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Feb 22, 2018 4:37 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Governor Cuomo Announces Major Uptick In Park Attendance In Montauk And Statewide

The Montauk Point Lighthouse. KYRIL BROMLEY
Feb 26, 2018 10:47 AM

Rain or shine, people couldn’t seem to get enough of New York State’s parks in 2017—especially the ones in East Hampton Town.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in February that more than 71 million people visited state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails last year. Statewide, that was an increase of almost one million visitors compared to 2016.

State parks in East Hampton—especially in Montauk—were some of the many that saw an uptick in attendance last year. Montauk Point State Park, featuring the Montauk Point Lighthouse, welcomed more than 1.1 million visitors last year after first hitting the million-visit milestone in 2016. Hither Hills State Park saw visits rise slightly, from 646,379 to 646,940.

The infamous Camp Hero State Park, formerly an Air Force base that some conspiracy theorists, and fiction writers, say was used for secret science experiments in the 1970s, had more than 305,000 visitors in 2017, compared to 172,000-plus visitors in 2016.

Thomas Dess, superintendent of the state parks in Montauk, said on Thursday, February 22, that he and his staff have been noticing a rise in attendance at Camp Hero since they recently installed visitor counters at the park. The park’s popularity has grown over the years, he said, evidenced by the park having been the scene of more than 40 wedding ceremonies in the last few years.

“It seems like the word is getting out that Camp Hero is a great place to get married while looking out on the bluffs or the lighthouse,” Mr. Dess said.

Mr. Dess added that Camp Hero is growing in popularity with Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops for camping and trails, along with the park’s bluffs’ continued popularity as a spot for surfing and fishing.

“We’re always trying to make Camp Hero more attractive and have it bring out more people,” Mr. Dess said.

Visitors to Shadmoor State Park, also in Montauk, also nearly doubled last year, rising from 48,000-plus in 2016 to 92,000-plus in 2017. Napeague State Park in Amagansett saw a big leap in visitors last year, jumping from more than 70,000 in 2016 to more than 107,000 in 2017.

Amsterdam Beach State Park in Montauk, which opened recently, brought in 12,000 visitors. The Sag Harbor State Golf Course brought in 23,814 visitors in 2017, about the same as the 23,873 in 2016.

Statewide, Niagara Falls topped the list of state parks, with 9,435,285 visits in 2017 and 9,529,325 in 2016. Jones Beach came in second: 5,947,537 in 2017 and 5,910,338 in 2016.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By harbor (414), East Hampton on Feb 22, 18 11:49 PM
Brookhaven Lab and Camp Hero are in close proximity?
By harbor (414), East Hampton on Feb 22, 18 11:49 PM
Maybe reason for the "uptick" in lyme disease?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 24, 18 8:41 AM