Overnight reservations at campgrounds operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) climbed to record highs this year as visitors embraced safe, healthy, and affordable recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through Columbus Day in October, campsites, cabins and cottages at State Parks campgrounds were occupied for 787,103 nights, surpassing the previous 2019 record of 684,820 nights by 15 percent, according to state data. DEC campgrounds were occupied for 394,401 nights, surpassing the previous 2016 record of 354,521 nights by more than 10 percent.
“The numbers don’t lie,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul. “People have shown how much they appreciate all that our state campgrounds have to offer, especially as the pandemic made outdoor recreation more desirable than ever. Not only are our campgrounds, affordable, clean, and safe, but with these sites being so vital to New York’s tourism economy, my administration will continue to do all we can to ensure New York remains a top destination for campers.”
Officials said that over the last decade, as improvements were being made statewide under the NY Parks 2020 capital program, total overnight stays at campgrounds have risen nearly 45 percent.
State Parks operates 68 campgrounds, featuring 8,179 campsites, 825 cabins, 18 yurts, and 136 full-service cottages with amenities like power, kitchen, bath, beds, living room, and outdoor living space.
State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “It is gratifying that the public has again given State Parks a vote of confidence. Providing places for safe and healthy recreation has been critical as we continue to emerge from the pandemic, and people obviously enjoy the many improvements made under the NY Parks 2020 initiative. People have many choices today on how to spend their recreational time, and we are grateful that so many are choosing to spend it at our Parks. We intend to keep this progress going.”
DEC operates 52 campgrounds and five day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves that provide a wide variety of experiences, including island camping, tent and trailer camping, boat launching facilities, hiking trails, beaches and day use areas with picnic tables and grills.
The camping season runs through the summer, with some facilities remaining open during fall foliage and hunting season. Under the Adventure NY and other initiatives, DEC continues to make improvements at DEC camping facilities, including several for the 2021 season to provide new showers and comfort stations, power and water systems, and equestrian-specific improvements at the Frontier Town campground.
In 2021, New York State rolled out a new Loyalty/Reward program for campers where they earn points for every dollar spent on overnight accommodations at all state-owned and -operated campgrounds for both State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation. More than 55,800 people have enrolled so far. Campers can start earning points on new reservations as soon as they are enrolled.For more information about the program and to register, visit https://bit.ly/3Ek7Hsp.
Reservations for State Park campgrounds are available through ReserveAmerica, which provides online and phone reservations for campsites throughout New York. Reservations are accepted for campsites and cabins, from one day to nine months in advance of the planned arrival date. Visit the website or call toll free 1-800-456-CAMP.
For more information on any of the recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov.