ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - In a year when people felt trapped in their homes because of the pandemic, many New Yorkers took to the great outdoors.
The state welcomed a record-setting 78 million visits to its outdoor recreation venues in 2020, including state parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails.
Visits to these sites have grown steadily in the past nine years and represent an overall increase of 34 percent.
“In 2020, our State parks became an even more critical resource than before as New Yorkers sought safe places for solace, exercise, and relief from the pandemic,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The previous record – 77.1 million – was set in 2019.
Much of the increase was driven by what state officials are calling unprecedented visitation in the spring and fall as New Yorkers sought ways to escape the pandemic.
Many state-run facilities had capacity limits, which held visits in check during the summer, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year.
Some popular destinations didn’t see as many visitors because of limits on out-of-state travelers and the cancellations of many events.