This Summer, Explore the Great Outdoors & Local Recreational Opportunities

Weekly Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Summertime in upstate New York can be pretty hard to beat. If you’re looking to fill the summer months with some activities that only our home region can offer, consider getting outdoors, breathing some fresh air and exploring sights and sounds right in our own backyard. July is Parks and Recreation Month, and I can’t think of a better time to venture out and experience the positive benefits outdoor activities can provide.


Since 1985, July has been designated as the nation’s official Parks and Recreation Month, encouraging individuals to enjoy local parks and recreation centers and to get outside, explore and take part in outdoor activities. We are fortunate to have numerous parks, hiking trails, fishing holes and other recreational options that residents and visitors alike can take advantage of year round.

Take a step back in time and visit the H. Lee White Marine Museum and “climb aboard a piece of history.” Founded in 1982, the museum is home to the tugboat Nash, one of the few remaining US Army vessels from the Normandy Landings. While visiting the museum, be sure to check out the West Pierhead Lighthouse, built in 1934.

If you don’t quite have your sea legs ready, lace up your hiking shoes and explore the Great Bear Recreational Trails, comprised of approximately 444 acres along the east bank of the Oswego River, the area boasts almost eight miles of marked trails through forests, fields and wetlands. Selkirk Shores State Park, Sandy Island Beach and Salmon River Falls also offer exceptional fishing, hiking and swimming – perfect for a few hours out of the house or a day trip.

Additional places to explore, including golf courses, other historic sites and local agricultural attractions can be found here.


If you are looking to get outside without having to navigate the trails and streams, the region is ripe for the picking when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables grown on farms across the state. New York is home to 33,400 farms, the backbone of our economy, and more importantly, the food supply. Did you know, in New York alone, the agricultural industry generates more than $5 billion in sales annually?

You can help to support local farms and our agriculture industry – and satisfy your sweet tooth – by visiting u-picks and farm markets. With blueberry season upon us, you may want to check out a farm or two closest to you. A detailed list of locations and their offerings is available here.

No matter which adventure calls your name, please be respectful and mindful of the safety measures and social-distancing protocols in place at various locations.