Park workers never paused during COVID-19 pandemic
Brock Morrison, a plumber based at Bear Mountain State Park, replaced faucets throughout the region's parks with automated faucets, an effort aimed at containing the spread of germs during the pandemic.
When COVID-19 brought normal life in New York State to a halt, our state's public parks system remained open. With residents asked to follow strict quarantine directives, CSEA members from Montauk to Niagara Falls were still on the job, keeping parks as accessible as possible as a needed respite for New Yorkers.
CSEA members Jesse Christmas and Richard O'Brien are two members keeping our parks clean. They're pictured with Hessian Lake, a popular picnic spot at Bear Mountain State Park, in the background.
At Bear Mountain State Park and nearby state sites, our members have been working hard to keep up with both regular maintenance and extra efforts to make the parks safer for patrons. Thousands of New Yorkers have filled the parks on good weather days, seeking outdoor space and a safe break from quarantine. Parks are filled to capacity before noon on most weekend days.
At Bear Mountain's on-site carpentry shop, CSEA members Walter Willis, left, and Greg Williams create Plexiglas shields for workers in parking lot toll booths, offices, gift shops, and other locations.
Our members have done the hard work needed to salvage certain summer traditions, such as access to the state beaches at Lake Welch and the campsites at nearby Harriman State Park. They're also completing projects aimed at restoring aging campsites that were built in the 1930s. A crew devoted exclusively to that work was recently in Harriman State Park working to restore Camp Wakonda, which gives children residing in NYC-based homeless shelters a taste of camp life.
John Lawless, an officer with the Palisades Parks Local, shows off a project he and several co-workers completed at a camp in Harriman State Park, gutting and completely renovating a bathroom building that was first constructed in the 1930s as part of work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Keeping our parks operating during COVID-19 has included plenty of challenges, but our members take pride in their work and the knowledge that park patrons -- including the children coming there for summer camp -- will benefit from the fresh air and experience in nature that our parks provide.
CSEA members John Lawless, Juan Ramos, and Nick Sparrow outside one of the buildings they refurbished out at a state campsite at Harriman State Park.
With July being National Park and Recreation Month, we give kudos to CSEA members working in all our public parks. The work you do plays a vital role in the quality of life here across New York State.