The state Parks Department commissioner has a sweetheart deal to rent for just peanuts a Victorian mansion on bucolic parkland.
Carol Ash pays $713 a month for the mansion, which is located on an eight-acre section of Tallman Mountain State Park in Rockland County and is inaccessible to the public, The Post has learned.
The house, in Sparkill, could fetch $2.5 million on the open market or bring in $4,500 to $7,500 in monthly rent to help fill state coffers, according to a local broker.
Ash is one of about 1,250 state workers, including 69 in the Parks Department, who get cut-rate housing -- some paying less than $100 a month, according to information obtained by The Post from the Office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The accommodations also include trailers used by correction officers on prison grounds and houses for college presidents.
The assistant manager of Heckscher State Park, in Long Island, rents a shingled house with a turret for $856 a month, less than half the price of rentals in the area.
The Parks Department tries to fill its homes "with people we know can take care of the properties," such as park managers, said Eileen Larrabee, a department spokeswoman.
Ash's deal goes back to 1999, when she was named director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The commission controls who rents the house, and the revenue goes to the state.
In 2005, she led a public tour of the 1850s house, known as the Hopson-Swan Estate, and described it as a mansion with high ceilings, tall windows and "spacious interiors." It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ash, commissioner since 2007, kept the mansion despite working in Albany and living outside the capital in Rensselaerville. Her husband, Joshua Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who works at Columbia University, has an 18-mile car ride from the house in the park.
Ash stays in the park mansion a few days a month, and her husband uses it as well, Larrabee said.
Larrabee also said Ash and Friedman are leaving the park, a decision made in March -- before The Post started asking about her living arrangements.
Rents for state houses are set by the Division of Budget based on the location and number of rooms.
No employee pays more than $902 a month, according to the Comptroller's Office.