News from State Parks

Niagara Falls State Park, USA

 August 2018, Issue 48 

Cottages at Sampson State Park

Check Off an Outdoor Adventure Before Summer's End

Summer is not yet over and there is plenty of time to make lasting family memories by getting outdoors and visiting any of the State's many campgrounds and parks. Campgrounds are open through late summer and many remain open in the early fall.

New York State boasts 119 public campgrounds throughout the Adirondacks, Catskills, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Hudson and Mohawk valleys, Southern Tier, Western New York, and Thousand Islands regions.

Prefer to sleep with a roof over your head? Consider staying at a State Park cabin or cottageCheck the NYS Parks website for campsite availability this weekend. Learn more.


Fourteen New Playgrounds Coming to State Parks

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced New York has committed $2.5 million to build or improve 14 playgrounds at State Parks across New York. They are part of the Governor’s goal to modernize 100 State Park playgrounds by 2020 and build on the Connect Kids to Parks program to draw more youth to the outdoors.

Under the initiative, State Parks will replace outdated playgrounds at the parks with safe, modern equipment designed for younger and older age groups. Playground improvements will be coupled with site improvements, including shade trees or canopies, seating, water fountains and pathways to the rest of the park. Learn more. 

Spray ground

Renewed Chenango Valley Lakefront Features Swimming, Sprayground, and Kayaking

State Parks recently opened an expanded and revitalized Chenango Valley State Park beachfront and swimming area. The project replaced an aging beachfront 1970s era concrete rim around the swimming area with a sandy beach, and installed a new splash pad to offer children a new play experience and alternative to cool down. The beach features multiple swim areas, such as a dive pool, lap pool, and corkscrew slide, to provide a range of options for all ages and abilities. A new ADA-accessible dock and fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards available for rental provide another way to explore the lake. Along with a campground, cabins, 18-hole golf course and nature trails, Chenango Valley State Park provides diverse options for outdoor recreation. Learn More. 

Empire Pass Card

Empire Pass Holders: Save That Card!

Did you know the card you purchased for 2018 is renewable?   Beginning in mid-November, you will be able to renew your existing Empire Pass card online for the 2019 season.  This feature will allow you to keep your card year after year with the option to renew for 1 year, 3 years or 5 years!   

Why should you renew?   Convenience and cost savings!  A discount rate will be applied to your renewed card and you won’t need to wait for your new card in the mail or in line at a park.      

Stay tuned for more information, but remember: Save your current Empire Pass! 

Buckle Up NY

Buckle Up!

New York State Park Police, the New York State Police and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee remind state park visitors to buckle up for safety while in the park.

The “BUNY in the Parks” campaign encourages visiting motorists and their passengers to properly buckle-up their seatbelts while travelling inside state parks, and to teach the importance of properly securing our youngest visitors in approved child safety seats. State Park Police and State Police are placing special emphasis on enforcing seat-belt and child safety seat laws in State Parks this summer.  

The initiative coincides with the peak times that visitors travel to state, and the goal is for motorists and their families to arrive and depart safely.  Increasing seatbelt use is one of the most effective ways to reduce crash-related injuries and fatalities. Learn more.  


Paddling with State Parks

Test out your paddling skills by taking advantage of some of the canoe and kayak opportunities going on at New York State Parks this summer. The Minna Anthony Nature Center at Wellesley Island State Park offers trips on their impressive 36-foot long fiberglass, 16-passenger Voyageur canoe to explore the local ecology and history of the area. For upcoming dates, more information and to reserve a spot on a trip, please call the Nature Center at 315-482-2479.

Interested in kayaking? Beaver Island State Park offers Kayaking with Tina & Kelly on Thursday evenings for what is described as a little more than just a beginner’s class and provides instruction on more than just the basics. A kayak, paddle and life jacket will be provided but space is limited so please contact the park at (716) 282-5154 for further information and registration.

Check out our calendar of events for additional canoe/kayak programs.

Tyler Wilcox

Behind the Scenery with Tyler Wilcox, Public Affairs Specialist

How long have you been with the agency? I started at Parks in March 2015

What does someone in your position do? Within Public Affairs my role provides support to the variety of components that comprise our bureau. These include writing and editing press releases, media advisories, and other communication projects as needed. I also assist in coordinating press events for the Commissioner and Executive Staff as well as working with our marketing team to develop content for visual informational displays, publications and social media. I make sure our website is updated daily with photos, events, alerts, hours of operation, and language on any given page. I also help manage our general comment inbox for the agency and respond to the public with answers to their questions no matter how strange or obscure the question might be.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen or done? Despite the heat, working at the Parks information booth at the 2016 Barclay’s Golf Championship on Long Island was a unique and interesting experience. Additionally, being one of the first groups to test out and stay at the cottages at Sampson was a close second 

Is there a destination you’d recommend to someone? In my opinion, it’s hard to narrow it down but some of the parks I’ve enjoyed spending time at include Thacher, Minnewaska, Robert Treman, Hudson Highlands, and Watkins Glen.

What inspired you to work in the park system? From a young age I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors, whether it was my involvement in Boy Scouts, canoe and camping trips with friends, going on a trail run in a park, or aspirations of becoming an Adirondack 46er. When the opportunity presented itself to become more involved with an agency that promotes outdoor recreation, it was hard to refuse.