NEW YORK (WWTI) — A new statewide campaign will encourage residents and visitors to “Love” the lands in New York State.

On Tuesday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the launch of the “Love Our NY Lands” campaign to encourage visitors to practice responsible and sustainable recreation.

According to the DEC, this launch is following the steady increase in the number of visitors to state lands both during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the past ten years. This increase in recreation particularly focuses on the Adirondack and Catskill parks.

“Last year tens of thousands of New Yorkers were desperate to get outside for a respite from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and while we saw a significant uptick in 2020, the number of visitors to state lands, particularly the Adirondack and Catskill parks has been increasing for several years,” said Commissioner Seggos. “This is a welcome challenge, but one we must address through a variety of strategic and creative means. With the launch of the Love Our NY Lands campaign to encourage visitors to plan ahead, visit responsibly, and practice Leave No Trace™ principles, all New Yorkers and visitors can help ensure these special places are protected for future generations to enjoy.”

The DEC added that the campaign will help support State and partner-led efforts to educate recreationists on Leave No Trace™ principles, implement a variety of multi-media and in-person strategies, hiker preparedness and safety, sustainable use and responsible trip planning.

Specifically it will include in-person education at trailheads in the Adirondacks and Catskills during the hiking season, expanded stewardship programs, DEC’s ‘Adventure at Home’ Facebook Live sessions about sustainable recreation and hiker safety hosted by DEC Forest Rangers, Foresters, and outreach and education staff, public-facing events, and instructional videos on DEC’s YouTube channel, as well as enhanced social media, public service announcements, and promotions by partner State agencies.

The “Love Our NY Lands” campaign will also reinforce roles of DEC professionals such as DEC Foresters, Natural Resource Planners, Forest Rangers, Assistant Forest Rangers and additional stewards.

The Department of Environmental Conservation stated that the campaign was developed to support priorities and objectives identified by the High Peaks Advisory Group and currently being discussed by the Catskills Advisory Group, as well as the concerns of local stakeholders and environmental groups committed to protecting these natural areas. 

A DEC PSA on the campaign can be viewed in the player below: