Free Events Statewide Featuring Family-Friendly Recreation Activities
Supports Adventure NY Initiative to Connect New Yorkers with Nature
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that “Outdoors Day” will be celebrated at free events across the state on Saturday, June 8. DEC is hosting these events as part of the Governor’s Adventure NY Initiative (PDF) 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.
Commissioner Seggos said, “With nearly five million acres of land open to the public to explore, New Yorkers have endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. DEC is excited to host Outdoors Day events on June 8th and open up new possibilities for outdoor recreation for people of all ages. We encourage you to spend the day with us enjoying the outdoors and trying a new skill.”
New York’s Outdoors Day coincides with National Get Outdoors Day, an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. The events are also consistent with the Governor’s 2018 Executive Order to make New York the first age-friendly state in the country.
At events across the state, Outdoors Day participants will be able to discover new skills and try out a range of introductory outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, paddling, hiking, biking, bird watching, archery, camping, and more. Adaptive equipment and opportunities will be available at select locations.
Events and Activities
DEC is hosting 10 Outdoors Day events throughout the state. These family-friendly, open house events will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some programs and demonstrations are scheduled at specific times. Details, including schedules, registration requirements, and a map of activities planned for Outdoors Day can be found on DEC’s website.
Activities at DEC facilities include (not all activities are available at all locations):
- 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 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 what and how to pack for a camping trip. When the day is complete, participants will be prepared for an outdoor adventure of their own.
- Paddling: Learn the basics of this fun fast-growing sport and try getting out on the water.
- Archery: Try your hand at getting a bullseye with a bow and arrow and learn important safety tips.
- Birdwatching: Learn how easy and fun it is to enjoy birdwatching almost anywhere.
- Hiking: Take a short hike and learn the basics of finding the perfect trails to get out on your own.
- Outdoor safety: Learn the basics of being prepared and safe so all your outdoor adventures are good ones.
- Long Island, Region 1: Hempstead Lake State Park, in partnership with the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
- NYC, Region 2: Mt. Loretto Unique Area
- Lower Hudson Valley, Region 3: Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center
- Catskills, Region 3: Kenneth L. Wilson Campground & Maurice D. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center
- Capital District, Region 4: DEC’s Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Lawson Lake County Park
- Eastern Adirondacks, Region 5: Northampton Beach Campground
- Western Adirondacks, Region 6: DEC Lowville office
- Central NY, Region 7: DEC’s Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Rochester/Western Finger Lakes, Region 8: In cooperation with Adirondack Mountain Club (Genesee Valley Chapter) at the Outdoor Expo at Mendon Ponds Park
- Western NY, Region 9: Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
Most sites are wheelchair accessible. Please 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.
“New York State has so many great outdoor environments, including lakes and ocean beaches, as well as mountains and urban parks, where we can get fresh air and exercise year round,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Start with one of New York State’s Outdoors Day events and keep going outside as much as you can, to stay fit and healthy all year.”
Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, “New York State offers amazing opportunities to get active and explore our state’s remarkable natural resources. On June 8th, Outdoors Day provides a great option for families and friends to discover new recreation possibilities that can be valued for a lifetime. We encourage you to visit one of our special programs to test your outdoor skills and to learn and experience all that New York has to offer.”
New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, “New York State offers limitless outdoor opportunities that provide a diverse array of recreational, educational, and cultural activities for people of all ages and abilities. I thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos for providing these opportunities to all New Yorkers. Outdoors Day is a perfect way for people to reconnect with the outdoors, or to explore new interests or activities for the first time. This is a great example of how New York continues to lead the nation in connecting the work of various agencies to improve the health and well-being of all New Yorkers, and further supports our efforts as the first age-friendly state in the nation.”
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “I’m thrilled we could partner with the Governor and the DEC to offer Lawson Lake County Park as a location for Outdoors Day. Since taking office, I have worked with our partners to transform our park into a regional destination for hundreds of kids and their families to exercise, learn and grow, providing opportunities that may not have otherwise existed. This free event is exactly what we had envisioned and I hope everyone has the chance to see what we have to offer.”
Randy Hoak, Associate State Director of AARP New York, said, “Outdoors Day marks another step toward fulfilling New York’s commitment as the first State in the nation to join AARP’s Network of Age Friendly States and Communities. AARP applauds Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation for publicizing and offering these and other great recreational opportunities to New Yorkers of all ages.”
Jeff Senterman, Executive Director of The Catskill Center, said, “It is vitally important to help New Yorkers enjoy and understand our great outdoors, which is why the Catskill Center is excited to partner with the NYSDEC at the Catskills Visitor Center to celebrate Outdoors Day. As the gateway to the forever wild lands of the Catskill Park, we look forward to introducing Outdoors Day participants to the Catskills, the many outdoor recreational pursuits that our region has to offer, and the responsible stewardship of those lands during recreation.”
Rich Sensenbach, Outdoor Expo Chair for the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said, “We really want to get families outdoors and show them what they can do there. Watching kids and their families explore new finds is so great. Knowing we helped them get outside – it’s just so rewarding!”
Stacey Lynch Adnams, Program Director for the Stony Kill Foundation, said, “Outdoors Day at Stony Kill Farm is a great way to get your family outside, learn some new skills, and experience nature on a historic Hudson Valley farm.”
Marissa Nolan, Senior Educator at the Rogers Environmental Education Center, said, “Outdoors Day is a great opportunity to rediscover all the wonderful activities to do outside and find new places in New York State to explore.”
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.