The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced that nearly 43.7 million people visited state parks and historic sites from Jan. 1 through the last weekend of August – a 2.3 million increase in visits over 2011, WKTV-TV, Utica, reported.

“It is gratifying that so many people continue to enjoy and appreciate the New York state park system year after year,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “New Yorkers are fortunate to have such high-quality and inviting state parks and historic sites across the state, and we hope to see even more visitors have fun at their parks this Labor Day weekend.”

Harvey attributed the 5.6 percent increase in visits to great weather as well as a number of well-attended events, including the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Air Show at Jones Beach, a string of sold-out concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk across Niagara Falls in June.

The park system is expecting a busy Labor Day weekend, with over 90 percent of the system’s campsites booked in advance and one last opportunity to enjoy swimming pools and beaches.

“We’ve had a tremendous season so far and we hope that our visitors enjoyed their time swimming, camping, golfing, hiking and sightseeing at our parks and historic sites,” said Harvey said. “But the year is far from over and fall is one of the best times to get outside in New York. We look forward to welcoming millions more visitors to our properties for fall camping, leaf peeping festivals, historical reenactments and more.”