Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Your Environment Podcast

On this months’s Your Environment podcast, OSI’s Erik Kulleseid, the executive director of OSI’s Alliance for New York State Parks, speaks about a celebrated park not far from Albany—in the heart of the Helderberg Escarpment. Every Friday, listen to Your Environment on the Mid-Hudson News website:

Erik Kulleseid on the Environment Podcast Header


March 7, 2014 —Today, I’ll be speaking about a celebrated park not far from Albany—in the heart of the Helderberg Escarpment. In June, the New York State Office of Parks broke ground on an exciting new project at John Boyd Thacher State Park: A new, $3.8 million park visitor center that will provide a much-needed anchor for guests of all ages.

Calling Thacher “a true gem for the Capital Region,” Governor Cuomo has hailed the center as a “new setting for visitors to gather, learn, and enjoy the park’s panoramic views of Hudson Valley, Adirondacks, Green and Berkshire Mountains.” 

Thacher Park, visited by more than 300,000 people every year, sits at the top of the Helderberg escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world, and features miles of hiking and biking trails. The park, which has been a favorite family destination for generations of capital district residents, has lacked a central location for visitors to learn about the park’s history and recreational offerings.

The center’s groundbreaking also kicked off the Campaign for Thacher Park Center, a private component of the project that add value and enrichment to the new building. This private fundraising campaign will support state-of-the-art exhibit installations highlighting the park’s unique geology, natural history and spectacular scenery, and provide inviting common areas and gathering spaces.   

Spearheaded by the Open Space Institute, the Campaign for the Thacher Park Center has raised roughly $500,000 toward a $1 million fundraising goal, including a $220,000 grant through the Capital Region Economic Development Council and a $50,000 gift from Trustco Bank.

The park center is a project many years in the making for this growing park. The center, to be set next to the trailhead and picnic area for the popular Indian Ladder Trail, will introduce visitors to new park features, including an expanded trail network, as well as new opportunities for biking, rock climbing, caving, environmental education—not to mention a brand-new adventure course.

The year-round Thacher Park Visitor Center will include:

  • A welcome station to help visitors explore the park’s expansive trail network and other features;
  • An exhibit area to highlight the park’s fossil-rich geological history;
  • A multipurpose gathering space that can be reserved for meetings and special events such as family reunions; 
  • Public restrooms and park offices; and
  • An outdoor patio overlooking the escarpment where visitors can take in the park’s dramatic views.

Thacher Park Center is among the many state parks throughout New York built on philanthropy and public-private partnerships. Together we can keep this tradition of community park support thriving in the Hudson Valley. To learn more about the project or to make a donation to the campaign, please visit: 


Stream and listen to Erik on the Your Environment podcast.
























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