Governor Hochul Announces Record-Breaking Number of Stays at New York State Campgrounds in 2021

Nov 19, 2021

2021 State Parks Campground Overnight Stays Up 15 Percent from Previous 2019 Record

2021 DEC Campground Overnight Stays Up More Than 10 Percent from Previous 2016 Record

Campsites, Cabins, Cottages, Yurts Occupied Nearly 1.2 Million Night

- Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that overnight reservations at campgrounds operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the New York 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, campsites, cabins, cottages, and yurts at State Parks campgrounds were occupied for 787,103 nights, surpassing the previous 2019 record of 684,820 nights by 15 percent. 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 - 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," Governor Hochul said. "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."

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.

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.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "When New Yorkers were eager to get outside safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they knew exactly where to go. New York State is home to a wide variety of campground destinations that everyone can enjoy. I'm encouraged by the record number of visitors this year and look forward to their return to take advantage of the opportunities New York's Adirondack and Catskill parks have to offer."

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.

Nights Booked at State Parks Campgrounds By Year:

2011- 541,771
2012- 578,428
2013- 583,016
2014- 594,441
2015- 623,991
2016- 650,857
2017- 648,420
2018- 663,953
2019- 684,820
2020- 597,188*
2021- 787,103**

Nights Booked at DEC Campgrounds by Year:

2011 - 311,227
2012 - 333,334
2013 - 323,711
2014 - 326,363
2015 - 346,524
2016 - 354,521
2017 - 347,893
2018 - 349,630
2019 - 352,234
2020 - 284,275*
2021 - 394,401

*Parks campgrounds closed in April, May and beginning of June due to COVID restrictions

** Through October 27th with pending reservations made through December

State Senator Jose Serrano said, "I'm thrilled that more New Yorkers and visitors are discovering our state's campgrounds as they seek safe and affordable recreation options during the COVID-19 pandemic. The record growth in campground reservations shows that we are succeeding in connecting more communities to parks, fostering an appreciation for New York's incredible natural beauty and the physical and emotional health benefits of the outdoors. I commend Governor Hochul, Commissioner Kulleseid, and Commissioner Seggos for their commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers can enjoy the natural wonders of our great state."

Assembly Member Steve Englebright said, "This is great news, and proof that New York State's continuing investment in establishing an expansive state park system is well worth the effort. There is nothing better to center your life than visiting or camping overnight in one of our many state parks. Our State's investment in our parks system is money well spent and our state parks are something we can bequeath to future generations."

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell said, "As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, and Sports Development, I am so pleased to see record levels of camping attendance at our parks. New York is home to over 180 parks and 35 historic sites, each of which contribute to community development, economic growth, and personal health. Increased attendance also speaks to a fact we have long known: parks are essential landscapes in New York. I'm grateful to have a champion of parks in Governor Hochul, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure more New Yorkers have access to park facilities."

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.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram, Twitter or on the State Parks blog.

To improve public safety and encourage visitors to State-owned lands to practice responsible recreation, this spring DEC launched the 'Love Our New York Lands' campaign. The campaign is responsive to the steady increase in the number of visitors to state lands, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the decade prior, as more and more New Yorkers and visitors from other states and countries discovered the natural beauty of New York State lands. For details and more information, visit the Love Our New York Lands webpage.