Parks Family Outdoor Center closed through June 1

Parks Family Outdoor Center closed through June 1


The William H. Parks Family Environmental and Outdoor Education Center facilities at Raquette Lake and Brauer Field Station are closed through Monday, June 1.

Additionally, a number of programs originally scheduled for beyond that date are being canceled, rescheduled or moved online.

“We are unsure of what the future holds as updates and health recommendations change,” said Rhonda Pitoniak '01, M '16, Parks Family Outdoor Center director.

“The late opening, and questions about when we might open, have pushed some programs to 2021.”

Program changes to date include:

  • The Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department will move its two-week Outdoor Education Practicum from this year to 2021.
  • The Physical Education Department will move its Spring/Winter Outdoor Education Practicum for Physical Education Teachers to a split course online format.
  • Field Biology, a two-week course taught in August at Raquette Lake by the Biological Sciences Department, has been cancelled for 2020.
  • This year’s Geology Camp, normally held at the W.H. Parks Family Outdoor Center at Brauer Field Station, is cancelled and will be delivered in an online format.
  • The annual Adirondack Trail Blazers trip for newly admitted first-year students to the W.H. Parks Outdoor Center at Huntington in late August is cancelled for this year.
  • Previously scheduled volunteer work weekends are cancelled.

The Brauer Field Station south of Albany, N.Y., typically hosts three-, four- or five-week course options for geology majors, Pitoniak said. The course offerings will not take place at the field station this year.

Field Biology, a two-week course taught in August, has been cancelled for 2020, in consideration for students who need to be able to make plans about their credits toward graduation. For some students, it would have been their last coursework at SUNY Cortland, Pitoniak said.

For recreation majors, the Outdoor Education Practicum has been rescheduled for 2021, Pitoniak explained.

The Outdoor Education Practicum for Physical Education Teachers has had some adjustments. One option for the two-week course includes a one-week experience in winter and a one-week experience in spring called the spring/winter course.

“Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate this past winter,” Pitoniak said. “The Physical Education Department staff quickly adjusted and planned to have the students learn online and have a weekend camping experience. The students were not able to attend the camping weekend experience due to COVID-19. The entire split course has been reworked to take place online. The additional physical education practicums are being reviewed. A number of options are discussed depending on when restrictions are lifted.”   

Cancellations include the popular volunteer work weekends at both Antlers and Camp Huntington, a few historical tours and four middle and high school groups, Pitoniak said.

“Raquette Lake is located in Hamilton County, which is the largest by land mass, yet is the least populated,” Pitoniak said. “There are no hospitals or pharmacies in the county. A concern of the folks in this remote mountain town are people coming from every corner of the state and potentially unknowingly bringing the COVID-19 virus here. Currently there are two positive cases in the county.

“We know that folks are itching to get outside, to move and travel,” Pitoniak said. “At this time, we are encouraging people to get outside locally where they live. The Adirondacks, Raquette Lake and our facilities are not going anywhere.”

The W.H. Parks Family Outdoor Center at Hoxie Gorge remains open for walking with six-foot physical distancing, she said. Masks should be carried and worn if crossing paths with others.

For more information, contact Pitoniak at 607-753-5485.

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Parks Family Outdoor Center closed through June 1

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