Photo: Bernie Baker

State Parks sets record for campground attendance

Overnight reservations at state campgrounds climbed to record highs this year, boosted by visitors seeking safe, healthy and affordable recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through Columbus Day, campsites, cabins, cottages, and yurts operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation were occupied for 787,103 nights, surpassing the previous 2019 record of 684,820 nights by 15 percent. Campgrounds operated by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation were occupied for 394,401 nights, besting the previous 2016 record of 354,521 nights by more than 10 percent.

Total overnight stays at State Parks campgrounds have risen nearly 45 percent over the last decade.

State Parks operates 68 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.

The state rolled out a new loyalty/reward program this year 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 DEC. More than 55,800 people have enrolled in the program so far.

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