Funding to Support Comprehensive Security Upgrades at State Parks and Campgrounds.

Governor Kathy Hochul today highlighted up to $53 million secured in the FY 2025 Enacted Budget to improve public safety at New York State Parks. This funding will support future security upgrades at State Parks and campgrounds, including improvements to fencing and lighting as well as the installation of security cameras and license plate recognition systems. The Governor also announced the launch of a “Junior Ranger” safety education campaign at New York State Parks this summer to remind children of three core personal safety concepts: using a buddy system while exploring outdoors; sharing their plans with a trusted adult; and asking for help from park staff should they need it.


“As more people visit New York’s world class State Parks, we are committed to ensuring the safety and security of every visitor,” Governor Hochul said. “The safety of New Yorkers is my number one priority. Through this safety education campaign and critical security enhancements, we will help prevent incidents from occurring and ensure we are prepared to respond to any emergency situation.”


All park operations staff will receive a new comprehensive training on proactive visitor engagement, missing person response, and human trafficking awareness. Building on an existing missing person training for Park Rangers, the training will encourage all staff to be more visible to patrons and will ensure that all who work in public facing roles are informed on how to handle missing persons and look for signs of human trafficking.  


In planning the security enhancement projects, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) analyzed attendance data, site conditions, and service calls at parks across the state. The agency identified more than 90 potential technology projects, including the installation of license plate recognition systems and security cameras at facilities, and network connectivity infrastructure improvements to support their use as well as more than 20 projects to install fencing and lighting. 


The Junior Ranger program will feature cartoon characters who will reinforce the three core safety concepts. Signs will be posted at all campgrounds, nature centers, playgrounds, and swimming pools. To build trust and develop rapport with staff, children are encouraged to ask Park Rangers for the stickers. This program will continue to grow to become a comprehensive recreational safety awareness program for children and families, with educational programming and a web component.  


New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, “Visitor safety is our top concern, and agency staff has been working diligently all winter to plan these projects. We look forward to adding the Junior Ranger program to our educational offerings at our parks. We’re confident that the security enhancements will safeguard our campgrounds while preserving the camping experience New Yorkers value.” 


OPRHP is also accelerating the Park Police training academy schedule to bolster Park Police ranks. At the beginning of April, 20 officers graduated from the academy and are currently engaged in field assignments across the state to complete their training under the auspices of a seasoned officer. The next training academy will begin in June, and last for six months.  


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 saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app or call 518.474.0456. Join us in celebrating our Centennial throughout 2024, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and the OPRHP Blog.  


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