Park system welcomes 38.6 million visitors for peak summer season
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York state parks, historic sites and campgrounds hosted another successful season, with nearly 38.6 million estimated visits from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The state park system saw a 9.6-percent increase in attendance from the same summer period in 2014.
"From fishing and hiking to biking and camping, New York state parks offer a wealth of extraordinary opportunities that more and more visitors are coming to discover," Cuomo said Wednesday. "I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to mark the end of the summer, or to kick off fall, with a trip to one of New York's state parks and experience some of the natural beauty that lies in every corner of this state."
"Labor Day weekend capped a gorgeous summer in New York at our parks and historic sites," said Rose Harvey, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "State park attendance has been consistently growing over the last four years, reflecting Gov. Cuomo's strong efforts to improve and promote New York state parks."
More than 38.6 million visitors (estimated) took advantage of facilities operated by State Parks beginning Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, compared to 35.2 million visitors during the Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day season in 2014. The summer season finished with a strong Labor Day weekend, with 2.2 million estimated visitors for the three-day period, up from 2 million visitors during Labor Day weekend 2014.
Park attendance was boosted by a variety of factors, including the return of fireworks to Jones Beach State Park after a five-year absence; national exposure for Letchworth and Watkins Glen State Parks, which were ranked first and third best state parks in the nation by USA Today; improvements to the newly designated Buffalo Harbor State Park on the city's waterfront; favorable weather through the summer; and a late season.
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.
Under Cuomo's leadership, New York is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The governor's NY Parks 2020 program is a multiyear commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for state parks from 2011-20. The governor's 2015-16 executive budget allocates $110 million toward this initiative.