Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 05, 2014

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868

Casey McNulty
(518) 402-3130

New York State Partnership with The North Face® Helps Foster Families Connect with the Outdoors

Initiative provided camping adventures for more than 100 families, nearly twice as many as in 2013

More than 100 of New York's foster families took the opportunity to explore the outdoors and enjoy overnight camping adventures this summer with the help of a partnership between the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks), the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and The North Face®'s Explore Your Parks program. The initiative, piloted in 2013, offered gift cards for a free two-night stay at any State Park campground on a first-come, first-serve basis to registered foster families new to camping or looking to re-connect with nature. The number of participating families nearly doubled this year, up from 53 in 2013.

"Finding new ways to connect visitors with parks is always a goal," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "I am so pleased that with The North Face's continued support, our agencies were able to assist even more children and families this year in creating fun memories while enjoying nature and the health benefits of spending time outdoors."

"Foster families play an essential role in providing temporary, safe, and nurturing homes to children when their parents are unable to care for them," said OCFS Acting Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. "Finding activities that encourage and further a bond between foster family members is important to their permanency and stability. This initiative gives something back to the generous families who give children homes, and provides a moment to make memories they will treasure for years to come."

"This is a great way for families and first-time campers to get out and enjoy camping without the trepidation that comes with trying something new," said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. "The Explore Your Parks program is working to break down those barriers that keep people from getting outside and enjoying the state parks that belong to all of us."

Along with the gift card, participating foster families received from State Parks a special camping experience package with camping tips, a knapsack, and customized information about outdoor programs, trail maps, events and family-friendly activities. Participants who shared memories from their trip by submitting written accounts or photos were entered in a random drawing to win a full North Face camping equipment package, including a tent, sleeping bags, camping chairs, cook stove, and other outdoor accessories, all compliments of North Face. The Bouchard Family of Fairport, N.Y. were the winners of this year's prize package.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintains and operates 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call (518) 474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow @NYstateparks on Twitter.

The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of children, families and communities. For more information, visit, "like" the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page, or follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter.

Since 2010, The North Face has provided community events, free activity guide booklets, park passes and camping discounts to the public through its Explore Your Parks program. It now reaches 12 markets nationwide, and currently partners with the Chicago Park District and state park agencies in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Visit for more details.