WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- Over the Fourth of July weekend, New York State Parks saw a spike in their attendance. Numbers across the state and even locally saw a sharp increase in comparison to last year.

This announcement comes after Governor Kathy Hochul announced free state park pool access this summer as part of her “Get Offline, Get Outside” campaign.

In our area, Watkins Glen State Park was a part of the initiative and saw 16,000 people come to enjoy some summer fun over the Fourth of July weekend. This marks the highest attendance Watkins Glen has seen in the last five years. Last year, the park only welcomed 11,000 people during the same time. As a whole, the Finger Lakes State Park region saw a lot of their facilities reach max capacity.

"We've got a strong, strong start," said Fred Bonn, Regional Director of Finger Lakes State Parks. "If the weather continues and the forecast is good, I would expect that we will see another record season. Again, camping has pretty much been sold out in its entirety. If people are looking to come into the Finger Lakes to go camping, look at some of the mid-week opportunities. There's still some availability mid-week. Weekends are just super busy."

On a statewide level, Governor Kathy Hochul announced earlier today, July 10, that 2.8 million people attended state parks over the holiday weekend, a 30 percent increase from last year. The pool attendance increased by over 65 percent between July 4 and July 7. There were 83,741 people that visited state pools this year.

“This Fourth of July weekend, New York kids and families put down their phones, got outside, and took advantage of free pool access at our beautiful State Parks,” said Governor Hochul in a prepared statement. “It’s wonderful news to see that millions of people spent their time outdoors this past holiday, and I’m encouraging New Yorkers to continue to stay active and beat the heat this summer.”

The Governor launched the “Get Offline, Get Outside" campaign initiative to try and help promote physical and mental health. The goal is to get New York’s kids and families to put down their electronic devices, take a break from social media, and enjoy the outdoors.

While pool entry fees have been waived for the rest of the summer in NY state, regular parking fees still apply where on-site parking is included.  The Governor has also started a pilot initiative at the NYS Park pools to offer free sunscreen to attendees.

Bonn attributes the increased numbers in our area to Governor Hochul's initiative and also the warm weather. He suggests to those who are looking for more on events, activities and up-to-date camping information, that they take a look at the park's mobile app. He also says he is expecting another great summer in the Finger Lakes State Parks and beyond.