Long Island state parks permits: What you need to know for 2019

Permits needed to enjoy some of the many activities state parks offer — from night sport fishing and stargazing to four-wheel driving for surfing and fishing — will start being sold Tuesday for the 2019 season.

All fishing and stargazing permits are sold only from Jan. 1 to March 31, and from the Tuesday after Labor Day to Dec. 31, the state parks department says. At the parks department’s Babylon headquarters and Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, permit sales begin one day later, on Wednesday.

“Overall attendance at Long Island State Parks continues to increase and remain strong,” said George Gorman, state parks deputy regional director for Long Island, by email. “The special use permits, especially the four-wheel-drive access permits for Long Island State Park beaches have increased dramatically as more and more Long Islanders utilize their four-wheel-drive vehicles for fishing and surfing.”

New York has more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, totaling nearly 350,000 acres. Last year, 71.5 million people visited them, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. That is a 23 percent increase since 2011 when Cuomo was sworn in  and began making up for years of neglect, with a goal of investing $900 million of public and private funds by 2020.

In 2017, Long Island accounted for almost half of the 1.6 million in gains from the six regions that saw visitors go up.

For recreational fishing, the free state Department of Environmental Conservation registration, valid for one year, is required. Registrations are offered online, over the telephone or from a license issuing agent. People fishing from licensed party or charterboats do not need to register. The registration does not cover tuna and shark fishing; shellfishing has different requirements.

The 2019 annual Empire Pass, which offers unlimited daily access by vehicle to most state parks and DEC sites, will go on sale April 1. Yearlong, multiyear and lifetime passes are sold online and at state parks and regional offices.

Here are the details about specific parks and permits. Various other exceptions apply. For more information, visit parks.ny.gov.