Former County Executive Honored For State Parks Work

From 2007 until his retirement this year, Mark Thomas directed state parks in the 10 Western New York counties and oversaw the execution of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “NY Parks 2020” initiative which included more than a $125 million investment into Western Region state parks. Thomas’s tenure included the $70 million restoration of Niagara Falls State Park, the nation’s oldest state park, and the opening of the Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park. Image by NYSP Parks/Flickr.com.


ALBANY – Former Chautauqua County Executive Mark Thomas, retired director of the Western District of the state Office of Parks, has been honored with one of the 2018 New York State Historic Preservation Award.

From 2007 until his retirement this year, Thomas directed state parks in the 10 Western New York counties and oversaw the execution of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “NY Parks 2020” initiative which included more than a $125 million investment into Western Region state parks.

Thomas’s tenure included the $70 million restoration of Niagara Falls State Park, the nation’s oldest state park, and the opening of the Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park.



The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) honored seven projects and individuals from around the state with 2018 New York State Historic Preservation Awards to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic landmarks.

Commissioner Rose Harvey presented the awards at a ceremony at the State Museum in Albany.

“Across New York, communities, businesses and individuals are embracing historic preservation strategies to promote community renewal, cultural enrichment and job growth in New York,” Harvey said.



“I congratulate this year’s recipients on their great work that both preserves the distinctive history our communities and helps create a better future for our state.”

From 2007 until his retirement this year, directed state parks in the 10 Western New York counties and oversaw the execution of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “NY Parks 2020” initiative which included more than a $125 million investment into Western Region state parks.

Thomas’s tenure included the $70 million restoration of Niagara Falls State Park, the nation’s oldest state park, and the opening of the Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park.

Thomas served as Chautauqua County Executive from 1998 through 2005. 

After his service as county executive, Thomas was employed by the SUNY Fredonia Center for Rural Regional Development and Governance. There, he managed the Regional Intermunicipal Service Project which researched and promoted the advancement of shared and consolidated municipal services throughout seven Western New York Counties as a means to reduce the cost of local government.

Thomas also served as Pomfret Town Supervisor. And had been employed by the Faculty Student Association at SUNY Brockport where he was responsible for all aspects of facility operations and programming for a 500-acre recreation and educational field campus for the college and community.

Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Parks Administration from the University of Illinois.

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