Oswego County’s state parks did not share in the growth seen in state parks attendance during the most challenging year for parks in decades.
Statewide, attendance at state-run parks, golf courses, boat launches and other facilities rose about 2%, to nearly 57,000,000 people in 2010.
“The robust park and historic site attendance in 2010 reflects the enduring popularity of the New York state park system,” said Acting Commissioner of the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Office, Andy Beers, in a news release. “With so many people turning to affordable and convenient destinations for recreation and culture in these difficult economic times, New York is fortunate to have such high-quality and inviting state parks and historic sites across the state.”
The state’s figures show modest gains in attendance in the parks of the Central Region, which includes parks in Oswego County. (See the table below.)
But nearly all of the state facilities in Oswego County recorded losses.
The busiest park in the county is Selkirk Shores State Park. There, the swimming beach was closed for the summer for repairs. Attendance fell 13%. The nearby Sandy Island Beach state park did pick up a little of Selkirk’s traffic, reporting the only gain in the county, at 1.6%.
The county’s other large state park is Fort Ontario, the subject of a long fight over whether the fort would open in 2010 or not. The state planned to keep the fort closed all year. State and federal lawmakers eventually insisted the park and several others open, however.
The fort’s delayed opening not only denied it several weeks of visits, it caused the cancellation of a large historical reenactment.
Fort Ontario’s attendance was down 13%.
And Battle Island Golf Course, a state parks-run facility, saw 452 fewer golfers in 2010, down 1.6%.
Overall, the county’s state parks hosted nearly 325,000 visitors in 2010, down 41,000 visitors from 2009, a loss of more than 11%.
Nearby parks also showed mixed results.
Fair Haven’s Springbrook Greens Golf Course opened late, as Fort Ontario did. The late opening cost the golf course some of its summer golf leagues and attendance was way down.
The Citizen of Auburn reports the state is considering an offer to sell the course to a private citizen who would agree to keep the course a public facility.
But the nearby Chimney Bluffs State Park saw higher attendance.
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