The only smoke in state parks should be legal campfires

The state ban on smoking in public areas is expanding to include outdoor settings within state parks and historic sites where large numbers of people congregate, including areas at Delta Lake and Verona Beach State Parks, Oriskany Battlefield and the Herkimer Home.

Under the new policy, smoke-free areas will be created around all playgrounds and swimming pools, as well as other zones specifically designated as no-smoking areas. Here are the local facilities and the affected areas:

¿ Verona Beach and Delta Lake State Parks — all of the sandy area of each beach.

¿ Herkimer Home — no smoking near the main house, near Caretaker’s Cottage, in or near the cemetery, in front of the visitor center.

¿ Oriskany Battlefield — no smoking except at designated outdoor smoking areas.

¿ There will be no smoking at any shelters, pavilions or tents at state park facilities in the entire region.

"State Parks and Historic Sites should be healthy and clean places for our visitors, especially our youngest guests," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "It makes sense to ensure all visitors have a place to go in our parks to enjoy fresh air, while also protecting children playing at our pools and playgrounds from the dangers of second-hand smoke and reducing litter from discarded cigarette butts."

Beginning this spring, state parks will install signage at each outdoor location where smoking is prohibited. Smoking will continue to be allowed outdoors elsewhere within the 330,000-acre state park system. For example, smoking will continue to be allowed by individuals staying in state park campsites. Smoking is already prohibited inside all buildings within state parks and historic sites under New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act.

For those who don’t voluntarily comply, state park staff will inform any violators of the smoking prohibition. Individuals who continue to refuse to comply could be cited for disorderly conduct by State Park Police and other law enforcement agencies.