State park had 995K visitors last year
WATKINS GLEN--The New York State Office Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation released attendance figures for parks across the state in 2022, last week. Overall, parks welcomed 79,448,251 visitors, up from 78,447,305 in 2021, and marked the highest attendance on record.
State park attendance has been steadily climbing for more than a decade, rising nearly 43 percent since 2008. Among the most-visited parks in 2022 were Niagara Falls State Park (9.4 million visits), Jones Beach State Park (8.5 million visits), Robert Moses State Park (3.8 million visits), Saratoga Spa (3.5 million visits), Sunken Meadow State Park (3.1 million visits) Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park (3 million visits) and Bear Mountain State Park (2.4 million visits).
In the Finger Lakes, Watkins Glen saw 995,377 visitors in 2022 a slight decrease from 1,003,280 in 2021. Taughannock Falls welcomed 637,057 and Robert H Treman had 362,301 in 2022, both increases from the previous year.
New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "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. With Gov. 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."
The governor's proposed FY 2024 budget commits $200 million in capital funding to continue the ongoing transformation of New York's flagship parks, support critical 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.
Parks and Trails New York Incoming Executive Director Paul Steely White said, "These visitation numbers are truly staggering. Annual attendance at New York State Parks is now five times higher than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite-- combined. 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."
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches. For more information on any of those areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov.