Ryan Trail Cabins, Allegany State Park, New York

Ryan Trail Cabins, Allegany State Park, New York

PROJECT PARTNER: Allegany State Park and the New York State Park System

Adapted from New York State Parks' publication on the history of Allegany State Park, which can be read hereUntil 1797, what is today western New York State was the sole domain of the Seneca Indians. Quaker missionaries arrived in 1798, and five years later bought land and began farming at what is today known as Quaker Run. In 1816, they established the area's first formal school, and in 1848 established the Friends Boarding School for Indian Children. As industry and technology advanced increasingly fast with the advent of the Industrial Age, the quietude of that area was eventually lost to lumbering and associated industries. By 1850 there were sawmills anywhere there was running water. New York State Parks writes, "The late 19th century and early 20th century witnessed the beginning of a change in the way people from outside the park perceived the area. Greater accessibility by rail and later by car began to bring people from the surrounding area for recreation and rest." In 1921 the New York State Legislature authorized the acquisition of 67,000 acres to form Allegany State Park.

Volunteers on this project will work on historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the decades following the park's founding. As cabin accommodations soon became equal or greater in popularity to tent camping, the park built the Ryan Trail cabins. The park report states, "The park was developed extensively between 1933 and 1942 when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) took on the project of building roads, bridges, camping areas, trails, and picnic areas. The CCC was also responsible for numerous conservation projects from reforestation to stream bank retention and wildlife improvements."

Today, the large park remains a source of relaxation and recreation for visitors, however the Ryan Trail Cabins are in a state of deterioration and need work to once again become an overnight rental opportunity for guests. They are located in a beautiful area of the park, near a clear stream and several hiking trails. View a video of the cabins here. Join us on this project to rehabilitate ten historic cabins! The snowy photos shown here were taken during the site assessment in January of 2017.

Extra, extra! Read all about it! The Allegany State Park was able to track down an historic newspaper article announcing the construction of the Ryan Trail Cabins. Read it here

WHO:  All are welcome, no experience needed. Those under age 18 must have a parent or guardian accompany them. A special welcome to students and alumni of Alfred State!

HistoriCorps Institute: Students interested in earning the Certificate of Achievement in Heritage Conservation and Construction through participating on this project for one or more sessions should contact Jamie Tobias, jtobias@historicorps.org.

WHAT:  In order to complete the structural rehabilitation of the ten Ryan Trail Cabins, volunteers will:

  • Re-roof several cabins
  • Repair and replace the cabins' siding
  • Repoint stone masonry on fireplaces
  • Stabilize and rebuild stone piers
  • Rehabilitate windows and window frames
  • Repair flooring
  • Remove graffiti and other evidence of vandalism

WHERE:  Allegany State Park, New York (map)
Nearest town:  Salamanca, NY (map). Has all amenities.


  • HistoriCorps will provide volunteers with lodging in the cabins themselves. Each cabin has two twin beds with mattresses, running water, and electricity - but volunteers will need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towels, toiletries, etc. Showers and toilets will be centrally located.
  • Important: If you do not want to stay in the provided cabins and instead are bringing a tent or an RV, you must reserve and pay for a site within the park. If you would like to dry camp in your RV, there are limited spots about 0.5 miles from the project site, but you must inform Liz (lrice@historicorps.org) ahead of time.
  • Field staff will train volunteers in the project work. All tools are provided. Please do not bring your own tools – we don’t want them to get lost!
  • Given the rural nature of this site, HistoriCorps cannot ensure there will be cell phone service available. To determine if you will have cell service, please check your carrier's coverage map.
  • Volunteers are responsible for their transportation to and from the project site.
  • HistoriCorps will provide volunteers with meals including: breakfast, lunch, dinner, water and snacks.
  • The work day will last from 8:00am – 5:00pm with breaks for lunch, snacks and water in between.
  • Volunteers must come prepared with proper attire including: sturdy work shoes, long pants and a work shirt.

HistoriCorps Institute students who are interested in registering for more than once session: please contact Jamie Tobias at jtobias@historicorps.org. If you have any further questions, please contact Liz Rice, Volunteer Manager, at lrice@historicorps.org or at 720-287-0100 ext. 231. Thank you for your interest in this project!

NOTE: You will know if you have successfully registered if you receive an auto-generated confirmation email, and/or if you receive a greeting from a HistoriCorps staff member. If you do not receive either of these emails, please try once again, and then reach out to Liz at lrice@historicorps.org / 720-287-0100 x231.

  • Session 1
    July 30, 2017 - August 4, 2017
  • Session 2
    August 6, 2017 - August 11, 2017
  • Session 3: Single-day volunteers (M-Th) welcome! Note your schedule in the comments section.
    August 13, 2017 - August 18, 2017
  • Session 4: Single-day volunteers (M-Th) welcome! Note your schedule in the comments section.
    August 20, 2017 - August 25, 2017
  • Session 5
    August 27, 2017 - September 1, 2017
  • Alfred State Student: Sept. 17-22 and 24-29
    September 17, 2017 - September 29, 2017
  • Alfred State Civic Engagement
    September 8, 2017 - September 13, 2017
2017-09-29T09:17:56+00:00 February 23rd, 2017|Comments Off on Ryan Trail Cabins, Allegany State Park, New York