Volunteers help park in Schodack reopen
Schodack Island State Park was closed in the fall due to budget cuts
By KENNETH C. CROWE II, Staff writer
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First published: Wednesday, December 31, 2008
SCHODACK — Schodack Island State Park reopened Tuesday morning staffed by local volunteers in an agreement reached between the town and state.
"We're very happy to have opened the gates this morning. We're good to go. Events are planned down there,'' Supervisor Beth Secor said.
The Appalachian Trail Club will hold a snowshoeing event Thursday in the park, she said.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shut the 1,052-acre park in October due to state budget cuts. At the time, State Parks said the park would not reopen until sometime in the spring. The park previously stayed open during the winter months.
"It is particularly gratifying to see groups and individuals coming together for their community in these challenging economic times,'' State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash said in a statement.
The town has 24 volunteers signed up to monitor the park and its buildings and town workers will keep roads plowed to the park. The town has placed a portable toilet donated by Schodack Septic in the park, Secor said.
The park's buildings and bathrooms will not be open during the winter months. The volunteers will check on the facilities and report any problems to either the town or state.
The park will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. State Parks workers will return to staff the park in the spring.
The park, which was created in 2002, is the town's only direct access to the Hudson River.
Rensselaer County worked with the state and town to work out the details in getting the park reopened.
"The state should make clear their plans for the Schodack park in 2009. At least some level of state funding is needed and the more information on future funding, the better,'' County Legislator Martin Reid, R-Schodack, said.
Secor said she believes the community's efforts to get the park reopened will prevent it from being shut in the future.
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