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New York State Parks Welcome Residents As Pandemic Continues To Stop Travel

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Sand and sea, plants and trees, hiking and biking are all luring pandemic-trapped New Yorkers out of their homes, and as they head out, they're heading in record numbers to state parks; CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Sand and sea, plants and trees, hiking, and biking, are all luring pandemic trapped new Yorkers out of their homes.

MAURICE DUBOIS: And as they head out, they're heading in record numbers to state parks. CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan reports from Long Island.

VALERIE RAFAEL: Have your own personal bubble out here.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Valerie and [? Gervin ?] Rafael of Merrick regularly bring baby Camille to the Jones Beach Boardwalk

[? GERVIN RAFAEL: ?] It's just such a wide open space.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Exploring our own backyard to become the great escape. The pandemic ending travel, Naresh [? Bridglal ?] tries a new park every week.

[? NARESH BRIDGLAL: ?] I get to explore the island. And I went to places that I've never been before.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Locally?

[? NARESH BRIDGLAL: ?] Yes, locally.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Tennis courts are thriving. Walking paths bringing a sense of calm and tranquility.

KEITH FALSIFIER: Looking forward to get out into nature do some walking with my friends.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: And just in time for spring, the state completed 10 more miles of the Ocean Parkway Greenway path extension, with magnificent views.

ALICIA VENEZIE: It's truly exciting because you could keep going. You know, it goes all the way down to Captree State Park. So I'm headed there now.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: And Long Island biking advocate Martin Buchman says ditch the cars.

MARTIN BUCHMAN: As an activist, I'm thrilled that this is completed. It's completed early. It's been years in the making. But it's the beginning.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: National parks saw an explosion in attendance. New York state parks drew a record 78 million visitors, even though parking lots were limited to half capacity.

GEORGE GORMAN: Overall, at Long Island state parks, we saw just over 20% increase in attendance. And that translates into over a million additional visitors in 2020.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: And State Parks' George Gorman says that is without the canceled air shows and fireworks, charity walks, and runs. But Paul Lee of Long Beach managed something in stages.

PAUL LEE: When I was 70 years old.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Oh, OK.

PAUL LEE: You know.

JOSEPH CALHOUN: It's just great to be here. And hopefully there's light at the end of the tunnel.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: With hopes hardship may be nearing an end on Long Island, Jennifer McLogan CBS 2 news.

MAURICE DUBOIS: And Jones Beach State Park, the folks there say they hope to be able to resume the Bethpage Air Show this coming Memorial Day weekend.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: What was that shot?

MAURICE DUBOIS: It didn't look good. Blame the club. Blame the ball. Blame everything. Right?

KRISTINE JOHNSON: The pressure when you're on camera.

MAURICE DUBOIS: Yeah. It's too much.