A nature trail in Floyd Bennett Field. Photo: edenpictures / Creative Commons.
An old airport used by Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes is set to become the largest urban campground in the United States -- in the middle of Brooklyn, New York. Parks officials hope to capitalize on the "staycation" trend of taking budget-friendly trips close to home, and to draw new campers with little experience in the great outdoors."We want to make New York the leading example of what we can do around the country with urban parks," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said this week in announcing plans for the campground and other parks in the New York area. According to NBC New York, the old airfield, currently home to just five basic campsites, will eventually contain 600 places to pitch a tent.
Free Camping Workshops For Urban Dwellers
The first municipal airport in New York and then a busy Naval Air Station during World War II, Floyd Bennett Field already gives urban dwellers the chance to cycle on its old runways, bird watch for falcons or kestrels on its restored grasslands, or get their hands dirty in Brooklyn's largest community garden.
Staff with the Gateway National Recreation Area, of which the airfield is a part, "will host free camping workshops this summer tailored to multi-generational families" in order to encourage people who might not have thought about camping before to visit the park, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Plans are also in the works to improve transit access to the site.
Not everyone is convinced. "When I think of New York, I think bright lights and excitement," one tourist told the newspaper. But officials are optimistic that plenty of people will want to trade a few nights out on the town for some nights under the stars.
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