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Pair of Saratoga area state parks to see improvements

Signs, playgrounds for Spa; Moreau Lake to expand

Friday, April 26, 2013
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Work continues Friday on a new playground at Saratoga Spa State Park.
Work continues Friday on a new playground at Saratoga Spa State Park.

— Improvements to Saratoga Spa State Park and the expansion of Moreau Lake State Park were announced Friday by state officials.

Visitors will soon see new signs, with a masonry base and an illuminated message area, at the main entrances to Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs. The two signs, which will be 27 feet long and about 12 feet high, are part of a $296,000 package of six new signs at all park entrances, according to park officials.

Park Manager Michael Greenslade said work has started on the signs and will be completed after materials that have been ordered arrive in the near future.

A new playground is also being built in the Geyser Picnic Area and another playground will be started next month in the Hathorn Pavilion area, Greenslade said.

The state park system is also installing a pedestrian-activated traffic light on Ballston Avenue that will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to cross from a new extension of the Railroad Run Trail to trails in the park. Kurt Kress, capital facilities manager for the Saratoga-Capital District state parks region, said Callanan Industries Inc. will start erecting the $181,000 traffic signal next week.

The traffic signal will blink yellow until a pedestrian or bike rider presses a button, which will turn the signal red to allow a safe crossing.

At Moreau Lake State Park in northern Saratoga County, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced Friday that 200 acres have been added, bringing it to a total of 4,500 acres. Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a statement that the added land will expand popular hiking opportunities in the Adirondack foothills and preserve open space in fast-growing Saratoga County.

She also announced that work has been completed on a new pavilion and outdoor classroom near the park’s nature center.

The additional acreage is located on the southern edge of the park, expanding its protection of the forested higher elevation ridge known as the Palmertown Range. Preservation of the range is listed as a priority under the New York State Open Space Plan, and will contribute to a planned long-distance Palmertown Ridge Trail.

The pavilion will enable school groups to participate in outdoor programming under cover, and will be available for public rental for picnics and special events, Harvey said.

The pavilion is part of a $550,000 contract that also includes rebuilding the campground Loop A comfort station, under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Works initiative.

Last year, the park’s aging campground roads were repaved, and sustainable improvements were made to the beachfront parking area through New York Works. Cuomo has committed $179 million in total — $90 million in 2013-14 and $89 million in 2012-13 — through New York Works to rehabilitate dozens of state parks and historic sites, addressing a backlog of capital needs in parks and spurring job creation and economic development, according to a state parks statement.

In addition to an extensive hiking trail network, Moreau Lake features a sandy swimming beach, nature center and playgrounds, wooded campsites and a shady picnic grove, and is visited by 400,000 people annually. Park staff offer guided hikes and year-round programming to introduce people to the park.

 
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