Swap the Shopping Carts for the Great Outdoors: State Parks are FREE on Black Friday! #OptOutside
New York State Parks are waiving the vehicle entry fee for Black Friday, November 25, so
why not get outside and enjoy? As an alternative to busy shopping centers,
parks across the state are offering special events and programs – including the
‘Buy Nothing Day’ that allow visitors to recycle and repurposes items into
gifts, the Thanksgiving Walk Off and even a surprise visit from Santa on Black
Friday that’s sure to excite.
Check out our event line-up for Black Friday and the Thanksgiving
holiday weekend: Event Calendar
Record Camping Attendance for Fifth Straight Year
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that State Park campgrounds set a new record for attendance for the fifth consecutive year. Through Columbus Day, campsites, cabins and cottages across the state were occupied for more than 633,000 nights, surpassing 2015's record of 623,891 nights.
State Park camping occupancy has climbed steadily in recent years, rising every year from almost 542,000 overnight stays in 2011 to 633,000 so far this year. Reservations are accepted up to nine months in advance of the planned arrival date. Visit ReserveAmerica or call toll free 1-800-456-CAMP
Kayak Launching Just Got Easier
Newly designed docks that make it easier for people with disabilities or physical challenges to launch kayaks and canoes are being installed at New York State Parks. The first launch was installed at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville and others will soon be installed at Buffalo Harbor State Park, as well as at Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva and Wellesley Island State Park near Alexandria Bay. State Parks will work to expand their availability at popular paddling destinations in the coming seasons. Read more.
Buffalo Harbor State Park Offers Scenic New Spot to Enjoy Lake Erie
State Parks has completed $3.76 million project that provides unprecedented access to Lake Erie. A rehabilitated breakwall includes paved walking and bike paths, shaded seating areas, and a fishing platform. The next phase of improvements, now underway, will include a boat launch and redesigned road and parking to improve traffic flow for park users and boaters. Buffalo Harbor State Park, the first State Park in Buffalo, is part of Governor Cuomo’s strategy to reinvigorate the city’s waterfront. Read More
Explore the Finger Lakes' Newest Trail
The Black Diamond Trail connecting Taughannock Falls State Park to the City of Ithaca waterfront is now open.
The completed 8.5-mile trail, safely removed from automobile traffic, features a scenic view of Cayuga Lake. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul recently joined state representatives, park officials and trail users for a ceremonial bicycle ride on the trail.
Named after the Black Diamond Express passenger train, the trail on an abandoned railroad line was first envisioned in the early 1970s and will eventually span 12 miles from Taughannock Falls State Park to Robert Treman State Park. Read More.
Behind the Scenery
Alvin Walker, Rachel Bowman and Bobbie DePillo are Parks employees from the Finger Lakes region who took part in a two-year carpentry program in partnership with their union, CSEA. They received classroom instruction and practical hands-on experience. All of them are excited to learn more skills, enjoy the company of their co-workers and make a career working for New York State Parks.
How long have you been with the agency? Alvin – 10 years; Rachel – 7 years; and Bobbie - 10 years.
What does someone in your position do? Rachel Bowman – I’ve enjoyed being a trades assistant and gotten a chance to work with painters, licensed electricians, plumbing… and had an opportunity to learn new skills.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen? Bobbie – Getting a chance to check out Watkins Glen State Park in the winter, all the frozen waterfalls and ice are incredible! Most people only visit the park during the summer or fall but it’s an entirely different park in winter.
What inspired you to work in the park system? Alvin Walker – For me it was really simple. I studied Environmental Science and the chance to work for Parks was a great opportunity.
Photo: Alvin Walker and Rachel Bowman of the Finger Lakes regional staff