Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced continued growth in attendance at New York’s state parks, historic sites and campgrounds, with nearly 38.4 million visits from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day of 2016, an increase of more than 120,000 visits from last year’s summer season. Additionally, at the Governor’s direction, swimming at state park facilities across New York has been extended through September 18th.
“This administration has make an unprecedented investment in our state park system, bringing new facilities, new energy and – as these numbers show – increased attendance during the summer season,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re proud to keep this momentum going with the extension of the swimming season and I encourage all New Yorkers to visit a local state park, historic site or campground, use these great new facilities and experience for themselves the unparalleled natural beauty in every corner of this state.”
State Park attendance has grown exponentially over the last five years, reflecting Governor Cuomo’s strong efforts to improve and promote New York State Parks as a part of his NY Parks 2020 program to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020.
As part of his NY Parks 2020 program, Governor Cuomo launched the Connect Kids to Parks program, which provides free day-use park entry to fourth-grade students and their families. Earlier this summer, the Governor twice extended swimming hours at state park beaches and pools to help New Yorkers cool off during summer heat waves. An estimated 38.36 million visitors took advantage of facilities operated by State Parks throughout the summer season of 2016, compared to 38.24 million estimated in 2015, 35.19 million in 2014, and 34.12 million during 2013.
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Thanks to incredible support from Governor Cuomo, New York State Parks had another tremendous season, with visitors enjoying their time swimming, camping, golfing, hiking and touring historic sites. The attendance numbers confirm that that citizens and tourists alike are rediscovering that our state park system is a must-visit destination for fun, recreation and tourism.”