Public-private partnership with Toyota, American Park Network provides connectivity for visitors
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced an expansion of the New York State Parks free public Wi-Fi program at select properties. This season, the much-requested service will be available at Gantry Plaza in Queens, Roberto Clemente in the Bronx, Bear Mountain State Park in the Hudson Valley, and additional locations at Niagara Falls State Park in Western New York this season.
The creative public/private partnership is the result of a long-term collaboration between State Parks, Toyota and American Park Network.
This expansion builds on the free public Wi-Fi systems already installed at Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Niagara Falls, Saratoga Spa and East River State Parks, which host more than 27 million visitors annually.
"New York's remarkable state park system welcomes tens of millions each year, and more and more families are looking to explore the outdoors and make the most of precious leisure time by having access to popular conveniences." said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "Working with our partners, we are pleased to expand this valuable service at these treasured parks and destinations for the coming season, building on our commitment to improving the overall visitor experience."
The service, called Oh, Ranger!" Wi-Fi, is part of a program made possible through the support of Toyota, with the equipment, installation, programming, monitoring and maintenance all being provided at no cost to taxpayers. Visitors at the participating parks access the free Wi-Fi in two easy steps by simply selecting the Oh, Ranger! Wi-Fi network on their device and then accepting the standard terms and conditions.
In addition to providing free connectivity for millions of visitors, the Toyota-supported public Wi-Fi is a digital information portal that can help educate visitors, identify park visitation patterns, generate awareness of upcoming programs and events, serve as an operations management tool, and promote volunteerism and park friends groups like the Natural Heritage Trust, which supports New York State Parks.
Wi-Fi is now available for free to the public in parks that receive nearly 40 percent of total state park visitation. The expanded Wi-Fi presence complements many other developments and visitor improvements in the parks, such as the picnic area at Roberto Clemente, the Cave of the Winds complex at Niagara Falls, which features the new year-round interactive experience, and the addition of a new ferry stop at Gantry Plaza State Park. These sites will now offer visitors the convenience of free connectivity.
Steven Curtis, vice president, engagement marketing and media, Toyota Motor North America Inc., said, "Toyota is excited to build upon our partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and American Park Network to provide free public Wi-Fi to these four important parks in New York. We believe our responsibility as a mobility company is to reduce our environmental footprint by developing vehicles like Prius and Mirai. At the same time, we aim to support our partners in their mission to promote greater environmental appreciation and awareness in local communities. We're grateful for this opportunity and hope that it will enhance the experience of visiting these New York public parks."
Mark Saferstein, publisher and editor-in-chief at American Park Network, said, "We're thrilled that Toyota's ongoing commitment allows us to bring free internet to millions of visitors to New York State Parks, as well as to other iconic outdoor destinations all across America. They've set a great example of how corporations can serve the public good. We look forward to collaborating with Toyota to encourage everyone to get outdoors."
Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's leadership, New York is making an historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The governor's NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011-20.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 71 million people annually. A recent study found State Parks generates $5 billion in park and visitor spending, which supports nearly 54,000 jobs and over $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.