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State DEC Announces The ‘24 First-Time Camper Program


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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has introduced this year’s First-Time Camper Program for the summer camping season. The program is an opportunity for New York families who may have never experienced camping have an opportunity to try camping and various recreational activities by registering for a fully stocked campsite at specific DEC-operated campgrounds throughout the state.

“DEC’s introductory program for first-time campers is back and I am honored to welcome even more New Yorkers to check out great campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills,”

Interim Commissioner Mahar said.

Families utilizing the program will have a turnkey campsite experience. The DEC says the program can help families who come from underserved communities who would be unfamiliar with camping and the planning and supplies needed to enjoy a good and safe experience.

The program by the DEC provides: a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, a lantern, and firewood for a weekend out camping. Available bathrooms and showers are available at the campsites and a camping ambassador will meet and help those setting up their campsite with a “Camping 101 lesson.” There will also be opportunities for campers to learn how to fish, hike, bird watch, paddle, and more.

Those interested in taking part of the program are being encouraged by the DEC to enter the lottery that is open now through the 20th. Participants will be randomly selected to fill open camping slots.

Those entering the lottery must choose one facility from the participating locations in the Adirondacks and Catskills:

  • North South Lake Campground (Catskills) – July 12-14
  • Ausable Point Campground (Adirondacks) – July 19-21
  • Luzerne Campground (Adirondacks) – July 26-28
  • Cranberry Lake Campground (Adirondacks) – August 2-4
  • Northampton Beach Campground (Adirondacks) – August 9-11
  • Mongaup Pond Campground (Catskills) – August 16-18
  • Kenneth L. Wilson Campground (Catskills) – August 23-25

You may enter the lottery by clicking HERE. More information on the DEC-operated campgrounds can be found on the DEC’s website, HERE.

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