Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 10, 2014

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868

John Boyd Thacher State Park Celebrates 100 Years

Centennial Festival Planned for Saturday, September 13

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Thacher State Park, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, together with the Friends of Thacher State Park, invites the public to attend a day of celebration and festivities at the park on Saturday, September 13th.

"The great Helderberg Escarpment, one of New York State's defining landscapes, has been a source of wonder and discovery for countless visitors over the last century," said New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "With great foresight and generosity, John Boyd Thacher ensured that the escarpment would be protected and preserved, and New York State now proudly owns 2400 acres of land at the park for the public to enjoy. And there is much to look forward to as we plan for the future of the park with a bold vision that includes expanded recreational opportunities, new visitor amenities and facilities, and exciting capital improvement projects funded by Governor Andrew Cuomo's NY Works initiative, which is revitalizing our state park system for a new generation of park visitors."

On September 14th, 1914, Emma Treadwell Thacher joined Governor Martin Glynn and over 1,000 other attendees to formally dedicate 350 acres of the Helderberg Escarpment in memory of her late husband, John Boyd Thacher. Over the last century, the park has grown to include not only spectacular vistas of the Hudson Valley, Green Mountains and the foothills of the Adirondacks at the Overlook but also 25 miles of trails for hiking, skiing, biking and snowmobiling; 9 picnic pavilions for the public to enjoy; the historic Indian Ladder Trail; the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, built with a generous donation from Fred and Martha Schroeder; and the campground on the shores of Thompson's Lake. The park continues to draw people from around the world to study the Helderbergs' unique and significant geological features.

"The Friends of Thacher State Park are delighted to be a part of this wonderful event," said John Kilroy, President of the Friends of Thacher State Park. "Through our funding efforts, bus-loads of school children have been able to come to the park for educational programs and recreation. This was part of the vision of Emma Treadwell Thacher in donating the original parcel of land as a resource for the people of New York State. We will continue to ensure that school children will be able to come to the park for education and enjoyment into the park's second century."

The Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 13th will run from 10am to 7pm. This free event will feature a variety of activities, including live birds of prey show, guided hikes to Tory and Hailes Caves, live music from Oobleck and Hair of the Dog, kids' activities and outdoor workshops conducted by L.L. Bean. A ceremony will be held at Thacher Point, the site of the original dedication, at 11:00am. For more information, visit

The park will also host an all-trail running festival in partnership with the Albany Running Exchange Event Productions, starting at 8:30am with race distances ranging from a 50K to 5K. Proceeds from the event will benefit the park. For more information about the Centennial Running Festival, visit

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.