Memorial Day Brings Families and Friends Together in State Parks


ENFIELD, NY (WSKG) – Memorial Day brought friends and families together in state parks across the Southern Tier. People were encouraged to gather in groups of ten or less and follow social distancing guidelines.

Psychologist Ashley Zapata and her three children visited Robert Treman State Park in Tompkins County with a friend from Washington, D.C.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

Ashley Zapata with her three children and a friend visited state parks over the long Memorial Day weekend. (Celia Clarke/WSKG)

“It’s a beautiful day, we’re not stuck in the house, you know, driving each other bonkers,” Zapata said. “It’s just really nice to get out into nature and to just run around.”

Zapata has been working full-time providing mental health care for Cornell students. She said the holiday weekend was the first time she’s brought her children out to a park to run around since the shelter in place orders started because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Memorial Day weekend was also the first time Laurie Norelle has seen her grandsons in person since early February. They live in Buffalo.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

Laurie Norelle with her son and grandsons at Cayuga Lake in Taughannock Falls State Park in Trumansburg, NY (Celia Clarke/WSKG)

They arrived at Taughannock Falls State Park in their boat. The park runs along Cayuga Lake.

“This is the first time we’ve really considered getting together as a family and it’s because we’ve been quarantined, we’ve stayed safe,” Norelle said. “We know they’ve stayed safe. We’re all working remotely and since it was the first nice weekend we wanted to get together.”

The family has spent a lot of time on Zoom together, but, for Norelle, it’s no substitute for being together. She said they would not have risked visiting if state officials hadn’t said it was okay to do it.

Norelle and her husband live in Tioga County. The county is part of the Southern Tier Region which was one of the first to start Phase One of reopening on May 15.