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State parks hopes for more visitors at Green Lakes after dip last year

Green grass lines the edge of a lake with light blue water.
John Rozell
NYS Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation
Green foliage grows along the water's edge at Green Lakes State Park.

New York State reports over a million more people went to state parks in 2022 than the year before. However, 175,000 fewer people went to Central New York’s Green Lakes State Park. State Parks Regional Director Duane Owens said a couple of factors could be to blame.

“We’ve had some construction going on at Green Lakes, so that would tend to reduce your numbers from the year before," Owens said. "Depending on the weather, if it’s kind of wet – that makes a difference.”

The construction on a new bath house will finally wrap up in June. Owens said wet weather is likely the bigger issue.

“Green Lakes has a swimming beach, so if the weather is not nice enough to go swimming your attendance is going to go down," Owens said. "Where as that same day, that same weather, you may go to Chitt Falls for a hike, or Clarke Reservation for a hike. It’s good enough to go hiking, but maybe not good enough to go swimming.”

New York Climatologist Mark Wysocki said climate trends support this. He said although Central New York is seeing about the same amount of rain each summer, storms have been more intense and less frequent, which could contribute to fewer people showing up to swim.

“If it’s sporadic, you get a lot of rain, then you get flooded, and it takes time for the water to seep through and drain away," Wysocki said. "So, some of the parks could suffer, even though you had maybe one or two days of heavy rain, it may take another two or three days for them to dry out to where people want to come to the parks.”

Wysocki said Central New York has been getting a couple of 90 degree days, but in between lots of cooler days in the low 70s where people may not want to go to the beach. He added that more stable and mild weather could make a difference.

Matt Hassan is a senior broadcast and digital journalism student at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is minoring in History and sport management. Matt grew up in Port Washington, New York on Long Island. He creates print, radio, and television stories almost daily on a wide range of topics, including hard news, profiles, and sports. Matt hopes to pursue a career as either a reporter or producer of news.