Thacher Park (barely) Open

My favorite picnic spot at Thacher Park was quiet and uncrowded on Saturday. That’s because it was closed.

Several of the park’s roads and parking areas were barricaded, blocking access to many of the picnic areas, fields, and special spots that make Thacher Park a local treasure. The ground was strewn with broken tree limbs and branches, the sort of stuff that would normally be removed during routine clean-up.

We were able to park in the Hop Field area and managed to find a picnic table and grill that weren’t broken. It was important to be extra careful with our charcoal cooking fire, because the ground was carpeted with piles of dried leaves and pine needles.

The rest rooms? Locked. Not a big problem for me and the boys, but it’s something my wife finds inconvenient. Without going into detail, it appears that the area behind the bathrooms is being used as an open air latrine.

The State Senate and Assembly have proposed restoring enough funding to keep Thacher Park open, but as detailed in this statement from Parks Commissioner Carol Ash, funding cuts will mean a crippling reduction in services.

Depressing? Shameful? Disgraceful? Take your pick, they all apply.

13 thoughts on “Thacher Park (barely) Open

  1. Ugh! Don’t even get me started. This is why we need entirely new leadership. I guess they will have to re-film some of those “I love NY” ads that feature our state parks.

  2. If gov Paterson really wanted to do something for NY state, he could right a check from his campaign funds to pay for this years park expenses.

    That will happen right after the Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz fly out of my…… closet.

  3. What you need to remember is that the parks are for public use, and NYS politicians haven’t figured out a way to extort $$$ for keeping them open. My idea,,,, turn the parks over to Pedro Espada, and watch the money roll in. (and back out of course). The only real way the parks are going to survive is if a highly paid lobbying group is engaged.

  4. I guess I don’t really understand why they can’t just remove all signs of government from the park and let it be. I’m willing to bet that enough people care about it that there could be a volunteer clean-up every spring, we can all learn how to go without bathrooms and metals grills, and naturalize the space so that it doesn’t matter what funds do or don’t get put into it. I’ve always loved Thatcher Park for it’s open air, trails, views, wildlife, and being able to get away from society for a little while. That can all remain without government involvement or funding. We wouldn’t have the amenities we’re used to, and it would be “hike at your own risk,” but at least it’s still accessible. I walked a couple of the trails a little bit on Saturday as well, past the blocking signs, and it wasn’t a big deal at all. Yeah it’s a shame and depressing and despicable that NYS will add a million dollar skylight to the capitol building but won’t fund our parks enough to keep them running. But since we can’t change the politics, at least we can still enjoy nature without their money. That’s just my opinion though, and I’m no environmentalist, lawyer, or politician…so I’m sure it won’t matter.

  5. I wonder…Is the snack bar going to open?? This beautiful park will become a wasteland….or worse….It could be sold and turned into condo’s…Why can’t the town take it over….I mean what a waste !! BUMMER.

  6. Time to vote our true beliefs and get a government that actually serves us rather than themselves. In the meantime, why not create work parties of interested citizens and clean up the overlook trail? The large fallen branches are the most obvious hazard on the trail and a few people with a chain saw and chipper could take care of them in a weekend or two. Regarding the open air latrine, that will quickly become a health hazard if it continues. I would like to hear people in the know comment on what can be done to alleviate this problem until the park is reopened.

  7. I would be pleased to help clear out the trails and pick up. Where do we put the cut limbs? Please give me the address of the nearest state politician. Perhaps we can dump them in the entrance to the Governor’s Mansion?

    I’m really at a loss for G-rated things to write about this situation, it really makes me angry.

  8. Hey Rob, any ideas on how to start up a group of volunteer citizens willing to do the clean-up and help take care of the park? Not that our government will listen to us since it doesn’t involve $$$, but it’s worth a shot isn’t it?

  9. I know that I am in the minority, but I really do feel that all state and national parks, museums, etc should have user fees and be self-sustaining.

  10. “Joyous noise at Thacher sites” – from the 5/13/10 TU online.

    Does that noise include all the Harley-Davidsons with no mufflers that flock to the park and make it a noisy mess every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the people that live along the roads leading to the park?

    I know – bikers these days are responsible, professional people and not the stereotypical outlaws. Resposible and professional up to the point where they have zero consideration for anyone else and tune their bikes to be as loud as possible.

    See the NYS V&T Law, Title 3, Article 10, Par. 386 D for more info.

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