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State parks set visitation records

New York’s state parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails welcomed a record-setting 78 million visits in 2020.

The milestone marks nine years of steady visitor growth and represents an overall increase of 34%, or more than 20 million visitors, since 2011.

“In 2020, our state parks became an even more critical resource than before as New Yorkers sought safe places for solace, exercise and relief from the pandemic,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “New York remains fully committed to the continued modernization of our parks system, and with the recent completion of the 750-mile Empire State Trail, we are ensuring New Yorkers and visitors alike, have unparalleled recreational opportunities, especially during these unprecedented times.”

New York State Parks saw estimated visitation grow from the previous record of 77.1 million visits in 2019 to 78 million in 2020. The increase was driven by unprecedented visitation in the spring and fall, as New Yorkers turned to nearby State parks, trails and historic sites to escape the pandemic. Visitation during the summer, typically the busiest time in the park system, was held in check as State park beaches, pools, historic sites and trailheads operated with reduced capacity limits put in place to protect visitor health and promote social distancing. Attendance at some of the park system’s traditionally most popular destinations was also impacted by limits on out-of-state and international visitors; cancelation of large concerts, festivals and events; and public messages urging people to recreate locally.

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