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DEC encourages New Yorkers to sign up for 'Love Our New York Lands' stewardship events


Mon, Jun 26th 2023 05:15 pm

Volunteer events scheduled at 13 state-owned campgrounds on July 8

√ Online registration now open, sign up here

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced registration is open for a new stewardship day at state-owned campgrounds on Saturday, July 8. The event, a partnership between Parks & Trails New York, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and DEC, encourages New Yorkers and visitors to give back to the campgrounds they love by volunteering.

“DEC continues to see an increase in the number of visitors to the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, where we have seen growing numbers for several years,” Seggos said. “Environmental stewards play a critical role protecting these irreplaceable natural resources, and DEC continues to encourage visitors to ‘Love Our New York Lands’ by visiting safely and responsibly. Public lands belong to all of us, our families and our neighbors, and, by working together and partnering in events like these, we can all preserve these areas for years to come.”

Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in events at 11 DEC campground facilities in the Adirondack and Catskill parks and select State Park properties across the state. Registration for “Love Our New York Lands” stewardship/campgrounds day can be completed here.

DEC operates 52 campgrounds and five day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve that provide a wide variety of experiences, including island camping, tent and trailer camping, boat launching facilities, hiking trails, beaches and day-use areas with picnic tables and grills. The camping season runs through the summer, with some facilities remaining open during fall foliage and hunting season.

State Parks operates 68 park campgrounds, featuring 8,148 campsites, 18 yurts and 967 cabins and cottages, including full-service cottages with amenities such as power, kitchen, bath, beds, living room, and outdoor living space.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “Every season, our state campgrounds provide the setting for families to connect with nature, explore the outdoors and create special memories. To ensure that these amazing places can be enjoyed by future generations, these themed ‘Love Our New York Lands’ events will help expand the opportunities to give back, volunteer and promote responsible stewardship in our campgrounds and state lands across New York.”

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Paul Steely White said, “Our campgrounds give us experiences that no other places can: The exhilaration of sleeping under the stars; the taste of campfire treats; the joy of connecting with nature, and each other. So, it’s no surprise that New York’s campgrounds are more popular than ever before. Now, let’s give back! Join us on campgrounds day to nurture these special places that do such a good job of nurturing us.”

A press release noted, “Volunteers will celebrate New York's public campgrounds by cleaning up debris, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitats, removing invasive species and working on various site improvement projects.

“Camping is a healthy and affordable recreation activity for New Yorkers and visitors. The state-operated campgrounds of New York welcome millions of visitors annually, and this event is a great way for those campers and other stewards to give back to our incredible facilities that they love.

The ‘Love Our New York Lands’ campaign, launched in 2020 by DEC and State Parks, encourages all users of state-owned lands to recognize that these lands belong to all of us, our families, and our neighbors, and we all need to take care of them.

“The campaign includes guidance on Leave No Trace principles so that visitors can do their part to help ensure these special places are protected for future generations. ‘Love Our New York Lands’ encourages visitors to be respectful of other visitors in these shared spaces. Visitors are asked to share trails, treat people with kindness, and leave things as they found them for others to enjoy. Visitors are encouraged to think of themselves as responsible for helping protect these irreplaceable destinations for future generations.

“One way to give back to our public lands is to seek out local or statewide cleanup days like ‘I Love My Park Day.’ To build on the success of ‘I Love My Park Day’ and to carry that spirit of stewardship and volunteerism throughout the year, Parks & Trails New York, as well as New York State Parks and DEC, are introducing themed statewide stewardship days in 2023 throughout the summer and fall.

More information on Parks & Trails New York can be found here

State Parks is online at www.parks.ny.gov.

Under the “Adventure NY” initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active, outdoor recreation; connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors; protect natural resources; and boost local economies. Read more on DEC's website.

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