now built trails in Finn Park, the Whiting Road Nature Preserve and the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve.
  • New York State Canal System  One of the main attractions to Rochester, New York is the canal which provides a wonderful boating experience.  But, there's a lot more to the canal than boating. "The New York State Canalway Trail System is comprised of a network of more than 220 miles of existing multi-use, recreational trails across upstate New York." Anything you want to know about our canal system is provided on this web site.
  • Comings Nature Center: How Do I Get There?
  • Finger Lakes Trail Conference The mission of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference is to build, protect, and enhance a continuous footpath across New York State, Forever!
  • North Country Trail Association Home Page The North Country National Scenic Trail is a premier footpath that one day will stretch more than 4,000 miles to link communities and wilderness areas across seven northern states. Already, more than 1,600 miles have been completed! The map above shows the projected trail in its entirety. When completed it will be the longest hiking trail in the United States.
  • The Crescent Trail "The Crescent Trail is a footpath in the Town of Perinton, a suburb southeast of Rochester. Twenty-six miles of trail wind through wooded hills and scenic wetlands. The Trail connects with the Erie Canal Heritage Trail (or towpath) along the banks of the Erie Canal, to the Perinton Hikeway-Bikeway, and to trails in the neighboring towns of Pittsford, Victor, and Macedon." 
  • Genesee Valley Greenway - Home Page Find out about this new project that attempts to 19th century canal into a 21st century greenway.
  • Thousand Acre Swamp
  • GORP -New York National Wildlife Refuges Here you can find information about our area's two New York National Wildlife Refuges: Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, from U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Genesee Crossroads Park
  • Churchill Park
  • City of Rochester | Highland Park-Canalway Trail Project The Highland Park/Canalway Trail Project is a joint venture between the Town of Brighton and the City of Rochester. Fisher Associates and Trowbridge and Wolf Landscape Architects are on hand to assist the City with the project.
  • Cobb's Hill Reservoir Park
  • Cornerstone Park
  • Ellison Park
  • Edgeron Park
  • Genesee River Falls Overlook
  • Genesee Valley Park
  • Hamlin Beach State Park
  • Liberty Pole Park
  • Manhattan Square Park
  • Maplewood Park & Rose Garden
  • Mount Hope Cemetery
  • Oatka Creek Park Parks | Monroe County, NY "This mostly undeveloped parkland is home to wildlife and fishing enthusiasts. Approximately one mile of this creek (both banks) runs through the 461-acre Oatka Creek Park. This park also offers one lodge, which has been renovated."
  • Ontario Beach Park
  • Washington Grove Park
  • St. Joseph's Park Dominated by the dramatic clock tower of the former St. Joseph's Church, this neighborhood represents an opportunity in the making. When the church burned in the '70s, its walls and tower were preserved and its grounds turned into a grassy park. --from // Neighborhoods
  • Turning Point Park - In Turning Point Park, Rochester, Monroe County, NY. This small park is at the end of Boxart Street which is off of Lake Avenue in the northern part of Rochester. -from Ruth's Waterfalls
  • Northampton Park - Welcome To Northampton Park - INFORMATION: (585)256-4950  - One of the newer additions to the Monroe County Parks system, this 973-acre park attracts winter enthusiasts with its designated sledding hill, cross-country ski trails and downhill skiing with a rope tow. Group camping is available with a special permit by calling (585) 872-5326.
  • Mendon Ponds Park - This public park is a part of the Monroe County Park system. It was registered in the National Registry of Natural Landmarks in 1969 because of the glacial geology that features several ponds and many low swampy areas. Mendon Ponds Park is about 2500-2700 acres (figure varies depending upon who you ask) with numerous hiking, skiing and horseback-riding trails (about 13 miles total) which are open to the public all year round. Large eskers exist on both the east and west sides of the park and numerous glacial ponds may be found throughout the park.
  • Seneca Park - INFORMATION: (585)256-4950 - Originally called North Park, this three-mile preserve of forested river gorge was renamed Seneca (which means "stone") to recognize its Indian heritage as well as the deeply cut stone in the river gorge. Another of Frederick Law Olmsted's works of living art, the park includes Trout Lake, created by damming a natural spring. Swan boats, propelled by drivers who pedaled the boats like bicycles, carried visitors around the lake until 1922.

Other parks and Nature Centers near the Rochester, NY area

Some major parks in the New York State are only a short distance from us.

  • Though not in Monroe County, we can't forget one of the largest parks in our country--right next door: THE ADIRONDACK PARK: An overview of the 6.1 million acre park. This is a very comprehensive site, including clickable maps, planning vacations, etc.
  • Finger Lakes National Forest The only National Park in New York State. The Finger Lakes National Forest is comprised of about 15,374 acres, which makes it one of (if not the smallest) National Forest in the system. It is located between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes in the Finger Lakes region of north-western New York.
  • Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1958 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Beaver Meadow Nature Center: Beaver Meadow is a 324 acre wildlife sanctuary that was named for the Beavers that were imported into the region after the fur market in the 1800's extirpated all the native Beaver in the region. The land was purchased and is maintained by the Buffalo Audubon Society. A Christmas Bird Count is held annually and is centered at Beaver Meadow.
  • Cayuga Nature Center Online Cayuga Nature Center (CNC) is a nonprofit, private organization dedicated to providing education for schools, community groups and the general public throughout the year. Programs are for anyone interested in learning more about the environment, the out-of-doors and themselves.- Cayuga Nature Center, Inc. -1420 Taughannock Blvd -Ithaca, NY 14850 -607/273-6260 Fax: 607/273-1719
  • Letchworth State Park - NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation "Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs--as high as 600 feet in some places--surrounded by lush forests. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Trails are also available for horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, kayaking, a pool for swimming and hot air ballooning. Experiencing Letchworth by hot air balloon is unforgettable, as seen in this video clip. "


Parks Resources

Get the idea and purpose and more information about our parks and urban parks