State announces annual ‘Outdoors Day’ celebrations
Free events statewide over multiple days will feature family-friendly recreation activities
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that DEC’s annual celebration of “Outdoors Day” will be held on multiple days this summer and at locations across the state to accommodate social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions.
DEC will host these events at no cost to attendees as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative to connect people to nature and provide increased access to the outdoors so that New Yorkers of all ages and abilities can experience a wide range of hands-on recreational activities.
“More and more New Yorkers are getting outdoors close to home and connecting with nature, especially during the pandemic,” Seggos said. “This year, New York is celebrating Outdoors Day over multiple days and at multiple locations to make sure all of our communities have the opportunity to get outside and safely enjoy some once-in-a-lifetime experiences and make lasting memories in the process.”
“Now more than ever, New Yorkers are visiting their parks and public lands to connect with nature and to safely explore the great outdoors,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “This year’s Outdoors Day will offer even more opportunities for all New Yorkers to be introduced and celebrate the rewarding experiences that the outdoors provide.”
New York's Outdoors Day coincides with National Get Outdoors Day, an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun.
Outdoors Day is traditionally held on June 12. At events across the state, participants are encouraged to discover new skills and try out a range of introductory outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, nature walks and hikes, birdwatching, archery, camping, paddling, and more. Participants also can learn important skills for enjoying the outdoors safely and sustainably. New this year is an event focused on accessible outdoor recreation.
Events and Activities
DEC will host family-friendly Outdoors Day events throughout the state throughout the month of June, with most activities on Saturday, June 12. Some programs and demonstrations are scheduled at specific times. Details, including schedules and registration requirements, can be found on DEC's website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/113380.html. Participation is limited, registration is required for most events, and not all activities are available at all locations.
Activities at DEC facilities include the following:
- Fishing: The I Fish NY program will offer free catch-and-release fishing clinics for all ages. Learn about fishing equipment, techniques, regulations, consumption advisories, and good places to fish. Participants may bring their own gear, but rods and reels also will 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. When the day is complete, participants will be prepared for an outdoor adventure of their own.
- 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 bull’s-eye with a bow and arrow and learn important safety tips.
- Birdwatching: 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.
- Adaptive outdoor recreation: Experience and learn about adaptive outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks with pontoon boat rides, an adaptive fishing clinic, camping demonstrations, interpretive hikes, and more.
Most sites are wheelchair accessible. Contact the event coordinator directly with specific accommodation requirements.
The need for 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. Outdoors Day events support New Yorkers in trying healthy outdoor activities.
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 by visiting https://www.dec.ny.gov/62.html and connect with DEC on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.
(New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)