DEC 50NYS Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation DEC and State Parks Launch ‘Play Smart * Play Safe * Play Local’ Campaign to Encourage New Yorkers to Recreate Responsibly during State’s Ongoing Response to COVID-19

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) have launched the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL Campaign to encourage all New Yorkers to recreate safely, responsibly, and locally this summer and to always treat fellow outdoor adventurers with respect. The campaign invites people to take the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL pledge, and promise to use common sense to protect themselves and others when enjoying the outdoors. During the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19, New Yorkers across the state want and need to get outside for a nature break, which is good for physical and mental health. Click here for a video message from DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. 

“During the State’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, DEC is working with our partners at State Parks to encourage all New Yorkers to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL when visiting public lands and parks. Getting outside can serve as a much-needed getaway from the stresses and fears of everyday life. So get outside, but #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal, and remember to treat the outdoor adventurers you encounter with respect,” DEC Commissioner Seggos said. 

State Parks Commissioner Kulleseid said, “Governor Cuomo understands how important it has been for New Yorkers to have their State Parks open for healthy, safe recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly support his call for people to show their support for our Parks and our dedicated staff by taking this pledge to recreate responsibly this summer. These common-sense guidelines will help protect us all and help keep our parks open.” 

DEC and State Parks are promoting the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by partnering with stakeholders including state and local environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, and community and public health groups. The campaign and pledge include common sense guidelines for smart and safe recreation, including incorporating social distancing and wearing a face mask, planning trips ahead, choosing a destination close to home because public restrooms and restaurants may not be open, and visiting at off hours. The agencies are also encouraging New Yorkers to take the pledge and use the hashtag #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal when sharing their outdoor adventures on social media. 

Take the Pledge to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely and Responsibly

1.     I pledge to respect the rules and do my part to keep parks, beaches, trails, boat launches, and other public spaces safe for everyone.

2.     I will stay local and close to home.

3.     I will maintain a safe distance from others outside of my household.

4.     I will wear a mask when I cannot maintain social distancing.

5.     I accept that this summer, I may have to adjust how I enjoy the outdoors to help keep myself and others healthy and safe, even if it means changing my plans to visit a public space.

6.     I will be respectful of others by letting them pass by me if needed on a trail and keeping my blanket ten feet apart from others on the beach.

7.     I will move quickly through shared areas like parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas to avoid crowding.

8.     If I’m not feeling well, I will stay home. ​

New Yorkers are strongly advised to plan their outdoor adventures ahead of time and choose alternate destinations if their first choice is closed or crowded. Check and for park capacity closure alerts and visit the DECinfo locator to find the nearest DEC-managed lands. DEC and State Parks websites also feature guidelines to help New Yorkers safely engage in outdoor activities including swimming, hunting, fishing, boating, golf, and hiking. Indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC public facilities may remain closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent community spread of COVID-19, so New Yorkers are encouraged to stay local, within their region.