Allegany State Park is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.
The New York State Legislature approved a $25,000 expenditure for the first land purchases for the park on May 2, 1921 — providing an equal amount of private funds were raised.
The first tract in the Quaker Run area — just over 7,000 acres — was purchased from Amasa Stone on June 18, 1921 for $31,500. Additional adjacent tracts were soon purchased.
Gov. Nathan L. Miller named Sen. Albert T. Fancher to lead a small group to develop the state park.
Fancher Point outside the Scenic Drive entrance to the state park from Salamanca and the Fancher Cabins on the Quaker side of the park are named after Fancher, who is credited with being “the father of Allegany State Park.”
The state park really began to take shape as the Civilian Conservation Corps moved in from 1933-42 to build roads, bridges, camping areas and trails.
Over the decades, Allegany State Park has grown to nearly 65,000 acres, or 100 square miles, and has provided recreational opportunities to millions of visitors.
Allegany State Park has played host to countless special moments and family traditions that contribute to its historic fabric. Many families count themselves as repeat campers over three and four generations.
Earlier this year, Allegany State Park officials put out a call for campers’ fond memories of visiting the park over the years. A selection of these memories will be included in the state park’s virtual celebration on July 30 — 100 years to the day from its opening. Submissions to the “Allegany Diaries” were made to email@example.com.
“We have no large events this season, but we do plan to have weekly interpretive programs centered on the park’s centennial and a virtual centennial celebration is planned for July 30,” Allegany Regional Director Jay Bailey said.
The state park still does not accept walk-in camping due to COVID-19 restrictions. Campers must have reservations.
The Quaker side of the state park now has a walking and bike path centered in the Quaker Run area near the store. The path quickly became popular with campers and visitors when it opened last fall. Future construction will extend the trail to Quaker Lake and Science Lake.
It is similar to the popular Red House Hiking and Biking Trail that circles Red House Lake and links the Red House entrance with Camp Allegany.
Another popular location with visitors and campers alike is the Red House Wetlands area that includes a trail that takes people out over the marsh and water to viewing areas.
Allegany State Park cabins, campsites and cottages continue to be open to the public. Currently, new reservations can be made through Dec. 31, with 2022 availability opening soon.
While walk-up camping is unavailable, Allegany State Park will be accepting same-day reservations for campsites only, as long as reservations are made before 3 p.m. on the day of the intended stay. Cabin and cottage reservations must still be made 24 hours in advance. Campers are also asked to follow all applicable and prevailing travel guidelines set forth by the New York State Department of Health
Campers and day-use visitors are asked to follow all current New York State and Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines and precautions with respect to face coverings and social distancing.
Interpretive programming continues to have a maximum capacity of participants based on the location and nature of the program activities. Interested parties are asked to pre-register for programs by calling 716-354-6232.
Detailed COVID guidance will be provided as part of the registration process. Weekly programming schedules can be found at the Quaker or Red House Rental Offices or on Allegany State Park’s Facebook page.
The Virtual Centennial Celebration is in production, and is scheduled to be posted to New York State Park’s YouTube page on July 30. In conjunction with the Virtual Celebration, they will also be uploading a variety of additional videos highlighting the early years of the park, significant events, and detailed presentations on specific historic components of Allegany State Park, Bailey said.
Both Red House and Quaker Beaches will open on Saturday, June 26, and run daily through the summer season from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Allegany Region’s Environmental Education Department is planning to host numerous programming opportunities in 2021 with a focus on the storied history of Allegany State Park. Park staff has also coordinated with the Allegany State Park Historical Society to create a series of books highlighting 100 historical points of interest within Allegany State Park.
Additionally, they have released a series of five centennial posters which add an artistic touch to some of Allegany’s most recognizable landmarks, Bailey said.
Posters can be purchased today in either the Quaker or Red House Rental Offices, while the 100 Points series will be available at those same locations beginning Memorial Day weekend.