Parks - FAQs

How much does it cost to enter a Broome County Park?

All Broome County Parks facilities are open free of charge.

When do the Parks open and close for the year? What are the daily hours?

Broome County Parks are open year-round! Parks open at 8:00am and close at dusk. Waterfront activities (Greenwood Park, Nathaniel Cole Park, and Dorchester Park) begin Memorial Day weekend in May, and close on Labor Day in September, but the Parks remain open after the summer has ended, for walking, biking, birding, picnicking, playing, and more. With enough snow, cross-country skiing opens at Greenwood Park.  Ice fishing is permitted at Greenwood, Dorchester, and Nathaniel Cole Park.

Are all of the parks in Broome County "Broome County Parks"?

We are fortunate to have so many parks within Broome County, but most of them are not "Broome County Parks". The parks which are administered by the Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services are Nathaniel Cole Park, Otsiningo Park, Hawkins Pond Nature Area, Aqua Terra Wilderness Area, Dorchester Park, Greenwood Park, Roundtop Picnic Area and Grippen Park. Other parks are under the administration of other municipalities, such as New York State (Chenango Valley State Park), the City of Binghamton, Village of Johnson City, Town of Union, Town of Vestal, and others.

How do I reserve a picnic shelter?

Shelters are available to be reserved at Greenwood Park, Nathaniel Cole Park, Grippen Park, Dorchester Park, Otsiningo Park, Roundtop Picnic Area, and Hawkins Pond Nature Area, as much as 13 months ahead.  Shelters are rented by the day, $100 per day on weekends and holidays, $30 per day on non-holiday weekdays plus a one time $5 reservation fee. Go to to reserve your shelter online (you may need to select "Group Camp Electric" for a picnic shelter reservation), or call 607.778.2193.

I'm planning a group gathering at the park, but I don't want to reserve a picnic shelter. Is there anything I need to do?

Groups of more than 25 people will be admitted by permit only if you are reserving a picnic shelter for your group, you won't need a separate Group Permit. Group Permits are free, and may be obtained by calling 607.778.2193. A Group Permit does not provide any special privileges with regard to parking, picnic tables, grills, or other park facilities. Unreserved picnic shelters are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

Are there rules regarding sound systems, public address systems, DJs, or karaoke at the Parks?

The use of any of these or any similar equipment is prohibited unless specifically permitted by The Director of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services in extenuating circumstances.

Are dogs allowed in the Parks? What about other kinds of animals?

Dogs are allowed in all parks. Dogs must be kept on a leash, no longer than 8 ft in length, at all times when in the park, and proof of rabies vaccination must be available. Dogs must not be left unaccompanied, and owners must clean up after their pets. Dogs are not permitted on the beach; there are no swimming areas for dogs or other pets at Broome County Parks.

Cats or other domesticated pets are permitted, with the same regulations. Horses or other kinds of farm animals are not permitted in the Parks.

Are ATVs, dirt bikes, etc. permitted in the park?

No, vehicles such as these are not permitted on the trails.

Are there concessions available in the Parks?

Concession stands, selling hot dogs, beverages, ice cream, bagged ice, and snacks, are open at Nathaniel Cole and Greenwood Parks, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Greenwood Park also maintains a camp store at the Campgrounds, selling items such as firewood, lighter fluid, charcoal, marshmallows, ice, dish soap, napkins, rain ponchos, ice cream, and more.

 When are the beaches open?

Beaches are usually open at Nathaniel Cole, Dorchester and Greenwood Parks, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 11AM to 7:30PM.  For your safety, the beaches will be closed during thunderstorms (lightning seen or thunder heard) or at any time that staffing or other conditions do not allow for safe beach coverage. Hours are subject to change at any time, especially on inclement days. The beaches generally close earlier from approximately mid-August to Labor Day, as sunset occurs earlier in the evening.

Are there any swimming rules I should know

For everyone's safety and enjoyment, we ask that all follow a few rules, summarized below. For more complete information, please call 607.778.2193.

  • Children under the age of 10 must be closely supervised at the beach by a responsible person at least 16 years of age at all times.
  • Surfboards, "boogieboards", swim flippers, and floatation devices such as "noodles" or "swimmies" are not permitted.
  • Specially-designed (close-fitting, quick-drying) swim shirts are permitted; street clothing or swimsuit cover-ups may be worn in non-swimmer section only.
  • Diapers must be those specifically designed for swimming.

We would like to use an athletic field.

Soccer, softball and volleyball courts are available at Otsiningo and Nathaniel Cole Parks on a first-come, first-served basis if not reserved. If you wish to reserve exclusive use of a field,  call 607.778.2193; a per-day fee is charged for this exclusive use. Reservations may be made beginning on the first business day in March of each year, for use April-October of the same year.

Where can I go camping?

Campsites are available at Greenwood Park. Sites can be reserved at, or by calling 607.778.2193. Fees apply. Reservations are required. Those who arrive without reservations are welcomed, as space permits, and a reservation will be made for you upon arrival. A $5 reservation fee is applied for all reservations, whether made in advance or upon arrival. Advance reservations are strongly recommended, especially for weekend dates. For more information about camping at Greenwood Park, click here.

Organized youth groups(Scouts, etc) may camp in rustic Youth Group Campground areas at Nathaniel Cole, Dorchester or Greenwood Park. Call 607.778.2193 to check availability and to obtain a group permit. Please call at least one week in advance of your preferred date.

Where can I go cross-country skiing?

Cross-country skiing opens at Greenwood Park when sufficient snow covers the wooded trails. Rental skis are available at Greenwood, or, you may bring your own and pay only a trail-use fee. Hawkins Pond Nature Area features ungroomed ski trails; rentals are not available.

 Is smoking permitted? How about alcohol? 

Smoking of any kind is permitted in parking lots only, and at the campground at Greenwood Park. Responsible alcohol use is permitted at Broome County Parks except Otsiningo Park; no alcohol use is permitted at Otsiningo.

May I use my metal detector at a Broome County Park?

Metal detectors may be used, but certain guidelines must be followed. Additional information and the required permit (free of charge) may be obtained at the Broome County Parks' Main Office, 60 Hawley St, 5th Floor, Binghamton, NY. Call 607.778.2193.

I have a question that I don't see answered here.

Please call Broome County Parks, Recreation, and Youth Services at 607.778.2193 during normal business hours. You may also be able to find an answer by clicking on the specific park on the menu on the right.