By Jennie Acklin
Allegany State Park opened the 2012 camping season quietly and without much fanfare on March 28. But from here on out, the events scheduled just get more and more exciting.
According to Gary Quattrone, park manager III Allegany Region, “All of the Red House Tent and Trailer Area, which includes 140 cabins and 130 campsites, are open and ready for visitors. The Diehl Trail in the Quaker Run Area has approximately 100 campsites open, and Cain Hollow Campground has 15 open. We also have the bike paths and the gift shop open.”
The next facilities scheduled to open are the grocery store, boat rental, the Park Restaurant and the laundry shop by mid-May.
May 5 is I Love My Park Day, sponsored by Parks & Trails New York volunteers. Anyone interested in helping clean up and project work is encouraged to gather at 10 a.m. at the Red House Administration Building. Call (716) 354-9191, ext. 236, to get more information or to sign up. This year, the Sweetwater Spring restoration project is on the list. Cleanup of the area, general repair and restoration, and new signage, including a historical plaque, are to be worked on by volunteers.
Summer Recreation and Interpretive Education programs begin on June 25. Recreation activities include Forest Dodgeball and Crazy Kickball. Guided nature walks include family-oriented tours to the Old Zoo, Ski Jumps and Bridal Falls areas. Wildflowers, edible plants, fern species, wildlife, tree varieties, pond and stream life, insects, salamanders and beaver ponds are just a few of the topics featured during the interpretive education walks.
Programs change from week to week to take advantage of seasonal changes in flora and fauna viewing opportunities. By checking the park’s weekly activity schedules found at the rental desks, campground offices and the Old Quaker Store Museum, you’ll be sure to catch the programs you’re interested in.
July 13 brings Rock the Parks and Party at the Red House Beach. A free concert featuring the Porcelain Bus Drivers and their opening act, Kevin McCarthy, all start at 6 p.m. An incredible event, sure to please all who attend!
The Full Moon Family Beach Party, sponsored by the park and the Cattaraugus County Arts Council, is on the schedule for August 10 at Red House Beach. It’s a fun and free evening for families. Activities include a lifeguard competition, and all are encouraged to bring their own picnic and enjoy the activities on the beach!
Allegany State Park is the largest park in the New York State Park System with 65,000 acres overflowing with natural beauty, untouched forests, rolling hills and sparkling lakes. Allegany black bears are native to the park and visitors are reminded not to feed the bears. Many other wild animals make their home in the park, including whitetail deer, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, trout and many others.
Fishing is permitted in the park’s steams, ponds and lakes. A New York State fishing license is required and some special regulations apply to limits, bait and areas that can be fished.
You can explore the park on its hiking, biking or horseback riding trails and roads. Maps are available at park offices. Rollerblading and skateboarding are permitted, but you must check at the park office for times and locations where these activities are permitted. Also, safety helmets are required under New York State law. Swimming is permitted at Red House Beach, which will open for the summer season on June 25.
For more information on these activities, call the park’s administration offices at (716) 354-9101 or visit www.nysparks.com and www.facebook.com/alleganystatepark. For camping reservations, call 1-800-456-2267 or go to www.reserveamerica.com.