New York Park Ranger Training and Degree Requirements

New York State is home to no less than 179 state parks. From the massive Allegany State Park, with its thousands of acres of stunning hemlock forests to Adirondack State Park, which encompasses nearly one-third of the total land area of the state and is known for its extensive wild landscapes and old-growth forests. Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers across the globe come to visit New York’s stunning state parks.

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Just a few of the other major state park systems in New York include:

  • Pelham Bay/Orchard Beach Park
  • Marine Park
  • Oneida Lake
  • Harriman State Park
  • Wellesley Island State Park
  • Minnewaska State Park

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) is responsible for the management and operation of all state parks in New York. The OPRHP employs about 1,700 year-round, permanent employees and another 4,000 seasonal employees during the peak of its operating season.

Careers with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The OPRHP employs a New York State Park Police force, which includes a number of positions:

State Park Police Officers – New York State park police officers are permanent, full-time police officers appointed through a competitive process that includes passing the NYS Civil Service exam. State park police officers patrol state parks using:

  • Personal watercrafts
  • Horseback
  • Marked police cars
  • ATVs
  • Bicycles
  • Boats

Their job duties include assisting parks users, making arrests, conducting criminal and non-criminal investigations, and providing emergency services. Other specialized services provided by the park police include marine law enforcement, high angle and swift water rescue teams, and snowmobile enforcement and education.

Seasonal Park and Recreation Forest Rangers – Seasonal park and recreation forest rangers are seasonal peace officers who are responsible for providing public safety services in support of the state park police. Seasonal park and recreation forest rangers, who generally work from May to Labor Day, are assigned to a specific park police command, although they may also travel to other areas of the state for special events.

Seasonal Park and Recreation Public Safety Rangers – Seasonal park and recreation public safety rangers are seasonal employees who are responsible for providing general public safety services in support of the state park police. Public safety rangers in NY are usually employed from late May to Labor Day. They are unarmed and have neither peace officer nor police officer status.

Public safety rangers are generally responsible for patrolling park facilities and grounds, enforcing park ordinances and regulations, answering questions from park patrons, and maintaining order. These NY park professionals may also assist with marine patrol and search and rescue operations.

Becoming a Park Ranger with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

How to Become a New York State Park Police Officer

Park police officers provide essential police services for the OPRHP. To become a New York State park police officer, individuals must schedule and take the civil service exam with the NYS Department of Civil Service.

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Individuals must sign up at the NYS Civil Service website to receive notifications about upcoming civil service exams.

Individuals who want to become state park police officers in New York must:

  • Be at least 20 years old at the time of appointment
  • Be no older than 35 at the time of the written exam (with the exception of applicants with military experience)
  • Possess at least 60 college credit hours (two years of active military service may be substituted for 30 college credit hours)
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of New York State and possess a New York State driver’s license at the time of appointment
  • Be able to pass a medical exam, vision exam, and a background investigation, which includes a polygraph examination
  • Be able to pass a psychological examination and drug testing

All new recruits must successfully complete a six-month residential police basic school and complete a one-year traineeship.

How to Become a Seasonal Park and Recreation Forest Ranger

Individuals who want to learn how to become a seasonal park and recreation forest ranger in New York must meet the OPRHP’s minimum requirements. Applicants must possess:

  • An associate’s degree or higher in one of the following:
    • Parks
    • Recreation
    • Forestry
    • Environmental sciences
    • Fire sciences
    • Criminal justice


  • At least 60 college credit hours with a concentration (12 credit hours or more) in:
    • Parks
    • Recreation
    • Forestry
    • Environmental sciences
    • Fire sciences
    • Criminal justice


  • A high school diploma or the equivalent and at least one year of experience in:
    • Forest management
    • Forest fire control
    • Wildlife preservation
    • Search and rescue


  • A high school diploma or the equivalent and one of the following:
    • One year of paid firefighting experience
    • Two years of volunteer firefighting experience
    • One year of law enforcement experience

In addition to meeting minimum education/experience requirements, applicants must also possess a valid MPTC Basic Police Officer or Peace Officer training certificate. They must also be a United State citizen and a New York state resident at the time of appointment, and they must be able to pass a medical examination, physical agility examination, psychological examination, and a background investigation.

How to Become a Seasonal Park and Recreation Public Safety Ranger

Individuals who want to learn how to become a New York state seasonal park and recreation public safety ranger must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of appointment
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Possess a valid NY State driver’s license
  • Be able to meet physical, medical, and psychological requirements, including drug testing

All new recruits must successfully complete 24 hours of security guard training.

Qualifying for Jobs with the National Park Service in New York

Park rangers in New York may also work at one of the many National Park Service sites throughout the state, such as:

  • Appalachian National Scenic trail
  • Chesapeake Bay
  • Ellis Island
  • Niagara Falls
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Fire Island National Seashore

Although specific requirements vary somewhat between protective park ranger and interpretive park ranger jobs with the National Park Service, general requirements for employment include:

  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must meet the requirements of the federal level, which include either:
    • Possessing at least one year of specialized experience at the GS-4 federal level; OR
    • Possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, along with at least 24 hours of semester credits in areas such as:
      • Natural resource management
      • Forestry
      • Criminal justice/police science
      • Natural sciences
      • Sociology
      • Park and recreation management

New York Park Ranger Salaries

In New York, park rangers have the option of working for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation or the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which covers the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. For this reason, there is a large gap among New York park ranger salaries.

For park rangers employed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, there is a 5-step pay plan and then an additional 4-step longevity plan:

Park Ranger

  • Hiring Rate: $30,017
  • Step 1: $31,273
  • Step 2: $32,529
  • Step 3: $33,785
  • Step 4: $35,041
  • Step 5: $36,297
  • Rate: $37,553
  • 10-Year Longevity: $39,828
  • 15-Year Longevity: $41,832
  • 20-Year Longevity: $44,921
  • 25-Year Longevity (Maximum): $46,924

Park rangers who are employed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation work on a seasonal basis, and their hourly rate of pay is $17.69.

Of course, park rangers may also choose to work in a forest ranger capacity as well:

Forest Ranger

  • Hiring Rate: $37,505
  • Step 1: $39,002
  • Step 2: $40,499
  • Step 3: $41,996
  • Step 4: $43,493
  • Step 5: $44,990
  • Rate: $46,487
  • 10-Year Longevity: $49,203
  • 15-Year Longevity: $51,592
  • 20-Year Longevity: $55,017
  • 25-Year Longevity (Maximum): $57,408

The tables below provide further salary information regarding the various roles of park rangers in New York:

Recreation Workers Salaries in New York

Area name
Annual mean wage
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
Binghamton NY
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
Elmira NY
Glens Falls NY
Ithaca NY
Kingston NY
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY
Rochester NY
Syracuse NY
Utica-Rome NY
Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area
East Central New York nonmetropolitan area
Central New York nonmetropolitan area
Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area

Tour Guides and Escorts Salaries in New York

Area name
Annual mean wage
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY
Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released

Recreational Protective Service Workers Salaries in New York

Area name
Annual mean wage
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
Binghamton NY
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
Glens Falls NY
Kingston NY
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY
Rochester NY
Syracuse NY
Utica-Rome NY
Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area
Central New York nonmetropolitan area
Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area

Adirondack Forest Preserve

In picturesque Upstate New York, just a few hours from Boston, New York City, Montreal, and Ottawa are the Adirondack Mountains. This protected area is a veritable paradise that consists of more than 6 million acres, including 2,000 miles of hiking trails, 3,000 lakes, and 1,200 miles of rivers.

The Adirondack Mountains, which lie within the boundaries of Adirondack Park, encompass nearly 85 percent of the wilderness in the Eastern Unites States and are the largest of their kind east of the Mississippi River. To put it into perspective, Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined.

New York’s Adirondack Park is maintained and managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This means the Division of Forest Protection’s forest rangers are responsible for patrolling Adirondack Park.

Of the 134 forest rangers with the Division of Forest Protection, the majority work within both the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Forest rangers serve as police officers, wild land firefighters, and first responders, and are prepared to protect the state’s forests and the people who enjoy them.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety in One of the Nation’s Largest Protected Areas

This natural area, which was deemed “Forever Wild” by the New York legislature in 1894, offers vast stretches of pristine land, untouched habitats, old-growth forests, and exquisite expanses of wildflowers. Of the 6 million acres of Adirondack Park, 2.6 million acres are owned by the state, with the remaining acres still privately owned.

The Adirondack Park boundary contains the entire Adirondack Mountain range, as well as some of the surrounding areas, and is completely encompassed within the State of New York. The boundaries of Adirondack Park are referred to as the “Blue Line” because they are often delineated on maps as such. The park includes the counties of Hamilton and Essex in their entirety, as well as portions of:

  • Clinton County
  • Fulton County
  • Herkimer County
  • Franklin County
  • Warren County
  • St. Lawrence County
  • Lewis County
  • Washington County
  • Oneida County
  • Saratoga County

The job duties of a forest ranger in New York’s Adirondack Park can be quite varied, given the massive size of the park and the plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities available within its boundaries.

The park is best divided into its seven, distinct, geographical regions, which include:

  • Adirondack Wild
  • Lake George Region
  • Adirondack Coast
  • Adirondack Lakes
  • Lake Placid
  • Adirondacks-Tughill
  • Adirondack Seaway

Within these regions, forest rangers must provide patrol and protective services for:

  • 3,000 lakes and ponds
  • 30,000 miles of rivers and streams
  • The “high peaks” (the park’s 46 tallest mountains)
  • More than 2,000 miles of hiking trails (more than half are maintained by DEC forest rangers)
  • Alpine and cross-country ski centers
  • Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake
  • Wild Center Natural History Museum in Tupper Lake
  • More than 500 campsites spread over 48 islands on Lake George, Saranac Lake, and Indian Lake
  • Olympic Center in Lake Placid

In addition to offering such varied recreational opportunities as boating, horseback riding, scuba diving, fishing, swimming, hunting, and mountaineering, Adirondack Park is also home to:

  • Winter recreation: Alpine skiing, snowshoeing, bobsledding, and dogsledding are enjoyed at sites throughout the park, including the White Face Mountain, Gore Mountain, Big Tupper, Snow Ridge, and Titus Mountain ski resorts.
  • Festivals/Events: There are a multitude of events that draw millions of visitors to Adirondack Park every year, including the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, which is the oldest ad longest running festival of its kind in the Eastern United States.

Allegany State Park

Allegany State Park, which is located in Western New York State, near the Pennsylvania state border and about an hour from Buffalo, is comprised of forested valleys, rolling hills and meadows, mountains, ponds and lakes, old-growth forests, and a plethora of natural surroundings in which visitors enjoy everything from swimming and hiking to camping and snowmobiling.

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Allegany State Park is located just north of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, and is also close to Lake Erie State Park, Long Point State Park on Lake Chautauqua, Woodland Beach State Park, and Evangola State Park. It consists of 65,000 acres, thereby making it the largest state park in the New York State.

Allegany State Park is managed and overseen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), which employs a force of state park police officers, as well as seasonal park and recreation forest rangers and park and recreation public safety rangers, both of which support the park police.

Allegany State Park’s Natural Resources and Recreational Amenities

Allegany State Park is a haven for snowmobilers, who take advantage of its 90 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and its more than 150 winterized cabins. It is also home to the Art Roscoe Ski Touring Area, which has long been thought to have some of the well-groomed cross-country skiing and mountain biking trails in the Northeast.

This state park is also home to no less than 424 campsites, 375 cabins, and year-round vacation cottages. Other popular activities among visitors to Allegany State Park include:

  • Bird watching
  • Picnicking
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Snowshoeing
  • Canoeing
  • Horseback riding
  • Ice fishing
  • Tennis
  • Baseball and softball

The park is organized around its two developed areas:

Red House – The Red House area of Allegany State Park consists of an administrative building with a natural history museum and regional headquarters, as well as a centrally located Red House Lake. Within the Red House area visitors enjoy:

  • 5 miles of paved bike paths
  • Hiking trails
  • Boat and bike rentals
  • A sandy beach for fishing and swimming
  • Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
  • Stone Tower, which offers sweeping views of the surrounding landscape
  • Art Roscoe Ski Area
  • Science Lake
  • Bear Caves
  • Thunder Rocks
  • Quaker Amphitheatre
  • 130 campsites, which include 144 cabins and 3 group camps
  • Picnic areas
  • Tent and trailer sites

Quaker – Allegany State Park’s Quaker area is best known for its two lakes, sandy beach, and two fishing piers, as well as:

  • Canoeing and kayaking access points
  • Friend’s Boat Launch to the Allegany Reservoir
  • Hiking trails
  • Naturally formed caves
  • Quaker amphitheater and its host of year-round programs
  • Playground
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Baseball fields
  • Basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts
  • The Quaker store, which houses a park museum
  • 20 cabin trails
  • 189 campsites, which include 230 cabins
  • Vacation cottages

Catskill Forest Preserve

Catskill Park, which was established in 1904 by the NYS Legislature, includes both state-owned (public) and private lands, with the state owning more than one-third of the land within the park’s boundaries.

All state-owned lands within Catskill Park (which are often delineated through “blue line” boundaries on state maps) are designated as the Catskill Forest Preserve. The Catskill Forest Preserve, which is completely encompassed within Catskill Park, is managed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The DEC-managed Catskill Forest Preserve consists of more than 287,000 acres, which includes the highest mountains in the Catskills. The State of New York continues to acquire land within Catskill Park through its Forest Preserve holdings and the Land Protection Program, which aims to preserve lands of critical ecological importance to the Catskill Mountain Region.

The DEC employs a force of forest rangers to provide patrol and protection services to the Catskill Forest Preserve. Of the Department’s 134 full-time forest rangers, the majority work within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

DEC forest rangers in the Catskill Forest Preserve are responsible for patrolling the forest preserve land within Catskill Park, which includes more than 30 miles of unmarked and maintained hiking trails, primitive and amenity camping opportunities, as well as the popular Catskill peaks of Hunter Mountain, Overlook Mountain, Balsam Lake Mountain, Tremper Mountain, and Red Hill.

About the Catskill Forest Preserve

The New York Catskills are an ecologically significant natural resource that includes both the state-owned Catskill Forest Preserve (located entirely within Catskill Park) and the Catskill Park. Located in Southeastern New York, Catskill Park is primarily a mountainous region that includes 98 peaks that rise to more than 3,000 feet above sea level. It also includes 6 major river systems and is dotted with streams, forests, waterfalls, and even historic villages.

The Catskills, which have often been referred to as the “First American Wilderness,” consist of six counties, including: Greene, Delaware, Schoharie, Otsego, Ulster, and Sullivan Counties, as well as 6 townships within Albany County. The Catskill Mountains are located entirely within New York State, about 100 miles northwest of New York City.

Although logging, tanning, trapping, quarrying and fishing have shaped Catskill Park’s history, today’s activities are generally aimed more at tourism and recreation, both of which play an important role in supporting the region’s economy. The Catskills have long been a vacation destination, with visitors enjoying a wide array of recreational activities here, including:

  • Hiking
  • Skiing
  • Camping
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Rock and ice climbing
  • Canoeing
  • Hunting
  • Bird Watching

Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are the top two visited sites in New York City (with the Empire State Building trailing closely behind), and both are managed and protected by the National Park Service (NPS). Both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are historically and symbolically significant and both reflect the freedoms we enjoy and the opportunities that abound in the United States.

Park Ranger Jobs on Ellis Island

It is modestly estimated that millions of Americans have a connection to Ellis Island, which today serves as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In fact, some records indicate that more than half of all Americans had at least one relative who passed through Ellis Island.

From 1892 to 1924, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island, thus making it America’s largest and most active immigration station. This New York landmark served as an American gateway for more than 60 years, welcoming immigrants from nearly all parts of the world—Germany, Britain, Ireland, Russia, Italy, Greece, Slovakia, Serbia, and Hungary, just to name a few.

Ellis Island, which is managed solely by the park rangers of the National Park Service, is a little over 27 acres and is located just off the southern tip of Manhattan. It welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year.

It currently includes the following sites:

  • Immigration Museum:  Ellis Island’s Immigration Museum includes many artifacts, photographs, interactive displays, exhibits, and prints. Among the museum’s most important exhibits is the American Immigrant Wall of Honor, which displays the names of more than 600,000 individuals who passed through Ellis Island.
  • Immigration History Center: The Immigration History Center houses passenger logs from the hundreds of ships that passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. Visitors can search for specific passengers with the help of volunteers.
  • Ellis Island Living Theater: The Living Theater offers visitors a 30-minute theatrical production that details the challenges of immigration.

Other noteworthy sites on Ellis Island that provide visitors with a glimpse of what immigrants to Ellis Island like encountered include:

  • Arrival area
  • Great hall
  • Medical examining line
  • Dormitory
  • Railroad ticket office
  • Baggage room

Park Ranger Jobs at the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island

Liberty Island, which is home to the Statue of Liberty, is a National Park Service site that still serves as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Given as a gift to the U.S. from France in 1886 and later designated as a National Monument in 1924, the Statue of Liberty remains one of the most recognizable monuments in the United States and likely throughout the world.

Visitors to Liberty Island may pay to access to Liberty Island, the monument’s pedestal, or all the way to Lady Liberty’s crown. The National Park Service implemented an advance reservation system in 2004 that eliminates the need for visitors to wait in long lines.

Liberty Island, which consists of more than 14,700 acres, is largely in New Jersey, but much of the island falls under the jurisdiction of the City of New York, as it is just one of a number of islands located in New York Harbor, near the mouth of the Hudson River. This federally owned land is managed solely by the National Park Service and is also home to an information center and a museum. Since September 11, 2001, members of the United States Park Office Marine Patrol Unit also guard it around the clock.

The park rangers of the National Park Service offer an NPS passport validation stamp to visitors, as well as park-ranger-guided tours. Park rangers overseeing the guided tours provide visitors with information about the Statue of Liberty’s history, its many symbols, and important facts about its construction and renovation.

Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island National Seashore consists of a 26-mile-long section of Fire Island, a barrier island that is separated from Long Island by the Great South Bay. Fire Island National Seashore consists of several islands, sand marshes, and wetlands, all of which are located in New York State’s Suffolk County, near Patchogue.

In 1964, Fire Island National Seashore became a federally owned property and therefore a unit of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS now ensures that the natural resources of Fire Island are protected and the visitors to this beautiful stretch of seashore remain safe.  It is estimated that more than 2.2 million people visit Fire Island National Seashore every year, whether to visit one of the area’s 17 private communities or to partake in the seashore’s natural beauty or recreational facilities.

In addition to ensuring access to the Seashore and a positive and safe experience for visitors, the National Park Service carries out a distinct and crucial mission at Fire Island National Seashore: to preserve the Seashore’s cultural and natural resources. This includes focusing its efforts on:

  • Preserving its place in maritime and American history
  • Protecting the barrier island dynamics and the region’s ecology and biodiversity
  • Protecting the wilderness

Park rangers carry out the NPS’ mission by maintaining and enforcing all policies, rules and regulations and by nurturing a shared stewardship with local partners and constituents regarding the protection of this national treasure.

Fire Island National Seashore by the Numbers

Fire Island National Seashore encompasses almost 20,000 acres of marine and terrestrial property along Fire Island. This includes:

  • More than 14,000 acres of aquatic or submerged lands, which is broken down as 80 percent Great South Bay and 20 percent Atlantic Ocean
  • Nearly 6,000 acres of upland or terrestrial lands:
    • 40 percent wetlands
    • 25 percent beaches, swales, and fields
    • 25 developed (either by the NPS or private communities)
    • 10 percent forest

Of that land area, the National Park Service owns more than 6,200 acres including more than 1,380 acres that have been designated as Fire Island Wilderness areas.

Serving as a Park Ranger in Fire Island National Seashore

Just two bridges lead to Fire Island National Seashore, and there are no public roads throughout the seashore. Many visitors choose to access Fire Island National Seashore by private boat or by ferry from Bay Shore, Patchogue, or Sayville.

Fire Island National Seashore’s most popular sites include:

  • Fire Island Lighthouse: The Fire Island Lighthouse (often just referred to as the Fire Island Light), which is located on the western end of the seashore, is the site of many year activities and events.
  • Fire Island Nude Beach: The Fire Island Nude Beach, which is located adjacent to the Fire Island Lighthouse, is one of NYS’s oldest nude beaches.
  • Sailor’s Haven: Sailor’s Haven is a park within Fire Island National Seashore that includes a beach, a 42-slip marina, and an extensive boardwalk system that takes visitors through Fire Island National Seashore’s only forest, the Sunken Forest. Other amenities of Sailor’s Haven include a visitor center, snack bar, gift shop, and a bathhouse.

Visitors to the Fire Island National Seashore may engage in a number of recreational activities, including:

  • Sightseeing
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife-watching
  • Canoeing
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Boating

Jones Beach State Park

Along the Atlantic Coast is the famous Jones Beach State Park, which has long been enjoyed for its white sand beach, outdoor concert venue, and boardwalk. Located on New York’s Long Island (Wantagh), in southern Nassau County, Jones Beach State Park overlooks Zach’s Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, thereby providing visitors with more than six miles of ocean beach and another half mile of bay beach.

Every year, this state park welcomes between 6 and 8 million visitors, many of whom are from New York City, which is just 20 miles from this popular summertime destination. In fact, Jones Beach is the most heavily visited beach along the East Coast.

The Attractions and Facilities of Jones Beach State Park

Overseen by OPRHP, Jones Beach State Park was developed in 1929 and now, in addition to its popular beaches, consists of a wide array of recreational activities and amenities, including:

  • A two-mile boardwalk, which includes restaurants, ice cream shops, miniature golf courses, and volleyball and tennis courts, among many others
  • Two public swimming pools (East and West Bath Houses)
  • A large children’s playground
  • Nikon Theater, which hosts concerts and other live shows during the summer months
  • Boat basin
  • Surf fishing
  • Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center

Jones Beach State Park also hosts a number of annual programs and events, including the Bethpage Air Show on Memorial Day weekend.

The Natural Environment of Jones Beach State Park

Jones Beach State Park consists of more than 2,400 acres of maritime environment along its southern shore.

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Although Jones Beach State Park is best known for its swimming and outdoor recreation, more than half the park is actually in an untouched, natural state, complete with ephemeral pools, salt marshes, and a number of exotic, tropical species, including butterfly fish and puffer fish. Even the winters are abundant with wildlife at Jones Beach State Park, as this time of year welcomes everything from snowy owls to harbor seals.

As such, state park rangers at Jones Beach State Park often patrol the park’s natural environments, ensuring that everything from the migrating songbirds and the endangered piping plover to hawks, falcons and osprey are safeguarded and their environment is protected.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls, one of the world’s best-known and most visited natural wonders, moves more than 750,000 gallons of water every second over the Niagara River Gorge. Surrounding Niagara Falls in New York is Niagara Falls State Park, which holds the distinct title of being America’s oldest state park (established in 1885).

Although Niagara Falls is now recognized as a treasured natural wonder, the early 19th century and its excessive number of mills and factories along the river threatened to destroy the beauty of the falls and the surrounding land.

However, by the late 1860s, a group of environmentalists founded the Free Niagara movement, an effort to protect the national beauty of the surrounding land from commercial interests and exploitation.

As a result of more than 15 years of work by Free Niagara, the Niagara Appropriation Bill was signed into law in 1885, thereby creating the Niagara Reservation, which was one of the first such reservations of its kind. This marked the beginning of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Niagara Falls State Park Ranger Job Duties

Park rangers through the OPRHP are responsible for providing interpretive and protective services to New York State parks and sites, including Niagara Falls State Park.

As such, OPRHP park rangers (referred to as state park police, park and recreation forest rangers, and park and recreation public safety rangers) are responsible for patrolling this state park, which includes:

  • Central Park, which features picturesque gardens and scenic trails
  • Niagara Gorge trail system, which is more than 15 miles long
  • Niagara Scenic Trolley
  • Cave of the Winds tour, including Hurricane Deck, which is just feet from the rush of the Bridal Veil Falls
  • Maid of the Mist, a boat ride that takes visitors to the basin of the Horseshoe Falls
  • Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, which includes a multi-screen theater exhibit and
  • Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center, which serves as the entry point to the region’s hiking and biking trails
  • Aquarium of Niagara
  • Observation Tower, which offers panoramic views of all three Niagara Falls

New York State park rangers at Niagara Falls State Park are of great importance for ensuring that the preservation mission of the OPRHP is carried out because:

  • Audubon designated the Niagara River Corridor as an Important Bird Area in 1996, the first of its kind in the world, as it supports thousands of waterfowl and gull species.
  • The Niagara River Gorge is home to more than 14 species of rare plants.
  • The Niagara River ecosystem supports a number of NYS protected animal species, including the lake sturgeon, the peregrine falcon, and the American bald eagle.
  • The lower Niagara River supports the lake sturgeon, a NY endangered fish.
  • Goat Island is home to 140 of the state’s 170 native trees, and more than 600 flora species have been documented here in the last two centuries.

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