New York enjoys increase in State Park and Campground attendance
“New York is home to some of the most breathtaking natural settings in the country, and as today’s numbers show, more people are coming to appreciate all that the Empire State has to offer,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a release. “When people see the tremendous natural beauty of New York’s parks and outdoor spaces, they fall in love and spend both time and money here, and that translates to jobs and new opportunities for New Yorkers. I am thrilled that we have had a banner year for summer tourism at New York State parks, and I encourage people to get out and explore more of our great outdoors this fall.”
Nearly 35 million people visited facilities operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation beginning Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day 2014, compared to 34.2 million visitors during the same period in 2013. State campgrounds were also busy, with 470,334 overnight stays at campgrounds operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, up 2 percent from 460,315 overnight stays during the 2013 season.
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “We had a great summer filled with swimming, camping, golfing, hiking and sightseeing at our parks and historic sites. New York is fortunate to have such high-quality State Parks and historic sites across the state, and these visitation numbers reflect Gov. Cuomo’s strong efforts to improve and promote the state’s tremendous outdoor recreation facilities.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation-run facilities in the Adirondacks and Catskills also experienced a substantial growth in attendance this season, with more than 1 million visitors. Campers spent 1.06 million nights on land operated by the Department of Environmental Conversation this season, up 1.3 percent from 1.05 million in 2013. In addition, day-use area attendance jumped 8.9 percent from 319,000 in 2013 to nearly 350,000 during this year’s summer period. Over all, Department of Environmental Conversation facilities experienced a 3.1 percent increase in attendance over the 2013 season.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Gov. Cuomo is committed to highlighting New York’s tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities. Over the past two years, DEC’s campgrounds and day use areas drew more visitors, allowing more people to experience some of the most beautiful natural areas in New York. DEC's 52 facilities located the Adirondack and Catskill Parks provide vast array outdoor opportunities for the entire family to enjoy including hiking, fishing, paddling, island camping and boat launching facilities.”
The summer attendance figures underscore Cuomo’s commitment to improving State parks, expanding access to outdoor recreation, and promoting the State’s vast tourism and recreational attractions. At a May Tourism Summit, the Governor announced the State’s commitment of $45 million to promote tourism, create jobs and attract even more visitors to the Empire State. The 50 percent increase in State funding over the last year gives New York one of the largest state-funded tourism programs in the nation.
Additionally, the governor included a third round of $90 million in New York Works funding for improvements to State parks and historic sites in the 2014-15 State Budget. Launched by the governor in 2012, New York Works is advancing repair and improvement projects at 109 State parks and historic sites.
Outdoor recreation has a significant impact on the New York’s economy. A study by the Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation generates $33.8 billion in consumer spending in New York, directly supporting 305,000 jobs.