Summary 

The natural, ecological, historic, cultural and recreational resources under the jurisdiction of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) are integral components of the state's environment and contribute substantially to the quality of that environment and to the quality of our lives. The mission of OPRHP is to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources. 

OPRHP recognizes that plastic product pollution causes significant environmental harm, poses a health hazard to human, wild and marine life, and creates an aesthetic blight in New York State parks and historic sites (OPRHP Facilities). This policy bans the sale and distribution of single-use plastic bags, straws, stirrers, portion control packets (e.g., condiment packets), and polystyrene at all OPRHP Facilities, and describes educational efforts intended to encourage park patrons to reduce plastic product pollution. 

Policy 

The goal of this policy is to reduce plastic pollution in OPRHP Facilities. This ban applies to concessionaires, private nonprofit and for-profit partners, and OPRHP operations (referred to collectively as “vendors”). 

  • • Vendors are restricted from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. “Plastic Bags” means all single-use plastic carry-out bags provided to customers at the point of sale. This prohibition does not include: (a) reusable bags that are not made of plastic film; (b) single-use bags that are made of compostable materials; or (c) operational-type plastic bags such as trash and garbage bags, etc. 

  • • Vendors are restricted from providing plastic straws to customers, except upon special request to those with special needs for whom plastic straws are important for ease of drinking. Non-plastic and compostable straws may be provided at vendors’ discretion. 

  • • Vendors are restricted from providing plastic stirrers to customers. Non-plastic or compostable stirrers may be provided at vendors’ discretion. 

  • • Vendors are restricted from providing plastic condiment portion control packets to customers. Condiments may be provided in bulk packaging or dispensers at vendors’ discretion. 

  • • Vendors are restricted from providing any polystyrene to customers, as previously established in OPRHP policy. 


This policy does not restrict patrons from bringing single-use plastic products into OPHRP Facilities. However, park patrons can play a role in reducing plastic product pollution by not bringing single-use plastic products into parks or historic sites and by removing any single-use plastic products that they do bring into OPRHP Facilities. Through social media, website and appropriate signage, OPHRP will encourage patrons to utilize reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials in lieu of single-use plastics, and to carry out and appropriately dispose of any single-use plastic products that they do bring into OPRHP Facilities. 

This policy will result in a cleaner, more sustainable park system. Moving forward, OPRHP will continue its efforts to responsibly reduce plastic pollution as additional reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable options become available.