A record 78 million visits were made to New York parks in 2020, marking an overall 34% increase over the last decade, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said on Tuesday. 

The visits came as the COVID-19 pandemic restriction mass gatherings in public and limited travel plans for New Yorkers, making parks one of the few activities available during the public health crisis. 

The visits include stops at parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails. There has been a steady increase in visitations to the facilities since 2011, increasing by 20 million visitors since that time. 

Meanwhile, the state is completing work on a 750-mile Empire State Trail connecting various bike trails, hiking trails and walking paths around the state.

"In 2020, our State parks became an even more critical resource than before as New Yorkers sought safe places for solace, exercise and relief from the pandemic," Cuomo said. 

"New York remains fully committed to the continued modernization of our parks system, and with the recent completion of the 750-mile Empire State Trail, we are ensuring New Yorkers and visitors alike, have unparalleled recreational opportunities, especially during these unprecedented times."