ROCHESTER, N.Y. —  Gov. Kathy Hochul announced up to $53 million secured in the 2025 fiscal year enacted budget to improve public safety at New York state parks. The money will support future security upgrades at state parks and campgrounds, including improvements to fencing and lighting as well as the installation of security cameras and license plate recognition systems.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul announced up to $53 million from the 2025 fiscal year enacted budget to enhance public safety at New York State Parks

  •  A Junior Ranger safety education campaign will launch this summer, teaching children three core safety concepts.

  • Park Rangers will engage with visitors and be available to help, with a focus on building trust and enhancing overall safety

The governor plans to launch a Junior Ranger safety education campaign at New York state parks this summer. This campaign will teach children three core safety concepts — use a buddy system while exploring, share plans with a trusted adult and ask park staff for help if needed. 

The Junior Ranger program will use cartoon characters to teach three core safety concepts. Signs will be posted at campgrounds, nature centers, playgrounds and swimming pools.

Children are encouraged to ask park rangers for stickers to build trust. The program is expected to grow into a comprehensive recreational safety awareness initiative for children and families. It will include educational activities and a web component.

"We're seeing our attendance rise year after year, so with more people in the park, it's even more important that we're enhancing all of our safety precautions. We're making all sorts of enhancements and when it comes to that, this educational piece is just a small part of it," said Sarah Santiago, director of park rangers for New York state parks.

Santiago mentioned that new training will be introduced for staff on handling reports of missing children. Since children can sometimes wander off in crowded areas, park rangers must know how to respond appropriately.

Rangers walk, drive and bike around engaging with visitors, and the public must know that park rangers are available to help. There will also be a QR code on each sign that translates into 12 different languages.