The DEC and State Parks announced New York will once again provide free First-Time Camper Weekends this summer after a successful run the past two years. Here’s what you need to know to participate.
Details on What to Expect When Camping Through the Program
Families who have never camped before will have the chance to explore the great outdoors through this popular activity as they’re provided with proper equipment, guidance, and programs at select campgrounds. New campers receive a family tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, a lantern, and firewood.
Bathrooms and hot showers are just a short walk from the campsites, so those new to the experience can ease into the in-the-woods experience.
A camping ambassador meets families at the campsite to help them get set up. Campers have an opportunity to learn from experts how to hike, fish, bird watch, paddle, and more.
“Season after season, our state campgrounds have been the setting for families connecting with nature and creating special memories, and we are excited to introduce this experience and these special parks to a new generation of New Yorkers,” Erik Kulleseid, Acting State Parks Commissioner, said in a statement.
Camp Locations & How to Participate
The First-Time Camper Weekends started out in 2017 with eight parks, expanded last year, and this year the program includes 11 campgrounds over nine weekends from late June until after Labor Day. The campgrounds are located in the Adirondacks, Catskills and Hudson Valley, and in Western New York.
Interested New York residents can apply to participate in the program by using an online sign-up form which enters them into an online lottery. The application period for the lottery selection is May 10th through the 12th. Organizers select eligible participants randomly.
The link below provides further details on the campground locations. Check back at that page for the registration link starting on May 10th: