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NYS Parks celebrate 100 years with beginning of camping season

A view from a trail at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, NY, April 28.
Abigail Connolly
A view from a trail at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, NY, April 28.

It’s camping season in central New York and state parks are gearing up for the summer.

Some New York State Parks are already seeing campsites fully booked for popular summer weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rich Sheckells, Park Operations Manager for the Central Region, said it’s been a scramble for parks employees to get things ready.

“It really is a lot of work to get ready, you have the crunch time when the weather finally breaks to get all the water systems and buildings and trails and stuff back open and ready, so they do a lot of scrambling,” Sheckells said.

Despite the scramble to get ready, Sheckells said most parks he's been in contact with are fully staffed.

“All the managers I’ve been talking to, they’re in good shape,” Sheckells said. “They’ve been fortunate to find good seasonal workers for the summer. Our lifeguards, all the managers I’ve talked to, have plenty of lifeguards to cover the swimming season.”

He said while the popular weekends may be booked, there is still plenty of time and space across the eighty-five hundred campsites.

The 2024 season also marks the one-hundredth season for the New York State Parks system. Sheckells said the parks system is celebrating with a new “Centennial Challenge.”

“You can print out a checklist or pick one up at any park office with all different activities for you to do while you are visiting parks and there are prizes and drawings after you’ve done a certain number of activities,” Sheckells said. “So that’s just a fun thing for the public to do and learn the history of the agency along the way.”

Trails and campsites are open now, with swimming season beginning over Memorial Day weekend.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.