Hamlin Beach State Park getting overhaul

Staff Reports Posted 21 July 2016 at 7:45 pm

Bathhouse gets $1.5 million in upgrades, $750,000 more in park improvements coming

Hamlin Beach bathhouse

File photos by Tom Rivers – The Bathhouse, built of Medina sandstone, is pictured before receiving $1.5 million in improvements.

HAMLIN – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the $1.5 million initiative to modernize and preserve the Depression-era bathhouse at Hamlin Beach State Park is complete.

Construction has also begun on a $750,000 project to expand educational and recreational activities within the Park’s Yanty Marsh – an ecologically unique area, popular for birdwatching, fishing, paddling and nature observation. The enhancements will feature a new boardwalk nature trail and observation tower.

The projects are funded by Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment of $900 million in private and public funding to revitalize State Parks.

Hamlin Beach is just east of Orleans County.  The park includes many structures made of Medina sandstone. When the country was in the grips of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservations Corps was established. About 2 million people were put to work, including about 1,200 people at Hamlin from June 1935 to August 1941.
“New York’s parks are gateways to the unique natural beauty that exists in every corner of the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “Beyond their unrivaled aesthetics and array of recreational opportunity, our parks are places of solace for millions of New Yorkers and visitors alike. The improvements at Hamlin Beach State Park are essential to its long-term viability and preservation, and with new scenic trails and modern facilities, will continue to attract visitors and inject more tourism dollars into the Finger Lakes’ economy.”

Modernization of Depression-Era Bathhouse

The bathhouse, built of Medina sandstone in 1939-40 by members of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, underwent a complete renovation to protect the building’s historic integrity and modernize public spaces. The project included:
• Repurposing the front lobby area to allow for a new food services and public programs.
• Renovating both the Men’s and Women’s Locker and Bathrooms to fully meet current codes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Repairing the historic masonry and replacing the roof with material to reestablish the building’s historic appearance.
• Renovating the exterior area of the facility, including new stamped concrete walkways, an ADA compliant ramp, new landscaping, and outdoor shower towers.
• Rehabilitating the lifeguard/first aid area.
• Replacing the water, sewer and electrical systems of the building.

Yanty Marsh Nature Trail Rehabilitation and Improvements

State Parks has also begun a $750,000 project to enhance educational and recreational activities in the Yanty Marsh, an ecologically unique area of the park.

The project calls for the construction of a new boardwalk over Yanty Marsh with a large turnaround, providing visitors a 360-degree view of the marsh. The boardwalk will enhance both recreational and educational opportunities within the Yanty Marsh area, providing visitors a closer view of the flora and fauna found within the marsh.

An existing observation platform, located northwest of the proposed boardwalk near the edge of the marsh, will be replaced with a new ADA-compliant platform at a higher elevation at the same location, offering visitors, such as bird watchers, an expansive view of the Yanty Marsh area.

Additional improvements include:
• Rehabilitating and resurfacing the park’s existing the self-guided Yanty Marsh Nature Trail;
• Creating two “potholes” or open water pockets, one on either side of the proposed boardwalk, to provide new habitat for aquatic flora and fauna, increasing the diversity of species present within the Yanty Marsh area;
• Constructing a new shelter within the picnic and parking area to enhance public use of this portion of the park;
• Modernizing the area’s outdated car-top boat launch to encourage public access to the park and Lake Ontario.

Visitors should be aware the Yanty Marsh area will be closed to the public during construction activities.
“Hamlin Beach State Park has hosted memorable gatherings of friends and family for generations, and the historic bathhouse renovations and Yanty Marsh improvements will ensure these happy traditions continue,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “I’m grateful that Governor Cuomo understands the importance of protecting and enhancing what is special about Hamlin Beach and all of our State Parks across New York.”

Hamlin Beach bathhouse

Hamlin Beach with its many Medina sandstone buildings was nominated for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2013.