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
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
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.
year-round Thacher Park Visitor Center will include:
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;
restrooms and park offices; and
outdoor patio overlooking the escarpment where visitors can take in the
park’s dramatic views.
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: www.thacherparkcenter.org
Stream and listen to Erik on the Your Environment podcast.