Gov. Cuomo: NY park system saw unprecedented year-round usage during pandemic
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that New York's state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails saw unprecedented year-round usage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said the increase was driven by unprecedented visitation in the spring and fall, as New Yorkers turned to nearby state parks, trails and historic sites to escape the pandemic.
Cuomo said that the milestone marks nine years of steady visitor growth, and represents an overall increase of 34%, or more than 20 million visitors since the Cuomo took office in 2011.
He said the parks in New York state saw estimated visitation grow from the previous record of 77.1 million visits in 2019 to 78 million in 2020.
Summer is usually the busiest time in the park system, but state park beaches, pools, historic sites and trailheads operated with reduced capacity limits and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer concerts, festivals and events were also canceled due to the pandemic.
Improvements to the park system also promoted attendance to the areas. This included Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center and a revitalized West Games Area at Jones Beach State Park; a new visitor center at Minnewaska State Park, an expanded Purple Heart Hall of Honor, new cottages at Westcott Beach State Park and a new recreation complex at Letchworth State Park.