Thacher Park is on official closure list

thacher park indian ladder trail lower

No more walks on the Indian Ladder trail?

The state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation just released a "recommended list of closures and service reductions."

As rumored, Thacher Park is on the list -- and it's slated for closure. Eight other parks and sites in the greater Capital Region are also on the list.

The full Capital Region list -- and more info -- after the jump...

Note: the Victoria Pool at Spa State Park is not on this list, as had been rumored. Nor is Grafton Lake State Park.

Also: the list recommends closing the Olana State Historic Site in Columbia County two days a week. (earlier on AOA)

As late as this week, the state parks office had said that no list "has been established." [Troy Record]

Since word got out about the possible closure of Thacher Park, at least three Facebook pages (and a Twitter feed) have popped up to rally support. One of them has more than 23,000 fans. There's also now an online petition.

A rally at the Capitol is apparently in the works for March 3. (We'll update with details.)

As James and komradebob pointed out in comments earlier this week, it's hard to tell what "closing" Thacher Park would entail -- there are trails that run through the park from multiple points and a county road that runs through the middle of it.

The state parks office says 41 parks and 14 historic sites are slated for closure -- with "service reductions" at 23 other parks and one site. The office also released a statement from the parks commissioner Carol Ash:

"The 2010-11 Executive Budget included reductions to every area of State spending. As such, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has today put forward proposed closures and service reductions to meet its agency savings target. These actions were not recommended lightly, but they are necessary to address our State's extraordinary fiscal difficulties."

Earlier on AOA: The campaign for Thacher Park

photo: Kathie Dello


This is a real tragedy. What does it mean for the future of the land, exactly?

If a park is closed, is it closed for good- with no plan for reopening? When will all this go down?

*rolls up sleeves* How do we stop this?

Is it me and my paranoia, or do other people think that Paterson allowed Thacher to be on the list as it resides within the "Planet Albany" area?

I mean, I've been to Bethpage and other parks with golf course "reductions" on the list, they ain't that great looking...

This is beyond comprehension. Where did this list even come from? How did they end up specifically targeting these parks without any opportunity for public comment?

I wonder what will happen to the Long Path sections that run through the park. Having grown up in this area, this is frustrating. NYS and local big business is spending oodles of money trying to create jobs for our college graduates so as to keep the talent in the Capital District. Parks like this are one of the few things left keeping them here!

So...parks in Saratoga County (the richest and healthiest county in the area) are unaffected.

I've never understood the rationale behind decisions like this. In a national recession, why close what attracts tourists to our area? Why close what families count on as inexpensive ways to spend summer days with their families, hiking and picnicing? Parks like Thacher are what make upstate home to many of us. What 'list' can we expect next month or next year to be targeted by Albany? High state gas taxes and tolls have already caused tourism in NY to decline. The closing of these state & national treasures will surely be the "nail in the coffin."

What do we elect these representatives to do? The only ways that our politicians have come up with to handle our financial crisis is to raise taxes and take away our parks, the cost of which ultimately amounts to a drop in the bucket of the larger financial picture.

As someone who can see the dumpy, fugly Peebles Island from her house [cue Sarah Palin accent,] I'd seriously be willing to trade that POS for Thatcher Park or the Schuyler Mansion any day. Seriously, sell it for development/firewood/whatever. Really, why did they make it a state park in the first place? Have you *seen* Peebles Island lately? The only thing it looks like it'd be good for is dumping a dead body. Nobody'd want to go there in order to find it.

This completely breaks my heart.

As a park employee, I am sad for all of my coworkers (and likely me!) who will lose their jobs and who have worked hard to make their parks such special places. I've learned about all of this from the paper so have no more information than anyone else, but I don't think the state is planning on selling any of the land. I hope that friends groups and volunteers are able to open these parks so that the public might still be able to use the land. Who knows what will happen...a lot can change before the budget passes.

Kim...I am sorry that you don't see the beauty in Peebles Island. I love to walk the trails and see signs of all the resident animals here (and I feel so lucky when I am able to see some of them!) It is such a special thing to be able to sit at a picnic table along the Mohawk and watch a bald eagle soar overhead or see the wild blueberries and columbine bloom in the spring and summer or experience the complete calm of snoeshowing here after a heavy snowstorm.

All of the sites listed above are special places, and I wouldn't necessarily put any more value on one over another as others are quick to do. I can only guess at why some were chosen to close and not others. It is unfortunate that any have to close, but I guess for now we have to wait and see what will ultimately happen. With any luck, any closures will be temporary. (Is my head in the clouds? Maybe...)

@ph: The cynic in me wants to say that parks and the like get put on closure lists so the politicians can say 'Look, we are trying to do something to save money, but ok, we'll keep them open to make you happy. Just don't blame us for the deficit or for raising park fees.'

Seriously, how much money was going to be 'saved' here? It's not like they are going to _actually_ lay off park police or any other state employees if they close the parks.

There is plenty of waste in the state budget. But trimming the fat means somebody's sacred cow is going to get the axe. Who has the least pull?

Kim, I completely disagree with you about Peebles Island. I don't know what you are looking for in a park or what about this one would inspire such venom!

It doesn't have a pool and is largely undeveloped, but it has lots of wild life, beautiful views, interesting trails, and a nice pavilion. I am really glad it was not on the hit list.

So, when they close a park, do they put up "No Trespassing" signs and keep people off the land? I'm not sure how that saves money.

Go New York Times! Now I really WANT to see them serve up a coup de grâce that will force this man from office.

Please sign the petition we have going to save this park! This place is timeless and we can't let the bureaucrats take this from us. I spent the first 18 years of my life in the Capital District and went there every chance I had, now when I visit it's one of the places I always go to remind me of the beauty of NY. New York's political scene is the reason I vacated the state, and I'm not going to lie down while they continue to strip the good people of NY of their coveted natural wonders! Please sign the petition, there's already 4,400 people who have since I created it 2 days ago and if we send the 50,000 + signatures they'll have no choice but to rethink what they're trying to do. Thank you, and I will continue fighting for all of you!

Right on, Jon D. (re: keeping talent in the Capital Region) and KM (re: $aratoga getting spared)!

I am outraged that so many parks n recreational areas thoroughout nys are threatened with closures. I have raised my sons to enjoy n appreciate the parks. Retired, I spend much of my time in the parks and enjoy them just as much now as before. So many NY'ers appreciate the outdoors in the parks to destress. Now more then ever we need our parks during these difficult times. Of course, those few deciding the fates of so many will not actually be affected, they probably don't use or appreciate the parks like the common folk. So they don't really care. They take the parks from us--we take the votes from them. sadly ---joann

I took my son to Peebles Island and we had a great time. He got to see all sorts of wildlife, from deer to toads. We probably saw 10-15 different kinds of animals. There was also a nice lookout area and pavilion where we brought a picnic lunch.

Aside from that, isn't Patterson Mr. Fitness? Kids need to get outside and move around, and all that. Hard to do that when you are closing the few close free places for city kids from Albany to explore.

From the 2-5-10 Thoroughbred Times: "NYRA says it needs $30-million from state to survive" so lets close the race track and re-open everything else!

What's going to happen to the historic sites when they are closed? Will they be maintained? Schuyler Mansion is in the city of Albany, boarding up a historic site is the last thing we need here. What are we telling kids when we do that? Our history isn't important? That Albany wasn't that important before the stupid Plaza was built?

Spent the weekend at a B&B called Point Au Roche Lodge just outside of Plattsburgh. It sits right across the street from the entrance to Point Au Roche State Park on Lake Champlain, which is also on the chopping block. Needless to say, they're not happy up there either.

Our parks managed to stay open during the Great Depression of the 1930's, are we so worse off that history and culture are having to be locked away? Gov Patterson, I wouldn't vote for you if yours was the only name in the voting machine.

The govt wants to close parks to save money how about cutting govt wasteful spendiing and reducing govt for even more savings. Parks bring in money to our area what do our politicians do to bring in revenue nothing!!!!

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