December News from NY State Parks

December 2021  •  Issue 69

NY State Campgrounds

State Parks Sets Record Campground Attendance for 2021

Overnight reservations at State Parks campgrounds set a record in 2021 through late October, with 787,103 nights, surpassing the previous 2019 record of 684,820 nights by 15 percent.

The record reflects steady growth in campground reservations during the last decade, interrupted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when campgrounds were closed at the beginning of that season.

Over the last decade, as improvements were being made statewide under the NY Parks 2020 capital program, total overnight stays at State Parks campgrounds have risen nearly 45 percent.

State Parks operates 68 State Parks 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. Press Release

Welcome Center at Niagara Falls State Park

Construction Starts on Welcome Center at Niagara Falls State Park

State Parks started construction for a new, state-of-the-art visitor center in Niagara Falls State Park to replace the existing 35-year-old structure. The not-for-profit Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, created after the 2014 death of the former owner of the Buffalo Bills and a co-founder of the American Football League, is supporting the project.
At 28,000 square feet, the new center in the United States’ oldest state park is expected to be opened by Memorial Day 2023 and will create more open views of the American Falls, as well as a better connection to the nearby Niagara Falls business district through the new Welcome Plaza that opened last year.

The glass, steel, and concrete facility will include new ticketing and information desks, interpretive museum space including an immersive experience and exhibits on a diversity of topics including natural, industrial, and Indigenous American history; information for visitors about opportunities unique to the region; new concession spaces; and restrooms and associated support spaces. It will also feature a rooftop solar array to produce renewable energy and living “green” roof elements. 
Press Release

Moreau Lake State Park- Big Bend

Moreau Lake State Park in Capital Region to Expand

Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County will expand by 860 acres with a parcel that includes two miles of Hudson River shoreline known as Big Bend.

Funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund, this acquisition from the Open Space Institute brings Moreau Lake’s total acreage to 6,250 acres, making it one of the top ten largest parks in the State Park System.

Plans for this former logging site to be opened to the public next year include the creation of a trail network for hiking, bicycling, birding and wildlife viewing, equestrian riding, and non-motorized winter sports such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. State Parks plans to install car-top boat/kayak launches and permit hunting in-season. Press Release

First Day Hikes

Join Us for a First Day Hike!

As part of your holiday plans, be sure to join in a First Day Hike on January 1, 2022 to celebrate the New Year in the outdoors. Gather with family and friends at one of the more than 80 hikes being held across the state. Press Release

Learn more about First Day Hikes ’22. 

Walkway Over the Hudson, East Gate Plaza

East Gate Plaza Opens at Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

The new $2 million East Gate Plaza outside the Poughkeepsie entrance to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened in October, more than doubling the size of the pathway near the linear park’s eastern entrance.

The plaza includes a walk-in space for guests to purchase Walkway merchandise, improved access to snacks, drinks, and other items, and a covered pavilion with audio/visual capabilities to support events, tours, and special programs.

The project also includes such environmental features as roof rainwater collection for irrigation, porous pavement to mitigate stormwater runoff, and an energy-efficient heat pump for heating and cooling. Bike racks and more seating were also added. Press Release