Governor Hochul Announces Improved Public Access at Hempstead Lake State Park

May 13, 2022

Originally published in on May 13, 2022.

The 8,000-square-foot Environmental Education and Resiliency Center offers hands-on learning on the topics of storm resiliency and environmental management; provides space for community outreach; and serves as an emergency coordination center during disaster response.

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced completion of $3.6 million in improvements at Hempstead Lake State Park on Long Island that enhance public accessibility to the park and its namesake lake, the largest body of freshwater in Nassau County. The project included creation of 4.75 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, along with improved connections to the lake and ponds with a kayak launch and fishing pier.

Recently completed work at the park that is now open to the public includes:

  • a new ADA compliant fishing pier on Hempstead Lake with light-piercing decks for enhanced fish habitat;
  • a new 20-foot observation tower that provides panoramic views:
  • a new elevated walkway that provides ADA access to the tower;
  • a new ADA compliant kayak launch with a drop-off ramp;
  • two raised crosswalks with solar flashing stop signs;
  • new 10-foot wide trails with stone dust optimized for equestrian riding: and
  • new stairs and handrails providing safe public access to the lake.


The improvements are part of a $47 million transformation of Hempstead Lake State Park, supported by a $35 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, and $12 million in Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) capital funds. This project is the result of a partnership involving State Parks, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, HUD, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project is part of the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery's $125 million Living with the Bay initiative to increase the resiliency of communities along Mill River and around South Shore bays by mitigating damage from storm surges; managing stormwater to mitigate damages from common rain events; improving habitat and water quality; and increasing access to the Mill River through both educational and increased recreational opportunities.

State Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Hempstead Lake State Park is both a vital environmental resource and important recreation area enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Nassau County residents and visitors each year. These improvements will ensure that residents can enjoy this beautiful green space for generations to come. I thank New York State Parks for their continued partnership and dedication to preserving our valuable natural resources and enhancing New Yorkers' quality of life.” 

Read the full release.