By Aidan Johnson
Major celebrations are in store for the New York’s statewide park and historic site system, which has reached 100 years since its founding by Gov. Alfred E. Smith (D) and the state Legislature of 1924.
While there will be multiple events happening statewide throughout the year in New York’s parks and historic sites, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced a year-long challenge for residents and visitors.
The challenge consists of 100 different activities that can be completed at the New York State parks and historic sites throughout the year. All of the tasks can be found listed under “NY State Parks Centennial Challenge” in the app Goosechase, and include missions such as drawing flowers or wildlife found in the park, visiting one of the lighthouses, biking certain trails and attending an environmental education program. However, participants need not worry about traveling statewide to complete every challenge, as only 24 are required to be finished in order to receive a sticker and be entered into a drawing for a three-year Empire Pass and a centennial swag bag.
NYS sees the centennial and challenges as an opportunity to help local economies by attracting visitors to the different parks and sites.
“Our parks in New York State are now for a century where families and friends have gathered, where memories were made outdoors,” said state Parks Deputy Regional Director Kara Hahn.
Hahn described the Share Your Story initiative, in which residents are invited to share their favorite photos and memories of the parks by emailing [email protected] or by using the #nystateparkstory hashtag on social media.
“We really want to inspire and encourage and engage our residents to come out because we know how good it is for health to be outside and active…and we know that it’s good for community health to have our residents gathering in beautiful spaces and have fun,” Hahn said.
“We’re taking this Centennial 100-year anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate all that and hopefully encourage and activate our residents to come back out,” she added.
Information is also available at parks.ny.gov/100/challenge.