Greg Miller Golden34

Open Space Institute Spearheads Survey for New York State Parks’ Centennial Celebration

New York, NY (August 14, 2023)—The Open Space Institute joined New York State Governor Kathy Hochul in heralding the start of the 2024 New York State Parks Centennial Celebration. As part of the upcoming celebration, OSI is spearheading a state-wide survey that will examine park visitor demographics and experiences at 22 state parks.

The survey results will be featured in a “Centennial Pulse of the Parks: A Celebration of Visitors at 100 Years of the New York State’s Park System” report, which will inform future priorities for park programs, amenities, improvements, and marketing efforts.

The Centennial Pulse of Parks report builds on OSI’s ongoing research and advocacy initiatives to support continued investment in New York’s state parks and public lands. From 2013 to 2015, OSI published the initial Pulse of the Parks series – a collection of seven reports that analyzed visitor demographics, user experiences, and economic impacts at a sampling of New York State Parks. These reports successfully communicated the value of New York’s state parks and demonstrated the need for investments in the park system to state leadership and policymakers.

With field work for the Centennial Pulse of Parks report underway, OSI is seeking to raise $200,000 in donations to aggregate and analyze results and produce and disseminate the report.

Through its strategic conservation efforts, OSI has added more than ten percent to the total New York State Park acreage, increasing public access to nature and protecting some of the state’s most vital wildlife habitat. Over the past decade, OSI has invested millions of private dollars for new trails, trailheads, and visitor centers at state parks, in partnership with New York State agencies.

Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute said, “The Open Space Institute is overjoyed to join our longtime state partners in celebrating one hundred years of New York’s superlative park and historic site system. Our parks include some of the most iconic and treasured landscapes in the nation and are a living reminder of the greatness of New York State. OSI will be working closely with our state partners in the coming year on demographic studies of park visitors, as part of our work to make parks and open spaces more welcoming and accessible for all. We look forward to helping our state mark this momentous occasion and prepare for the next hundred years.”

The 100th anniversary of its state park system marks a century of providing residents and visitors with access to New York’s beautiful outdoor spaces, recreational areas, and historic sites. The celebration highlights the important role that these parks have played in preserving the state’s natural resources and cultural heritage, while providing countless opportunities for leisure, education, and enjoyment to millions of visitors each year.

“New York State led the nation in creating a state park system for our citizens 100 years ago,” Governor Hochul said. “As we celebrate through next year, New York will continue to invest in our park system to support the State’s outdoor recreation economy, expand access to underserved communities, address the impacts of climate change, and position New York State as a top recreation destination.”

New York will commemorate the state park centennial with hundreds of community celebrations, performances and special events led by the state park and historic site staff, the State Council of Parks and Park and Historic Site Friends Groups.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “I am reminded every day of the immense pride and enjoyment New Yorkers take in the park and historic site system. We look forward to celebrating 100 years of connections between New York State Parks and Historic Sites, their communities, and their partners – and laying the foundation for a vibrant, welcoming, and sustainable park system for the next century.”

Governor Hochul also announced that New York State will prioritize investments and programs that preserve the park system as a model for the nation in the next century by reaching new and underserved audiences; positioning New York as a recreation destination; strengthening community partnerships; restoring and expanding visitor capacity with a state budget that includes $200 million for capital improvement projects annually for five years; and acting on climate change with a goal to power all park facilities with renewable energy by 2030, while making park facilities more resilient to climate change and sea level rise.

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