The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced that more than 60.1 million people visited New York state parks and historic sites in 2013, and campgrounds had the busiest year on record.
Visitation topped 60 million for the second year in a row despite the fact that some of state’s most popular parks were temporarily closed for repairs due to Superstorm Sandy.
Continuing an upward trend, attendance of 60.1 million visitors in 2013 was second best in the last decade, behind only 2012’s 60.3 million visitors. Attendance was up for the year at many popular destinations across the state, including Allegany, Niagara Falls, Letchworth, Watkins Glen, Green Lakes, Saratoga Spa and Bear Mountain State Parks.
State Parks on Long Island hosted 16.6 million visitors despite the damage from Superstorm Sandy. Access to some of the state’s most-visited parks, such as Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Parks, was restricted for nearly half the year as repairs took place. All state parks were repaired and opened by Memorial Day weekend for the peak summer season.
Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation were the highest on record. State Park campsites were occupied for 583,016 nights in 2013, surpassing 2012’s record of 578,428 overnight stays.
“New York state parks and historic sites are an anchor of our tourism economy, and the latest park attendance numbers demonstrate Governor Cuomo’s efforts to revitalize the state park system and boost tourism are paying off,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a statement to the press. “It’s wonderful to know that so many people are taking advantage of this scenic and beautiful system year after year. It was a banner year for many of our popular upstate tourism destinations and State Parks on Long Island rebounded strongly from Superstorm Sandy. We’re looking forward to welcoming our visitors back for even more fun and exploration in 2014.”
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 179 state parks and 35 historic sites. A recent study commissioned by Parks & Trails New York found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
A summary of parks attendance over the last ten years, broken down by park and historic site can be found online here.