Thacher and Thompson parks April open house and May public meetings

NEW SCOTLAND –– To gauge public feedback, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is holding an open house this weekend at the Thompson’s Lake Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center.

The office is in the process of conducting a year-long review of the John Boyd Thacher and Thompson’s Lake state parks.

The first-ever master plan will eventually document the state’s goals in operating the parks and will involve a broad review of current practices, services, and facilities.

The plan includes public feedback and will chart the future development and operation of Thacher and Thompson’s Lake state parks.

Besides Saturday’s open house, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the office has scheduled two public meetings for the month of May, said Robert Kuhn, the agency’s assistant regional director.

The first takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 22 at the Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School and the second, from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 24 at the Bethlehem Town Hall.

Kuhn said the first hour of the meetings would be set up as an informal workshop where attendees may speak with representatives face to face. “The workshop format is good for people not comfortable in front of a microphone,” said Kuhn.

At 7 p.m., Kuhn said, a brief formal presentation will be given followed by a question-and-answer session.

He also said members would be able to receive written letters during the meetings. Those unable to attend the meeting may mail their letters to park planner Salim Chishti at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Albany, NY 12238 or may email the agency at HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected].

Kuhn said he, Thacher Park Manager Chris Fallon, regional Director Alane Ball-Chinian, and others would attend the public meetings.

Kuhn said the office is hoping to create a draft master plan by September, followed by a public hearing on the draft in October. A final plan could be completed by November and on the commissioner’s desk for approval by the end of 2012, added Kuhn.

“We can’t move forward with any new initiatives at the parks until the planning process is complete,” he said. “Before the agency starts chewing on the issues, we want to hear from the public. What the public wants should play a big role in this,” said Kuhn.

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