Letchworth State Park

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, outdoors, nature, Letchworth State Park.
Event Date and Time: 
May 6, 2017 - 9:00am

More than 120 state parks and historic sites are participating in the sixth annual Parks & Trails New York and NY State Parks I Love My Park Day, May 6. 

Friday, March 17, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget includes $120 million to continue the NY Parks 2020 initiative. Since the launch of NY Parks 2020 in 2012, State Parks has advanced more than 383 separate projects within 130 parks and historic sites to enhance, restore and repair public facilities – helping reverse decades of decline and neglect in our parks. 

Last year, New York state parks hosted an estimated 69.3 million visitors – a 6-percent increase over 2015 and a hike of 21 percent since 2011. Park attendance was boosted by major improvements to park facilities, the Connect Kids to Parks program, extending the swimming season after Labor Day, favorable weather, and more.  

Connect Kids to Parks enhances educational and recreational opportunities for schoolchildren and help promote parks and historic places. New York partnered with the National Park Service in 2016, to begin an initiative to offer all fourth-grade students and their families free day-use entry passes to state parks. The program also created a grant program to help transport schoolchildren to outdoor recreation and environmental education programs, and historic sites.

The governor’s executive budget proposal will double the state’s investment in the Connect Kids program through the Environmental Protection Fund. The fund provides free or low-cost transportation to connect schools in underserved communities with state parks. 

Parks will also expand the free or low-cost Learn-to-Swim program to all state park swimming facilities, which serves up to 5,000 youth annually. Additionally, in a partnership with the Office of Children & Families, State Parks will also expand the free Foster Family New Camper program. Approximately, 300 foster families and at-risk youth benefit from this program. 

Funding is still available for Connect Kids field trip transportation grant for the 2016-17 school year. Visit www.nysparks.com for an application and more information.

In an effort to make visiting state parks, well, effortless, a new Empire Pass Card is now being offered. This wallet-sized plastic card can be shared among family member, caregivers and more. While the Empire Pass costs $80 and allows card holders to take any vehicle to the park, the original pass is still available for $65 and must be affixed to a single vehicle.

Friday, December 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, weather, Bliss, Letchworth State Park.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo reports a band of lake effect snow producing snowfall rates of about 1 to 2 inches per hour extended along a line from Holland to Bliss to Canaseraga.

Winds in excess of 30 mph are possible with this band of lake effect snow and is due to impact southern Wyoming County, including Letchworth State Park. 

The NWS warns that conditions can deteriorate rapidly; be prepared for snow or ice covered roads, and allow extra time when traveling.

The snowfall is expected to last until 2:45 p.m..

UPDATE 2:59 p.m.: The advisory has been extended to 4:45 p.m.

UPDATE 4:42 p.m.: The advisory has been extended to 6:30 p.m.

Friday, November 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm

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File photo.

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File photo submitted by the New York State Police.

On Tuesday, the Wyoming County Grand Jury handed down a 28-count indictment charging two Rochester men in the deaths of Dylan and Preston Giangregorio in Letchworth State Park this summer. 

Tyler Jennings, 34, and Chad Staley, 32, were each charged with two counts of manslaughter in the second degree, a Class C felony; two counts of criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony; and 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor.

The charges stem from a five-month investigation that began June 11 by the New York State Park Police after park patrons were in a restricted area of the park, resulting in the death of the brothers Dylan, 9, and Preston, 6, both of Rochester. 

It is alleged the two defendants and five children entered a restricted area above the Lower Falls to get a closer look at the waterfall. It is also alleged the men allowed the children – 5 to 12 years old – to enter the water.

It was reported the group began to lose their footing due to the strong current and all were swept over the 70-foot waterfall. 

Staley was said to have been stuck on the brink of the falls for almost two hours until he was saved by the Wyoming County Rope Rescue team. The other three children and Jennings cascaded over the falls and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Searchers continued scouring the river below the falls June 12 and recovered the body of Preston. On June 14, the Underwater Recovery Team from the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and the State Police recovered Dylan’s body. 

“While this case is truly tragic and our hearts go out to the family of the Giangregorio family, it is important to note that their deaths were 100-percent preventable,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “After reviewing the thorough investigation completed by members of the NYS Park Police, and personally surveying the area above the lower falls, I felt that a review by the members of the Wyoming County Grand Jury was warranted and the indictment in this case was the result of their decision.”

Wyoming County Judge Michael Mohun unsealed the indictment Nov. 17 and both defendants were arraigned and released on their own recognizance. 

“It is important to note that the signage in any park means something. Signs are there to give notice, warning and assistance so that your stay can be enjoyable and safe. In the area where this occurred, the signage is clear and unmistakable. However, regardless of signs or no signs, any area directly above or within close proximately to a major waterfall is inherently dangerous and common sense would dictate not allowing children to play in that vicinity. 

“It is a miracle that four other people did not die from going over the falls and it is because of the quick work of first responders and the specialized rescue teams that the fifth person was rescued before serious injury or death occurred.”

Assisting State Park Police in the search included the New York State Police, and NYSP dive team, aviation, and other resources; Pike, Silver Springs, Perry, and Monroe ambulances; Nunda Fire and Ambulance; Castile Fire Department; Livingston County Emergency Services; Mercy Flight; Wyoming County Rope Rescue; Wyoming County Emergency Management; and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office.

See related: Police identify the boys who fell over the falls at Letchworth State Park

Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 6:30 pm

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The gloomy day didn't keep people away from the 41st annual Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show Sunday afternoon.

The three-day event is typically held during the Columbus Day weekend each October. Located at the park’s High Banks Recreation Area, several dozen booths and tents are set up with artists, artisans, and crafters' wares. Additionally, there are a number of mouthwatering smells in the air, that if you follow your nose, you are certain to find a tasty treat at one of several food vendors.

The $10 park entrance fee allows you free admission and parking for the show.

The event is sponsored by the Arts Council for Wyoming County and continues Monday. 

See related: Photos: Plenty of savory delights at Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show

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Monday, July 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm

A third round of strong thunderstorms are now headed for northern Wyoming, northwestern Livingston, and southeastern Genesee counties.

The National Weather Service of Buffalo (NWS) has issued a special weather statement, effective until 1:30 p.m.. A strong thunderstorm was located over Varysburg moving east at 40 mph. 

Winds in excess of 30 mph are possible with this storm. Areas of impact include: Letchworth State Park, Perry, Warsaw, Attica, Varysburg, Covington, Silver Springs, Pavilion, Mount Morris and York.

Frequent cloud-to-ground lightning is happening with this storm. Lightning can strike 10 miles away from a thunderstorm, NWS officials stated. Seek a safe shelter inside a building or vehicle.

Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

Press release:

Today, the New York State Police and New York State Parks Police, were joined by the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee in delivering the message encouraging state park visitors to buckle up for safety.

This initiative partners both police agencies in an enforcement and educational campaign to encourage visitors to properly buckle up their seat belts. It also aims to teach the importance of properly securing our youngest visitors in approved child safety seats. 

Despite the overall success of the recent Click it or Ticket and Buckle Up New York campaigns, a subset of noncompliant motorists still exists. Law enforcement has noticed a disturbing trend of lower seat belt and child restraint use in proximity to state parks located outside large urban areas. It is the goal of this partnership to increase compliance and raise awareness of this issue with this joint summer parks enforcement initiative.

Since New York became the first state in the nation to enact a primary seat belt law, effective Jan. 1, 1985, countless lives have been saved. The seat belt compliance rate has steadily increased, reaching more than 90 percent in 2014. However, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1 through 13 years of age. Based on U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash data in 2011, on average, nearly two children (13 years old and younger in a passenger vehicle) were killed and 338 were injured each day. This fatality rate could be reduced by about half if correct child safety seats were always used.

“As the summer travel season continues, the State Police, State Parks Police and our partners strongly encourage the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats in motor vehicles,” said New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II. “This is about protecting the smallest New Yorkers, our children. By simply buckling up, we can reduce severe injuries and deaths in motor vehicle crashes. We will continue to work diligently to promote proper seat belt use and compliance."

“Taking a few seconds to buckle up could be a life changing decision. State Park Police Officers make it their priority to protect both children and adults and ensure that they do not put themselves – and others at risk for injury by not clicking it,” said State Park Police Maj. David Page, commanding officer of the Western District. “An action as simple as buckling your seat belt or securing your child in a child safety seat could be all it takes to stay unharmed.”

“New York is home to a world-class system of state parks extending from the tip of Long Island to the eastern shores of Lake Erie, eclipsing 65 million visits last year alone,” said Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Terri Egan. “People clamor to visit our state parks during the summertime, making it more important than ever to ensure that we are all doing our part to keep each other safe by buckling up and obeying vehicle and traffic laws. There are simple rules to follow and they save thousands of lives every year: one passenger per seat, and everyone is in the proper child passenger safety seat and others wear the proper seat belt. I encourage all New Yorkers to have a safe, happy, and healthy summer in our state parks.”

"The National Park Service is proud to participate in Buckle up New York. We want our visitors and local communities to have an enjoyable and safe visit in our national parks this summer,” said Chief of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Services for the National Park Service Charles Cuvelier. “Wearing a seat belt and using child restraint systems while driving in our national parks is one of the most effective things you can do to protect yourself in a crash and it’s the law. Towards Zero! is a combined effort using education and enforcement to meet our goal of zero traffic-related deaths is possible if you buckle up."

This event coincides with one of the peak times that visitors travel to state parks throughout New York, and the goal is for motorists and their families to arrive and depart safely. Increasing seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to reduce crash related injuries and fatalities. Ensuring motorists adhere to proper child restraint laws will, no doubt, protect the lives of many that cannot speak for themselves.

This year, the National Park Service and New Jersey State Police will be participating in this campaign. Joint details will be conducted with the State Police and State Park Police in New Jersey at recreation areas and state parks near the New York border. The New Jersey State Police will be joined by the U.S. Park Police, Sheriff’s offices of Monmouth and Sussex counties; and Highlands, Sea Bright, and Middletown police departments during their enforcement campaign.

During the 2015 Buckle Up New York (BUNY) in the Parks campaign, State Police and State Parks Police issued more than 2,000 tickets. More than 1,200 of those tickets were for improper child restraints and nearly 500 for adult seat belt violations.

Highlights of New York State's occupant restraint law:

    • In the front seat, the driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt, one person per belt. The driver and front-seat passengers 16 years of age or older can be fined up to $50 each for failure to buckle up;

    • Every occupant, regardless of age or seating position, of a motor vehicle being operated by the holder of a Class-DJ Learner Permit, a Limited Class-DJ, or Class-DJ Driver License must be restrained by a safety restraint;

    • Each passenger under age 16 must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child safety restraint system. The restraint system must comply with the child height and weight recommendations determined by the manufacturer. Depending on the size of the child, the restraint system may be a safety seat or a booster seat used in combination with a lap and shoulder belt; and

    • The driver must make sure that each passenger under 16 years of age obeys the law. The driver can be fined $25 to $100 and receive up to three driver license penalty points for each violation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:58 am

On Monday at 1 p.m. Letchworth State Park will cut the ribbon and open the Humphrey Nature Center. 

The opening of the Nature Center's Castile location at 1 Letchworth State Park is the culmination of work by the park and its partner in the endeavor, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo.

“This facility has been a project almost 40 years in the making, with many dedicated individuals donating their time and resources to make the Nature Center a possibility,” said Peter Humphrey, chair of the Letchworth Nature Center Campaign Committee.

The 5,000-square-foot building will be the central point for new interpretive programming offered in the park. The Center will include meeting and classroom space, interactive exhibits designed to lead visitors out to engage with the park, and a butterfly garden. The facility will also connect to multiuse trails. 

Additionally, the Nature Center will serve as a valuable resource for expanded research with internship, volunteer and partnership opportunities. These opportunities are available to SUNY Geneseo students, who formed a formal partnership with Letchworth State Park in spring of 2015.

As part of the new partnership agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding, SUNY Geneseo agreed to provide up to $75,000 in teaching, display and research equipment. The educational contributions are to be used in the Nature Center and in research projects undertaken by the college students and Letchworth State Park staff. An advisory committee will oversee design elements and contributions from SUNY Geneseo as construction plans for the center move forward.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:30 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, accident, Castile, Letchworth State Park.

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Photo submitted by the New York State Police.

The body of 9-year-old Dylan Giangregorio was recovered from the Genesee River late Tuesday afternoon.

Dylan was one of seven extended family members who had gone over the Lower Falls at Letchworth State Park Saturday. His 6-year-old brother Preston was recovered from the river Sunday afternoon. 

State Park Police Maj. David Page reported that calls about “numerous” people going over the falls came in around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. When first responders arrived on the scene, it was found that two adults and five children were playing in the water when one slipped, sending all seven cascading over the falls.

Five of the waders involved in the mishap were rescued Saturday and taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for various injuries.

Searchers continued scouring the river below the falls Sunday and recovered the body of Preston but were unable to find his brother Dylan. On Monday, the search continued but yielded no results. 

Late Tuesday, the Underwater Recovery Team from the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and the State Police located Dylan. He was removed from the scene and taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Law enforcement and emergency responders involved in this tragic accident worked diligently to locate the two victims, and offer their sympathies to the family and friends of Dylan and his brother Preston, police officials said in a statement released late Tuesday.

As this is an ongoing investigation, the names of all those involved in the accident are not being released.

Witnesses to Saturday’s events are asked to call Park Police at (585) 658-4692.

Assisting State Park Police in the search included the New York State Police, and NYSP dive team, aviation, and other resources; Pike, Silver Springs, Perry, and Monroe ambulances; Nunda Fire and Ambulance; Castile Fire Department; Livingston County Emergency Services; Mercy Flight; Wyoming County Rope Rescue; Wyoming County Emergency Management; and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office.

Park officials urge park patrons to remain on designated trails and in authorized areas.

See related: Police identigy the boys who fell over the falls at Letchworth State Park

Monday, June 13, 2016 at 6:55 pm

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Photo submitted by the New York State Police.

Earlier today, the New York State Police released the names of the two boys who went missing after a fall over the Lower Falls at Letchworth State Park early Saturday evening. 

Preston and Dylan Giangregorio were two of seven members of an extended family involved in the mishap who were playing in the water Saturday afternoon when the accident occurred.

The victim recovered Sunday afternoon from the Genesee River has been identified as 6-year-old Preston. His 9-year-old brother Dylan is still missing. The boys are from Brockport.

Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, calls started coming in about multiple people going over the falls. Park officials said one person slipped, creating a domino effect, thus causing all seven waders over the 60-foot drop.

Five of those involved in the incident were rescued Saturday and taken to Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, with various injuries.

The group was in a restricted area at the time of the accident.

On the scene Saturday were the State Park and New York State police; and Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies. State Police helicopters and Underwater Recovery Team (URT) were also being used in the search.

Throughout the day today, the state police and Livingston County Sheriff’s Office URT continued their search of the Genesee River below the Lower Falls. Assisting the law enforcement in the water was Adventure Calls Rafting, Inc. Additionally, State Park Police and troopers were assisted at the scene by Pike Ambulance.

As of 4:30 p.m. today, searches have not yielded any additional findings and will continue tomorrow.

Areas near and around the lower falls at the park are still closed.

As this is an ongoing investigation, the names of the others involved in the mishap are not being released at this time. 

See related: One child still missing after fall over Lower Falls at Letchworth State Park

Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 5:18 pm

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One of seven people who went over the Lower Falls at Letchworth State Park Saturday remains missing.

During a press conference held at the Visitors Center at the park today, New York State Park Police Maj. David Page told reporters that calls began coming in at approximately 6:30 p.m. indicating that numerous people were in the water.

When first responders arrived, it was determined that two adults and five juveniles were in the water above the falls. One person slipped, which created a domino effect that swept all seven people over the 60-foot waterfall. 

“Five people were rescued yesterday, two adult males and three juvenile females. One child was recovered about mid-afternoon today,” Page said. 

There are signs posted throughout the park indicating to patrons to stay on the trails and out of the water, unless in designated areas. While the water looks beautiful, the rocks can become slippery from the algae, park officials report.

Searches of the Genesee River below the Lower Falls for the missing child will continue. The names of those involved in the accident are not being released at this time and are all from the Rochester area.

Assisting State Park Police today in the search included the New York State Police, and NYSP dive team, aviation, and other resources.

Saturday emergency responders included: Pike, Silver Springs, Perry, and Monroe ambulances; Nunda Fire and Ambulance; Castile Fire Department; Livingston County Emergency Services; Mercy Flight; Wyoming County Rope Rescue; Wyoming County Emergency Management; and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office.

Park users are urged to remain on designated trails and in authorized areas.

“Stay on the trails,” Page said. “Really…stay on the trails for your own safety.”

Witnesses to last night's events are asked to call Park Police at (585) 658-4692.

Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

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Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6:30 p.m. today, 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

See our Facebook page for more photos.

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Friday, May 27, 2016 at 11:19 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Event Date and Time: 
May 30, 2016 - 6:00am

Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 11:18 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Event Date and Time: 
May 29, 2016 - 6:30pm

Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 11:17 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Event Date and Time: 
May 29, 2016 - 6:00am

Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 11:15 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Event Date and Time: 
May 28, 2016 - 6:30pm

Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 11:14 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Event Date and Time: 
May 28, 2016 - 6:00am

Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 11:13 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Event Date and Time: 
May 27, 2016 - 6:30pm

Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally will be held at 6:30 p.m. today, 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 6 a.m. Monday. The balloons will be launching from the Archery Field at Letchworth State Park, Castile. 

For more information visit Balloonsoverletchworth.com or call (585) 493-3600.

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