Study captures Sunken Meadow’s role as Long Island tourism
Visitor study issued by the Open Space Institute highlights park’s
local popularity, as well as its swell of diverse weekend visitors
ALBANY, NY (March 3, 2016)—For generations, Sunken Meadow
State Park has beckoned visitors with a welcoming beach, six miles of walking
and hiking trails, and a lengthy boardwalk overlooking Long Island Sound. Now,
a new study highlights Sunken Meadow’s role as a local and regional
destination, and reveals the starring role of diversity in its success.
The visitor study, issued by the Open Space
Institute (OSI)’s Alliance for New York State Parks program and funded with a
grant from the Dyson Foundation, clearly quantifies the impact of Sunken
Meadow, which every year attracts 2 million visitors for a picnic, swim or celebration
with extended family and friends. Nearly 60 percent of all park-goers originate
from Suffolk County, 23 percent from New York City, and 9 percent from Nassau
County, with the rest arriving from upstate or other states altogether.
Another insight captured by the survey is the changing
dynamic of the park from weekday to weekend.
The percentage of Spanish-speakers grows from 13 to 29 percent weekdays
to weekends, while rates of African-American visitors grow from 1 to 14
percent. This added weekend diversity transforms Sunken Meadow from an already busy
park on weekdays to one that is even more bustling and dynamic on weekends.
“Sunken Meadow is a convenient, ‘backyard’ park that through
the loyalty of generations of residents is now integrally woven into the fabric
of Suffolk County,” said Erik Kulleseid, executive director of OSI’s Alliance
program. “Increasingly, it is an inviting, family-friendly getaway for city
residents of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The investments being made in
Sunken Meadow by State Parks and its partners are paying dividends as more and
more people of all backgrounds grow to love this beautiful place, and develop a
stake in its future.”
“Sunken Meadow State Park’s miles of hiking trails,
beautiful beach and pristine playing fields have long served millions of
park-goers annually,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “These incredible park
facilities continue to provide endless opportunities for visitors from all
walks of life to enjoy. Whether traveling to the ‘backyard’ from a nearby
neighborhood or the city’s boroughs, we are thrilled the park’s diverse
visitors feel at home at Sunken Meadow.”
The study, based on data derived from a survey of over 430
visitors and conducted over 23 days from July through September 2014, revealed
that Sunken Meadow visitors contribute substantially to the economy. Between
stops en route to and from the park at area stores and restaurants, Sunken
Meadow’s total economic impact is estimated at $16.4 million annually on the
local and state economy.
The study also captured the positive role of diversity at
the park, with almost 30 percent of all visitors self-identifying as races
other than white. State investments in the park have also yielded dividends;
the public is especially enthusiastic about the park’s collection of unique
offerings, such as six miles of walking/hiking trails and water sports, plus
scenic venues for parties and gatherings.
Just 50 miles from downtown Manhattan, Sunken Meadow State
Park is an easy escape for visitors from New York City and a beloved “backyard”
park for millions of Long Island residents. It is open year-round from sunrise
to sunset and features playgrounds, softball fields, soccer fields, and many
other amenities for visitors of all ages.
Eileen Larrabee: 518.859.5069
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