Inclusive and Accessible Day of Family-Friendly Recreation and Fun at State Parks and Public Lands on Saturday, June 11
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that ‘Get Outdoors & Get Together Day’ events will be held at 21 select locations across New York State on Saturday, June 11. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in partnership with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Veterans’ Services, are hosting free and low-cost events to connect people to nature and provide increased access to the outdoors. Get Outdoors & Get Together Day will bring people of all abilities, ages, identities and backgrounds together for fun, healthy activities as part of the launch of a new Governor’s initiative to broaden the diversity of users and ensure inclusivity of access to state public lands.
“New York is home to some of the most spectacular, accessible outdoor spaces in the country, and Get Outdoors and Get Together Day is a great opportunity to not only showcase these spaces, but to encourage their use by people of all abilities,” Governor Hochul said. “By encouraging people from all backgrounds and abilities to participate in these fun, accessible outdoor activities together, New York State is creating a model of inclusivity for the rest of the nation to follow.”
At 21 events across the state, participants will be encouraged to discover new skills and enjoy a range of introductory-level outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, nature walks and hikes, birding, archery, camping, paddling, and more. Each event will highlight ways to enjoy the outdoors safely and sustainably. All locations will offer a selection of accessible activities; and use of adaptive equipment and demonstrations will be provided at many sites including trail and beach mobility aids, archery assist stands, arm supports for fishing and more.
New York’s Get Outdoors & Get Together Day coincides with National Get Outdoors Day, an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun.
New York State Chief Disability Officer Kimberly Hill said, “In New York, we are blessed with the most incredible parks and state public lands, and I am thrilled that Get Outdoors and Get Together Day is being held to highlight how people with disabilities can and should enjoy all of the accessible features that are available across the state. I would like to thank Governor Hochul, OPWDD, NYS Parks, DEC and the Division of Veterans Services for prioritizing inclusion and accessibility of these nature spaces for people with disabilities.”
Basil Seggos, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, said, “New York’s great outdoors are for everyone and DEC is committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming, and safe outdoor experience to all visitors to our lands, waters, and facilities. We are thrilled to partner with our sister state agencies on this event and make connecting with the outdoors more accessible for New Yorkers of all ages, abilities, identities, and lived experiences.”
Erik Kulleseid, State Parks Commissioner said, “Parks are natural gathering places for friends and family throughout the state and New York State Parks is committed to ensuring that all people of all abilities feel welcome at our parks and have an equal opportunity to experience all that we offer. Get Outdoors & Get Together Day showcases New York’s amazing scenery and abundance of recreational opportunities that are accessible for everyone to enjoy. Thank you to our partners at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Department of Environmental Conservation and Division of Veterans’ Services for their collaboration on this exciting program. We hope everyone has a great time outside exploring their parks.”
Kerri E. Neifeld, Commissioner of the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul for continuing to put the interests of people with disabilities in the limelight. OPWDD is so excited to be partnering with NYS Parks, DEC and the Division of Veterans Services on Get Outdoors and Get Together Day because it shows a commitment among our state’s agencies to ensure that people with disabilities are included in everyday activities. Our mission at OPWDD is to help the people we support live richer lives and fully participate in their communities. Get Outdoors and Get Together Day promises to be a fun day of inclusion for people of all abilities at New York’s accessible Parks and DEC lands.”
Viviana DeCohen, Director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services said, “We are so thankful for the ongoing work of our partners in State government who continue to push for increased access and equity to New York’s public lands and waters and we are excited to continue our work together to expand access to outdoor therapies.”
The need for access to nature and outdoor recreation has never been greater. Childhood obesity has doubled over the past 20 years, and the average American child spends as few as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen. During the COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers turned to the outdoors and public lands for a nature break, which is good for physical and mental health. Get Outdoors & Get Together Day events support New Yorkers of all ability levels in trying healthy outdoor activities.
DEC Event Locations and Activities
DEC Event locations:
- Region 1/Long Island: Hempstead Lake State Park (Nassau County)
- Region 2/NYC: Mount Loretto Unique Area (Richmond County)
- Region 3/Hudson Valley: Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center (Dutchess County)
- Region 3/Catskills: Kenneth L. Wilson Campground (Ulster County)
- Region 3/Catskills: Catskills Visitor Center (Ulster County)
- Region 3/Hudson Valley: Long Dock Park (Dutchess County, in partnership with Scenic Hudson)
- Region 4/Catskills: North-South Lake Campground (Greene County)
- Region 4/Capital Region: Five Rivers Environmental Education Center (Albany County)
- Region 5/Adirondacks: Scaroon Manor Campground (Warren County)
- Region 6/Western Adirondacks: Lowville Forestry Demonstration Area (Lewis County)
- Region 7/Central NY: Rogers Environmental Education Center (Chenango County)
- Region 8/Central NY: In conjunction with the ADK Outdoor Expo (Monroe County)
- Region 9/Western NY: Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center (Erie County)
All locations offer wheelchair accessible features and activities including restrooms and select recreation opportunities. Please contact the event coordinator directly with accommodation requests and to find out about the adaptive equipment and activities offered at each site.
Activities at DEC facilities include the following:
- Fishing: The I Fish NY program will offer free catch-and-release fishing clinics for everyone. Learn about fishing equipment, techniques, regulations, consumption advisories and good places to fish. Participants may bring their own gear, but rods and reels will also be available for loan.
- Camping 101: Visitors can try their hand at camping basics by pitching a tent on the lawn and learning how to pack for a camping trip.
- Paddling: Participants can learn the basics of this fun fast-growing sport and try getting out on the water.
- Archery: Participants can try getting a bullseye with a bow and arrow and learn important safety tips.
- Birding: Participants can learn how easy and fun it is to enjoy birdwatching almost anywhere.
- Hiking: Participants can take a short hike and learn the basics of finding the perfect trails on their own.
- Outdoor safety: Learn the basics of being prepared and safe so all outdoor adventures are good ones.
- Accessible outdoor recreation: Experience and learn about accessible outdoor recreation opportunities on State lands including hiking, camping, birding, fishing and boating.
- At Long Dock Park, participants will be able to seine for fish in the Hudson River, learning about indigenous fishing techniques in addition to learning to fish with a rod and reel. A Spanish interpreter will be onsite for this event.
In addition to the event at Mt. Loretto, DEC and NOAA will also be hosting a seining and net fishing event from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Lemon Creek Park on Staten Island as part of World Fish Migration Day.
All DEC events are free. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic lunches and their own games or sporting equipment. Details, including schedules and registration requirements, can be found on DEC’s website. Note that event times vary.
State Park Event Locations and Activities
State Park locations:
- Long Island: Sunken Meadow State Park
- Niagara: Buffalo Harbor State Park
- Genesee: Hamlin Beach State Park
- Allegany: Allegany State Park
- Saratoga/Capitol Region: Saratoga Spa State Park
- Finger Lakes: Taughannock Falls State Park
- NYC: Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park
- Taconic: Lake Taghkanic State Park
Program and scheduling details for each location are listed below and can be found by visiting www.parks.ny.gov. No parking fee will be charged during event times. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic lunches and their own games or sporting equipment. For details about visitor amenities at each location, visit www.parks.ny.gov.
DEC manages nearly five million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves, 55 campgrounds and day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches and fishing piers. Plan your next outdoor adventure and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.
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 are visited by a record 78.4 million people in 2021. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $5 billion in park and visitor spending, which supports nearly 54,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) provides high quality person-centered supports and services to people with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and other neurological impairments. OPWDD provides services directly and through a network of over 600 not-for-profit providers. OPWDD’s mission is to help people live richer lives that include meaningful relationships, good health, personal growth and a home that allows them to participate in their community. For more information visit www.opwdd.ny.gov or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The New York State Division of Veterans’ Services supports New York’s veterans, service members, and their families, providing assistance to help them obtain state and federal benefits earned through their service to New York State and the United States. For more information about veteran’s benefits, please make an appointment with a DVS Veterans Benefits Advisor by calling 888-838-7697 or visiting the agency’s website.