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Area’s state parks help system set new attendance record

Posted 2/22/23

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced late last week that annual attendance at state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails operated topped 79.5 million total visits in 2022.

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Area’s state parks help system set new attendance record


ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced late last week that annual attendance at state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails operated topped 79.5 million total visits in 2022, continuing a robust increase in attendance that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping fuel an increase of more than a million visitors from the previous year were a host of Central New York facilities — such as Delta Lake and Verona Beach state parks, which also welcomed visitors from near and far to its scenic trails and manicured beaches.

“From Niagara Falls to Bear Mountain to Jones Beach, New York’s State Parks offer residents and visitors the opportunity to reconnect with the environment, breathe in the fresh air, and find solace in their natural surroundings,” Hochul said. “Our recent investment to revitalize the park system, expand open space, and protect our coastlines will ensure that generations to come can enjoy the diverse environment that this state has to offer.”

Parks & Trails New York Incoming Executive Director Paul Steely White said the visitation numbers are “truly staggering.”

“Annual attendance at New York State Parks is now five times higher than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite — combined,” said White. “Now our task is to ensure that our parks have the resources to accommodate this historic demand, and to make certain that the health, environmental and economic benefits are shared by all New Yorkers.”

The most-visited state parks in 2022 include:

  • Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara Falls, 9.4 million visits;
  • Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, 8.5 million visits;
  • Robert Moses State Park on Long Island, 3.8 million visits;
  • Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, 3.5 million visits;
  • Sunken Meadow State Park in northern Long Island, 3.1 million visits;
  • Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in Manhattan, 3 million visits; and
  • Bear Mountain State Park, west bank of the Hudson River in Rockland and Orange counties 2.4 million visits.
  • Green Lakes State Park was the most popular state park in Central New York, with 1.87 million visitors in 2022. Although that’s down slightly from the 2.05 million visitors it received in 2021, attendance was still well above pre-pandemic levels, according to the state’s attendance figures.

Attendance at other state parks in the region included:

  • Delta Lake State Park in Western, 309,577 visitors in 2022, up from 281,411 visitors in 2021;
  • Chittenango Falls State Park in Chittenango Falls, 250,632 visitors in 2022, up from 248,633 visitors in 2021;
  • Verona Beach State Park in Verona Beach, 236,793 visitors in 2022, up from 157,533 visitors in 2021;
  • Glimmerglass State Park in Cooperstown, 171,057 visitors in 2022; up from 162,095 visitors in 2021;
  • Pixley Falls State Park in Boonville, 54,349 visitors in 2022, up from 42,885 in 2021;
  • Herkimer Home in Little Falls, 37,839 visitors in 2022, up from 24,221 in 2021;
  • Lorenzo State Historic Site in Cazenovia, 29,358 visitors in 2022, up from 22,119 visitors in 2021;
  • Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site in Oriskany, 12,841 visitors in 2022), up from 18,159 visitors in 2021; and
  • Steuben Memorial State Historic Site in Remsen, 5,345 visitors in 2022, up from 7,371 visitors in 2021.

“State Parks is grateful to those who have returned and to those who are discovering what all the State Parks and Historic Sites have to offer,” said Erik Kulleseid, state parks commissioner. “With Governor Hochul’s support, we are working to better welcome these visitors, play a positive role in local economies, and address the challenges of a changing climate.”

Hochul’s proposed 2024 executive budget proposes allocating $200 million in capital funding to continue the transformation of New York’s flagship parks, support infrastructure projects, and help meet the goal of powering park facilities with renewable energy by 2030.

The budget proposal would also enhance the agency workforce to support a new and expanded Park Police Academy class, the Environmental Bond Act, the Empire State Trail, park administration and site operations. Additionally, the $4.2 billion “Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act” will boost funding for climate change mitigation, restoration and flood risk reduction projects, and open space protection to continue to improve stewardship of the park system’s 350,000 acres and 300 miles of coastline.


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