Establishment of Northampton Park:
During the Kennedy era, the ripples of change were felt strongly in Monroe County NY. Heightened awareness of public and environmental issues paired with passing of the Federal Land and Water Conservation Act of 1963 drove local legislators to not only look toward expansion of existing recreational areas, but propose the establishment of a sprawling new Park on the West side of the County. Salmon Creek Park, as Northampton was originally known, was to be the jewel of Monroe County’s crown. With an initial estimate of $400,000 for 800 acres in 1963, plans soon expanded to include nearly 200 additional acres. In total, approximately 70 separate parcels of land were obtained in order to make up the nearly 1000 acres of Northampton Park. Many parcel owners willingly sold their land, however others refused and their land was “appropriated” via eminent domain.
After many years of planning, Northampton Park was finally established in 1965 with a total cost close to $950,000; a sum that would translate to a staggering $7 Million today! Of the monies required to obtain Northampton lands, 25% came from Federal grants, 58% were obtained from State grants, and Monroe County contributed the remaining 17%. With such an economic history, it is safe to say that everyone across the Country has a vested interest in Northampton Park; it’s truly the People’s Park.
Collaborative interest in the welfare of Northampton continued years after its establishment. In the Fall of 1970, a conservation project known as a “shovel and pail session” was held in Northampton Park. The project participants consisted of a group of Camp Fire Girls and their fathers (55 individuals total) who, in cooperation with the County Parks Department, planted 2000 trees and shrubs in the Park in a single day. Their efforts allowed Northampton to mature into the magnificent gem it is today, with a diverse range of precious habitats that support a wide variety of flora and fauna.