New York State will provide free First-Time Camper weekends this summer. Families that have never camped before will have the opportunity to see if they enjoy sleeping under the stars before investing in their own gear by registering for a fully stocked campsite at select state campgrounds one weekend from July 7 through August 25, 2017.
Long-time campers know the enjoyment and rewards of sleeping under the stars, but for those who have never slept in a tent before, spending the night outdoors can be an unfamiliar adventure. New York State’s First-Time Camper program plans to make trying camping for the first time easy by providing a turnkey camping experience for families, especially those from under-served communities that have never camped before.
The new campers will be provided with a family tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, lantern, and firewood. A Camping Ambassador will meet families at the campsite and help them get camp set-up. Bathrooms and hot showers are a short walk from the campsites. Campers will also have an opportunity to learn from experts on fishing, hiking, bird watching, paddling and more.
Campgrounds are available throughout the state to give all New Yorkers an opportunity to participate. Campground locations are listed below:
- 7/7-7/9 – North South Lake (Catskills)
- 7/14-7/16 – Wellesley Island State Park
- 7/21-7/23 – Paradox Lake (Adirondacks)
- 7/28-7/30 – Schodack Island State Park
- 8/4-8/6 – Kenneth L Wilson (Catskills)
- 8/11-8/13 – Green Lakes State Park
- 8/18-8/20 – Hearthstone Point (Adirondacks)
- 8/25-8/27 – Hamlin Beach State Park
Reservations are required and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis starting May 17, 2017 from 9 am to 5 pm by calling (518) 474-6718. For more information, visit DEC’s website.
Photo of Paradox Lake Campground provided by DEC.
Its a nice idea, but there are a lot of issues families need help with. Getting started with camping just doesn’t seem like its made it to the top of the list of things the state should subsidize. I hope they have private entities footing the bill, and/or volunteers.
I’ll never forget a story one of my friends told me years ago…
After spending a night at a DEC campground during his first time on a “camping trip to the Adirondacks”, he was hooked and wanted to try out some more primitve camping & backpacking, and then asked me for advice on places to go. This all coming from a guy I would have never pegged as an outdoorsy type guy. To this day he still enjoys camping in the Adirondacks. Just saying.