New York State Governor Kathy Hochul designated Bryan Erwin of Mattituck, Long Island, the new chair of the State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Council of Parks consists of the chairs of the eleven regional park commissions, the Commissioner of State Parks, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Chair of the State Board of Historic Preservation.
The State Council of Parks is a 14-member body established by Article 5 of the state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law (PRHPL). The State Council is comprised of the Chairs of the eleven Regional Park Commissions, the Chair of the State Board for Historic Preservation, and the Commissioners of State Parks and Environmental Conservation.
As defined in PRHPL Section 5.09, the State Council of Parks is a central advisory agency on all matters affecting parks, recreation, and historic preservation.
The eleven Regional Parks Commissions, created by PRHPL Article 7, represent each of the State Parks Regions, except for the Palisades (which is represented by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission) and the Adirondack and Catskill Park Region (which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Conservation).
Regional Commission members must be residents of the state and are appointed to seven-year terms by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and serve without compensation. Regional Commissions serve as central advisory bodies on all matters affecting parks, recreation, and historic preservation within their respective regions, with a focus on the operations of State Parks and Historic Sites.
Erwin is the current Chair of the Long Island State Park Commission, first appointed in December of 2008. He was reappointed in June of 2021 for a second seven-year term. In January of 2022, he was named acting Chair of the New York State Council of Parks. With his acceptance to the post, he also takes a seat on the board of the Natural Heritage Trust and the New York State Board for Historic Preservation.
Erwin has a master’s degree from Cornell University in International Trade and Finance. He was selected by President Obama in 2010 to run the Trade Advocacy Center to facilitate U.S. Government advocacy on behalf of U.S. exporters. Erwin hails from the North Fork on Long Island.
Erwin succeeds Lucy R. Waletzky, who served as chair from 2007 to 2021. Previous chairs have included Robert Moses and Laurance Rockefeller.
According to their 2022 Annual Report, in addition to Erwin, the Council of Parks includes:
Wendy Myers Brand, Acting Chair, Allegany Commission
Cornelius B. Murphy, Chair, Central Commission
W. David Banfield, Chair, Finger Lakes Commission
Nathan E. Coogan, Chair, Genesee Commission
Leisle Lin, Acting Chair, New York City Commission
Cindy Abbott Letro, Chair, Niagara Frontier Commission
Bryce O’Brien, Vice President, Palisades Commission
Heather Mabee, Chair, Saratoga-Capital District Commission
Edgar M. Masters, Chair, Taconic Commission
Harold Johnson II, Chair, Thousand Islands Commission
Douglas Perrelli, Chair, State Board For Historic Preservation
Photo: Members of the State Council of Parks in 2022 at Minnewaska State Park.