Park System Welcomed 69.3 Million Visitors in 2016; 3.9 Million More Than in 2015
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York state parks, historic sites and campgrounds hosted 69.3 million estimated visitors in 2016, a 6 percent increase over 2015 and a 21 percent increase since the Governor took office in 2011.
“New York parks are the heart of the tourism economy, and these numbers show that more and more people are discovering their unparalleled natural beauty and recreation opportunities that are available in every corner of the state," Governor Cuomo said. "This administration's major investments to preserve and improve our parks, historic sites and campgrounds are critical to attracting new visitors, and I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore everything our parks system has to offer."ý
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “New York’s parks and historic sites continue to benefit from Governor Cuomo’s strong efforts to revitalize and promote the state park system and the great outdoors. We look forward to welcoming more New York State residents and tourists as we continue to improve and enhance our park system in 2017.”
Park system attendance was boosted by many factors, including major improvements to park facilities such as the reopening the historic West Bathhouse at Jones Beach and renewal of Terrapin Point at Niagara Falls; the Connect Kids to Parks initiative offering free park entry to fourth-graders; an extended swimming season after Labor Day, record overnight visitation at State Park campgrounds; and favorable weather throughout the summer and late into the fall.
Annual park system attendance has climbed steadily from the 57.2 million visits recorded in 2011, reflecting Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving State Parks, expanding access to outdoor recreation, and promoting the state’s vast tourism and recreational attractions.
Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is making a 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 to 2020. The FY 2018 Executive Budget includes $120 million toward this initiative. In addition, the Governor proposed completing the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails by 2020 to create the Empire State Trail, the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. The state will develop 350 miles of new trail in three phases to create a 750-mile pathway for hiking and biking along scenic vistas and through historic communities.