11095 Bethany Center Road,
East Bethany, NY 14054
History of Genesee County Park
The Genesee County Park & Forest, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, was established in 1915 and is recognized as the first County Forest in New York State. However, the land was originally purchased in 1882 in order to supply wood to the County's Poor House for cooking and heating.
The County Forest was created through the efforts of George Fleming, County Home Superintendent, who initiated the planting of 31,000 trees. During the 1920's, New York State helped by providing the evergreens and manpower to plant additional trees. By 1935 over 169,000 trees had been planted.
The first proposal for the creation of a County Park was entertained in 1949, however the project was not started until 1966, when the thinning and pruning of trees began. As the park expanded so did the need for forest management. In 1971, the County Legislators appointed the first full-time Park Supervisor-Forester.In 1998, an Interpretive Nature Center was erected in the park. Constructed by volunteers and funded by environmental grants, the Nature Center is open year-round. The Nature Center houses several environmental education displays and plays host to a variety of interpretive programs. An environmental educator is on staff to assist residents and coordinate volunteer efforts.For over 30 years the park has developed because of the interest and dedication of community groups and organizations such as 4-H, Boy Scouts, BOCES, Jaycees, Lions Club, Sertoma and the Vietnam Veterans. These groups planted trees, constructed pavilions and playgrounds, cleared hiking trails and placed memorials.
Today, residents can enjoy 430 acres of forest and rolling hills, which includes over 10 miles of trails, five ponds, a variety of wildlife, trees and woodland plants.