Not only did New York have record numbers of visitors to its state parks, two local historic sites also saw a significant increase in the number of visitors during the 2015 summer season. Schoharie Crossing in Ft. Hunter had 40,000 visitors this summer, up 10,000 from last year; and Johnson Hall in Johnstown saw 20,000 visitors, up from 18,000 in 2014.
“In New York, we had a very successful summer season,” said Dan Keefe, spokesman for state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Statewide we were up by almost 10 percent.”
Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site is dedicated to the Erie Canal as one of the 19th century’s greatest engineering and commercial projects.
Among dozens of activities at the site, visitors can take a guided tour, hike trails and visit the museum. According to its website, there is also a horse trail, biking is allowed and there are a number of other events throughout the year.
“Locally, at Schoharie Crossing, visitors can take a walking tour now and take full advantage of the fall colors,” said Keefe. “They offer Tai Chi classes as well.”
At Schoharie Crossing, Keefe said visitors can see many historic buildings and structures which encompasses the three eras of the canal’s development. Keefe said the site’s largest structure are the remains of the Schoharie aqueduct which moved the water in the canal over the Schoharie Creek.
Johnson Hall is the 1763 Georgian-style estate of Sir William Johnson, an Irish immigrant, and Molly Brant, a Mohawk Indian. The couple had eight children.
Visitors can take guided tours of the home and grounds, as well as visit the museum and gift shop and have a picnic lunch in the picnic area.
“At Johnson Hall, visitors can have guided tours Wednesday through Sunday and on Saturdays, have guided tours of the grounds,” said Keefe, noting the site closes for the season Oct. 13.
Keefe credited the extended summer, good weather and new programs for the increased number of visitors.
“Generally, statewide we had a lot of nice weather throughout the summer,” said Keefe. “We been doing a lot of new offerings and with Labor Day later in the year, it extended the summer season for us.”
Statewide, the park system saw an estimated 38.6 visitors to state parks, campgrounds and historic sites. In a news release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said Labor Day weekend saw 2.2 million estimated visitors for the three-day period, up from 2 million in 2004.