Friends Of Heckscher State Park - The Fisherman

Friends Of Heckscher State Park

Heckscher State Park is nature pure and pristine with beaches, water views, trails and trees that rejuvenate the soul for those that love the Great South Bay. Heckscher has acres of bay front for swimming, kayaking and fishing. This treasure of the South Shore needs love and protection. Friends of Parks do exactly that – love and protect our parks.

New York State Parks have more than 80 Friends groups. Friends groups support the park by volunteering with projects, educational programs and fundraising. New York State Parks and Trails state that Friends groups are grassroots and non-profit organizations that champion our public lands and are essential to the stewardship and promotion of the State Park system by cultivating dynamic park communities and enhancing a network of supporters so we can ensure that New York’s parks and conservation remain intact.

For example, the Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve has received grants in the tens of thousands of dollars to do repairs and building projects. Their new group, The Friends of Heckscher State Park has big dreams. They see a future where they will apply for grants and fundraise that create outdoor interpretive programs, waterfront activities and construction projects such as a fishing pier and enhanced boat dockage and launch facilities.

The creation of Friends of Heckscher State Park began with New York State Senator Alexis Weik. She had a vision for Friends of Heckscher State Park, and they had an appointment to promote a New York State Parks program. They were so impressed by the Long Island New York State Parks Environmental Stewardship Program run by George Kiesel that they wanted to promote and protect it from tax cuts. They made an appointment with Senator Weik to discuss the importance of the program. During their session the Senator said she was looking for someone to start a Friends of Heckscher State Park group and would they join her in the creation of a Friends of Heckscher.

Since that initial meeting 13 months ago a congenial group has formed.  They helped create an educational animal conservation program, painted barricades, fixed picnic tables, cleaned up the beach, removed invasive plants and helped out at the Solar Eclipse. They will be applying for grants to rejuvenate Heckscher and fulfill their dreams.

New members are welcome. They meet every 3rd Thursday at the East Islip Library at 6:30. You can reach the, at [email protected].