Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

March 04, 2022

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks to Introduce Pilot Parking Reservation System for the Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Reservations will be required weekends and holidays from the first weekend in May through the last weekend in October.    

This spring, New York State Parks, along with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, will introduce a pilot reservation system for parking at the Sam's Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Ulster County). Reservations are required weekends and holidays from the first weekend in May through the last weekend in October online. All weekend and holiday visitors will be required to make reservations online. 

The pilot reservation system aims to protect the site's fragile ecosystem from the impact of increasing visitation and to provide an improved visitor experience for enjoyment of the unique features and natural beauty of the Sam's Point Area, while reducing impacts on the surrounding community.   

"The pilot parking reservation program at the Sam's Point Area will balance responsible stewardship with our commitment towards providing all New Yorkers safe recreational access," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "The Sam's Point Area offers extraordinary opportunities for outdoor recreation and implementing this parking system will help ensure continued access to the site while better protecting the natural resources of the park." 

Commission Executive Director Joshua Laird said, "The pilot reservation system at Sam's Point will enhance our stewardship of site's sensitive environment and improve the experience for visitors by offering an opportunity to plan ahead for access to the site's limited parking area." 

Annual visitation to Sam's Point has steadily increased in recent years, with a nearly 48% increase in visitors since 2015. This increase has led to severe traffic congestion, illegal parking on local roads, and negative impacts on the park's natural resources and the surrounding areas with documented trail erosion, littering, and trampling of vegetation. Through the implementation of this pilot program, State Parks aims to mitigate these environmental concerns and reduce the disappointment of motorists previously turned away once the park reached capacity. 

"With more than three million visitors per year to Ulster County enjoying our many scenic vistas and outdoor recreation, we know how important it is to maintain access to our popular destinations while being responsible stewards of the land," Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. "I want to thank the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and New York State Parks for their efforts to balance record visitation at the Sam's Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve with the important need to protect sensitive ecological resources and to be good neighbors to Cragsmoor and other nearby communities. The pilot parking reservation system is a big step toward meeting this challenge." 

Town of Wawarsing Supervisor Terry Houck said, "The Town of Wawarsing supports efforts to ensure safe and pleasant public access to the Sam's Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The pilot parking reservation plan that will be implemented this year should decrease traffic congestion impacts to the historic and scenic hamlet of Cragsmoor. We would like to thank the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and New York State Parks for their efforts to work with us on this innovative plan." 

Reservations will be available online and by telephone through Reserve America. The vehicle entrance fee is $10.95; there will be no reservation fee for Empire Pass holders. Reservations will open in April. Please stay tuned for further details. 

Minnewaska State Park Preserve's main parking areas located at 5281 Route 44/55 Kerhonkson, will remain as first come first serve access with no reservation requirement.  

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78 million people. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) was formed in 1900 under an interstate compact to protect the Palisades from destruction by stone and gravel quarries operating along the western banks of the Lower Hudson River. As the nation's first bi-state partnership established to protect and conserve natural lands, the Commission's role expanded through the years to incorporate the Palisades Region of New York State Parks and the creation of the Palisades Interstate Parkway.