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'Get Outdoors & Get Together Day' on Saturday, June 8


Mon, Jun 3rd 2024 07:00 am

Inclusive, accessible day of family-friendly recreation and fun taking place at DEC, state parks, and other public lands across NYS

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced “Get Outdoors & Get Together Day” will be held Saturday, June 8, with events at more than 20 select locations across New York to bring people of all abilities, ages, identities and backgrounds together for a day of fun, healthy activities.

Her team said, “Supporting the state’s ongoing efforts to broaden the diversity of users and ensure inclusivity of access to state public lands, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in partnership with the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and the Department of Veterans' Services, are hosting free events to connect people to nature and provide increased access to the outdoors.”

“ ‘Get Outdoors & Get Together Day’ is an event for every New Yorker to participate in and enjoy,” Hochul said. “We’ve prioritized accessibility in New York state and are proud that a diverse cross-section of people already visit our spectacular public lands and facilities. We want New Yorkers to know that, no matter what their background or ability, New York state resources are shared by all.”

At 22 locations across the state, participants will be encouraged to discover new skills and enjoy a range of introductory-level outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, nature walks and hikes, birding, archery, camping and paddling. Each event will highlight ways to enjoy the outdoors safely and sustainably. All locations will offer a selection of accessible activities and use of adaptive equipment, and demonstrations will be provided at many sites, including trail and beach mobility aids, archery assist stands, arm supports for fishing, and more.

New York's ”Get Outdoors & Get Together Day” coincides with National Get Outdoors Day, an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. Most “Get Outdoors & Get Together Day” celebrations will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., with a few exceptions.

Hochul’s team said “Get Outdoors & Get Together Day” events support New Yorkers of all ability levels in trying healthy outdoor activities.

New York State Chief Disability Officer Kimberly Hill Ridley said, “I encourage New Yorkers with disabilities and their families and friends to join us on Saturday, June 8, at one of the events being held across the state. There are so many accessible and inclusive features at our state parks and lands, and ‘Get Outdoors & Get Together Day’ is an excellent time to learn about them and take advantage of all that is offered.”

New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kerri Neifeld said, “OPWDD is looking forward to joining State Parks, DEC and the Department of Veterans’ Services for ‘Get Outdoors and Get Together Day’ this year. When we see people with and without disabilities enjoying the great outdoors together and interacting with one another, we are reminded how alike we all are and how much our lives are enhanced when we come together and learn from each other. There is nothing better than seeing people of all abilities having fun together and enjoying the inclusive and accessible activities we are so fortunate to have here in New York State.”

New York State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, "Get Outdoors & Get Together Day showcases New York's amazing public lands and recreational opportunities that are accessible for everyone to enjoy. Parks are natural gathering places for friends and family throughout the state, and New York State Parks is committed to ensuring that all people of all abilities feel welcome at our parks and have an equal opportunity to experience all that we offer. I encourage families to come together this year to participate in some of the fun and exciting programs planned for the day, and to continue visiting throughout the year as we celebrate our centennial.”

Commissioner of the Department of Veterans' Services Viviana DeCohen said, " ‘Get Outdoors & Get Together Day’ is a special event that recognizes the immense benefits of spending time in nature, particularly for our veterans and their families. It's a chance for all New Yorkers to come together, enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and camping, and connect with the natural world around us. By providing increased access to state public lands, we can ensure that our veterans can experience the healing power of nature, while also promoting inclusivity and diversity among all users. We are proud to support this event and the positive impact it has on the well-being of our veterans."

Local DEC-led programs:

√ Western New York: Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center (Erie County)

Local activities at DEC facilities include the following:

√ “Camping 101”: Visitors can try their hand at camping basics by pitching a tent on the lawn and learning how to pack for a camping trip.

√ Birding: Participants can learn how easy and fun it is to enjoy birdwatching almost anywhere.

√ Hiking: Participants can take a short hike and learn the basics of finding the perfect trails on their own.

√ Outdoor safety: Learn the basics of being prepared and safe so all outdoor adventures are good ones.

√ Accessible outdoor recreation: Experience and learn about accessible outdoor recreation opportunities on state lands, including hiking, camping, birding, fishing and boating.

Select locations will also include “I Fish NY” catch-and-release clinics with rods and reels available for loan, introductory paddling on the water, and introductory archery, including important safety tips.

Wheelchair-accessible features, including restrooms, as well as activities and select recreation opportunities, are offered at all locations. Contact the event coordinator directly with accommodation requests or to find out about the adaptive equipment and activities offered at each site. Details, including schedules and registration requirements, can be found on DEC's website at https://dec.ny.gov/things-to-do/outdoors-day

Local State Parks-led programs:

√ Niagara Region: Buffalo Harbor State Park (Erie County)

Program and scheduling details for each location can be found by visiting www.parks.ny.gov. No parking fee will be charged during event times. For details about visitor amenities at each location, visit www.parks.ny.gov.

DEC manages 5 million acres of public lands, including 3 million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, 55 campgrounds and day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. Plan an next outdoor adventure and connect on Facebook, X/Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.

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 saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit parks.ny.gov, download the free  NY State Parks Explorer app  or call 518-474-0456. Join in celebrating the centennial throughout 2024, and connect on Facebook, Instagram, X  (formerly Twitter) and the OPRHP blog.

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) provides person-centered supports and services to people with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and other neurological impairments. OPWDD provides services directly and through a network of not-for-profit providers. OPWDD's mission is to help people live richer lives that include meaningful relationships, good health, personal growth and a home that supports them to participate in their community. For more information visit www.opwdd.ny.gov or connect on Facebook, X/Twitter and Instagram.

The New York State Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) supports New York's veterans, service members, and their families, providing assistance to obtain state and federal benefits earned through their service to New York and the U.S. For more information about veteran's benefits, make an appointment with a DVS veterans benefits adviser by calling 888-838-7697 or visiting the agency's website.

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