Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 29, 2023

Dan Keefe | (518) 486-1868 | Pamela Brown Appalachian Mountain Club

“Ladders to the Outdoors” Program Returns to Harriman State Park This Summer to Promote Outdoor Participation, Environmental Stewardship

The free program is offered in partnership between the Appalachian Mountain Club and New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

New York, New York, June 29, 2023 – The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) are proud to announce the second annual "Ladders to the Outdoors" program at Harriman State Park. Taking place now through Labor Day, the program offers park guests free opportunities to learn about and engage with their natural environment through guided outdoor activities.

"Being outdoors is even more rewarding when you understand the environment around you," said Nicole Zussman, President and CEO of AMC. "Naturalists can tell you a little more about the trails, the plants and animals you're likely to see, and how to observe the changes of the season and the climate. AMC is thrilled to support another year of enriching outdoor experiences for Harriman's visitors."

The program is based out of Reeves Meadow Visitor Center in Harriman State Park and includes live programming, interpretive displays, signage and materials. Participants will enjoy hands-on experiences and receive information from on-site naturalists on key topics like litter reduction and hiking safety. Last summer – which was the first year of the program – more than 7,000 visitors participated. The goal of both organizations is to build on that success and welcome even more participants to experience the benefits of the outdoors.

"State Parks is so pleased that our Ladders to the Outdoors program has continued its expansion, welcoming both newcomers and veteran hikers with more outdoor recreational opportunities for the second year in a row," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "We are grateful to our partners at the Appalachian Mountain Club, Palisades Interstate Park Commission, and National Heritage Trust for working to create programming and activities that help encourage new generations of parkgoers to connect with nature and foster a lifelong love of the outdoors."

Palisades Interstate Park Commission Executive Director Joshua Laird said, "The Ladders to the Outdoors program at Reeves Meadow has been a great success. With funding support from State Parks, AMC's naturalists are helping to educate our visitors and connect them to nature. In doing this, we also hope to encourage a greater awareness in the environmental issues affecting our parks and promote an ethic of stewardship among those who participate. We look forward to working with our partners to sustain the Ladders program this year and into the future."

The Ladders to the Outdoors initiative is made possible through a partnership between the Appalachian Mountain Club, the  

Live programming provided by AMC naturalists is offered at the following locations and times through Monday, September 4, except where noted:

  • Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, 100 Seven Lakes Dr, Sloatsburg, NY: Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm through October 14
  • Beaver Pond Campground, 700 Kanawauke Rd, Stony Point, NY: Every other Saturday from 12pm to 5pm (beginning May 27)
  • Sebago Cabins, 440 Seven Lakes Dr, Sloatsburg, NY: Every other Saturday from 11am to 4pm (beginning July 1)

Less than an hour from New York City, Harriman State Park is the second-largest park in the New York parks system. It is known for its 31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trails, and two beaches. The park offers all visitors, regardless of outdoor skill or experience, the opportunity to be outdoors and appreciate the natural world. Harriman State Park is one of 21 parks and 8 historic sites owned and operated by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which works in partnership with AMC to operate the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.

In 2020, New York State Parks launched the Ladders to the Outdoors program to provide communities across the state greater access to outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship activities to build the skills and knowledge needed to enjoy a lifetime exploring New York's public lands.

About the Appalachian Mountain Club

The Appalachian Mountain Club is the nation's oldest conservation and recreation organization, committed to fostering the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the outdoors. Since 1876, AMC has encouraged generations to deepen their passions for the outdoors and helped protect some of the most precious natural environments in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

AMC manages three locations within Harriman State Park—a full service overnight camp and two visitor centers, with a second, larger camp in the works—while its local chapters help organize hundreds of trips, trainings, social events, and educational programs each year. In addition, AMC works closely with area educators to help introduce young people to the outdoors and brings decades of experience and a strong track record of successful advocacy work to protect important outdoor spaces in the region.

About New York State's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 79.5 million visits in 2022. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

About The Natural Heritage Trust

The Natural Heritage Trust is a non-profit, public-benefit corporation with the mission to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation and historic preservation purposes of the State of New York. The NHT accomplishes its mission by accepting donations, raising funds, and through cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of State (DOS). For more information visit

About the Palisades Interstate Park Commission

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) was created by Governors Theodore Roosevelt of New York and Foster Voorhees of New Jersey in 1900, to protect the Hudson River Palisades from destruction at the hands of quarry operations that dotted the Hudson River shoreline in Rockland County NY and Bergen County NJ. As the nation's first bi-state partnership established to protect and conserve lands, the Commission's role expanded to incorporate the Palisades Region of New York State Parks and create the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Today, PIPC has jurisdiction over 21 State parks and eight historic sites including Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Harriman State Park, and Bear Mountain State Park. These parks comprise more than 125,000 acres and receive millions of visitors annually.