Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

March 08, 2006

For Release: Immediate
Press Office:
Wendy Gibson
Cathy Jimenez

State Parks Announces Revitalization Project At Thacher Park

$3 Million Comprehensive Rehabilitation Underway at Pool Complex

(ALBANY, NY, March 8, 2006 ...) New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Bernadette Castro today announced plans for a comprehensive $3 million rehabilitation of the pool complex at John Boyd Thacher State Park in Voorheesville, including design of a new pool area and bathhouse.

"At State Parks we are committed to preserving open space, expanding services at our public facilities and providing quality recreation for the millions of visitors to our facilities each year," said Commissioner Castro. "The pool at John Boyd Thacher State Park has been one of the region's premier swimming destinations for over 50 years. This improvement project will provide exciting, new features and amenities to create a this state of the art facility and will allow Thacher Park to continue serving our patrons in the Capital District far into the future."

The pool complex at John Boyd Thacher State Park was constructed in 1953 and quickly became a popular swimming attraction. The rehabilitation project at the pool will include new facilities and upgrades to structural and mechanical systems to meet current code requirements. The pool area will be designed to include a new "zero depth" entry pool. This pool will fit within the shell of the existing main pool, meet ADA access requirements and accommodate the learn-to-swim program as well as general swimming. A slide pool and interactive water play area will also be designed. New landscaping, shades structures and seating areas will surround the pool complex.

A new bathhouse will also be designed and constructed to include locker rooms with restroom facilities and changing areas; patron entrance area; lifeguard room with restroom facilities and lockers; first aid room; and restrooms that are accessible to patrons who are outside the pool area.

The pool will remain closed for the 2006 season and throughout the course of the extensive rehabilitation project. New York State Parks has received a $1.5 million federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant to undertake reconstruction of the Thacher Park pool.

Created in 1964, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund shares the revenues from coastal non-renewable resources with state and local governments for the establishment of permanent recreational facilities. Since inception of the fund nearly four decades ago, more than $200 million has been invested for 1,100 local and state projects across New York. The state-side funding was eliminated in 1996, but in 1998, Governor Pataki created the Empire State Task Force for LWCF to increase public awareness and to support Congressional efforts to reestablish the state-side funding. Most recently, LWCF supported grants of $3.2 million to 21 municipalities and another $3.2 million for 15 state parks projects.

Thacher Park, visited by nearly 300,000 patrons each year, is situated along the Helderberg escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world. The park offers picnic shelters, baseball fields, volleyball courts, playgrounds and miles of trails for hiking and biking as well as interpretive programs and guided walks. An 1,800 acre portion of John Boyd Thacher State Park and nearby Thompson's Lake State Park have been designated as a Bird Conservation Area to provide for the protection of birds and enhancement of bird habitat. In 2004 the state acquired 586 acres from the Open Space Institute and Nature Conservancy with support from the Environmental Protection Fund, increasing the size of the park to 1,934 acres.

Thompson's Lake State Park, located four miles from the Helderberg escarpment, offers swimming, camping, picnic areas, boat launch and rentals, fishing areas, nature trails, playgrounds, and interpretive programs.

The Emma Treadwell Nature Center opened at Thompson's Lake State Park in July 2001 as a result of a generous gift from the Schroeder family. The Nature Center is located at the northern end of Thompson's Lake; an area dominated by diverse lake, wetland, forest and field ecosystems. The facility provides activities and interpretive opportunities for visitors to interact with the natural environment of the Helderbergs and learn about resource protection in the area.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 172 state parks, 35 state historic sites, 27 golf courses, 76 beaches, 53 pools and more than 9,000 campsites and cabins.