NY State Expands Moreau Lake State Park

New Moreau State Park PavillonNew York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey has announced the state added a 200-acre parcel to Moreau Lake State Park, expanding hiking opportunities in the Adirondack foothills and preserving open space in fast-growing Saratoga County.

Additionally, Commissioner Harvey announced that work has been completed on a new pavilion/outdoor classroom near the park’s nature center. Read more

Preserving Your Saratoga Battlefield Memories

Saratoga National Historical Park (the Saratoga Battlefield), located on Routes 4 and 32 in Stillwater, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2013 and is looking for photographs showing people enjoying or working in the park from the 1900s to today.

This is a special one-time opportunity to share your nostalgic memories of the park for its 75th anniversary exhibit and to preserve your battlefield photos for current and future generations. In appreciation for sharing your images (up to 20 per family or individual), trained park volunteers will scan your hard copy photos and put them onto a compact disc for you to keep. Read more

Bob Weible: Making History in Difficult Times

I was disappointed to hear the recent news that Schenectady County officials have chosen to cut funding for their county historian. This decision appears to have less to do with the historian than it did with the county’s fiscal problems.

Many of us are familiar with the state law that requires municipalities to appoint historians, and as Gerry Smith has pointed out, NYS County Law, section 400, also requires counties to make similar appointments. Many counties and many municipalities comply with these laws. Many don’t. But that’s not what’s at stake here. Read more

NYS Museum Displays Massive Civil War Flag

A massive, iconic Confederate flag, torn down by a Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, a soldier born in Saratoga County and widely remembered as the first Union officer killed in the Civil War, is now on display at the New York State Museum.

The 14-by 24-foot Marshall House Flag is being exhibited in South Hall through Feb. 24, 2013 in conjunction with the nearby 7,000-square foot exhibition on the Civil War. An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War is open through September 22, 2013 in Exhibition Hall. Read more

Line-Up Set For 2012 Lost Speedways Program

The Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Lost Speedways program which is scheduled for the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24, 2012), has grown into a must see event for those interested in the history of auto racing in New York State and long-shuttered area speedways.

The program will also include Hall of Fame driver Brian Ross’ recollections of his short but eye opening Winston Cup career and his time as an instructor at Andy Hillenburg’s Charlotte driving school along with a look back at the highlights of the century old Fonda Speedway by longtime racing writer and DIRT legal advisor Andy Fusco. Memorabilia will be on display from 11:30 am, with everyone encouraged to bring items to display. The formal presentations will begin at 1 pm.

&#8220Our current featured exhibit, &#8216-Moonshine to Millionaires &#8211 NASCAR’s History, Heroes and Technology,’ has been a huge success and since it will close right after Lost Speedways, I want to focus on NASCAR history this year,&#8221 explained exhibit curator and event organizer Ron Hedger. &#8220Plus, we have the opportunity to again enjoy the racing tales of Jim Reed, a multi-year NASCAR champion who was a big hit last year and has agreed to return. He’s going to tell us about winning the 1959 Southern 500 at Darlington, among other highlights of his career, which fits perfectly with the theme.&#8221

&#8220I will also do a pair of presentations myself,&#8221 added Hedger. &#8220We have Bill Wimble’s Carnegie Medal on display and I’ll relate that story, along with a discussion of NASCAR’s Speedway division for Indianapolis-type cars, something most people have never heard of.&#8221

&#8220With the cars of Dale Earnhardt and Curtis Turner and the amazing ’59 Thunderbird &#8216-zippertop’ scheduled to return to Charlotte October 1st, I’ll be replacing them with a Richie Evan’s Pinto and a gorgeous Speedway Division car wheeled by Wally Campbell, so the timing will be perfect. And we may have another surprise or two before November rolls around,&#8221 Hedgar said.

There will also be a drawing of one winner in the auto museum’s NASCAR VIP Raffle, sponsored by M and M/Mars, which will see two winners each receive four tickets to the 2013 Sprint Cup race of their choice, $250 travel money, garage passes and a personal meet and greet session with Kyle Busch. The second drawing will be held in the spring of 2013. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the museum or online.

The Lost Speedways event is free to museum members, with others admitted for the standard museum admission charge. More information is available online at www.saratogaautomuseum.org. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the Avenue of the Pines in the Saratoga Spa State Park, just off Exit 13N of the Adirondack Northway.

Photo: An abandoned South Glens Falls Drag Strip.

Saratoga Battlefield Announces Photo Contest

The Saratoga National Historical Park’s photo contest will held from now through October 31, 2012. The winning photo will be featured on the park’s 2013 Annual Pass and the photographer will receive a free 2013 Annual Pass. Once all photos have been submitted, the winning photo will be decided by a panel of Saratoga NHP employees by November 9.  Next year marks the 75th anniversary of Saratoga National Historical Park (Saratoga Battlefield).

Contest Rules:

Contest is open to all ages
Picture must be taken within park boundaries: Saratoga Monument,
Schuyler House, Victory Woods, Saratoga Battlefield Scenic, wildlife, park events, park structures (monuments,historic houses, etc.) photos will all be accepted

Entries must be submitted by 4 pm October 31, 2012

Limit to one (1) photo per contestant

Photo(s) must be submitted by e-mail to megan_stevens@nps.gov

Photo Specifications: File in JPEG format with 300 DPI resolution. Each photo must be no larger than 3 MB in file size Contestant must provide: Full name, phone number, brief description (no more than 100 words) of where and when photo was taken

All photos submitted for this contest automatically become property of the National Park Service- photographers will be credited. Anyone who derives 5% or more of their income from taking photos are ineligible Saratoga NHP employees and their immediate family members are ineligible

For more information about this contest or other park events, please call Megan Stevens at 518.670.2982 or visit: http://www.nps.gov/sara/parknews/newsreleases.htm.

Encampment Marks Battles of Saratoga Anniversary

This Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, Saratoga National Historical Park, located on Routes 32 and 4 in Stillwater, will present an 18th century living history encampment marking the 235th anniversary of the what’s been called the world’s “most important battle of the last 1,000 years.”  Camps will be open Saturday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Sunday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

This two-day encampment will surround visitors with the sights, smells, and sounds of military camp life from the American Revolution.

Dozens of re-enactors portray American and British officers, soldiers, cavalry troops, and camp followers from the Battles of Saratoga.  See cavalry charge, join in a court-martial and decide the soldier’s fate, take part in a musket drill, follow along with a scouting party, or listen to stories of the revolutionary war experience.  Feel the thunderous roar of cannons, smell the acrid smoke of musket fire as well as the welcoming wisps of camp cooking fires.

On Sunday, there will be a 2:00 PM Wreath Laying Ceremony by Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution at Tour Road Stop 2.  The public is welcome to attend this commemorative wreath laying. The event is free, but the normal entrance fee to the park of $5 per car and $3 per hiker or cyclist (good for one week entry) is charged.  For more information about this or other events, please call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 ext.1777, check the park website at www.nps.gov/sara or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saratoganhp

Local Artist Donates Painting to Saratoga NHP

Local folk artist Richard Salls of Schuylerville has donated the original oil painting “225” to Saratoga National Park in Stillwater. “225” was originally unveiled in 2002 to commemorate the 225th anniversary year of the Battles of Saratoga and the 125th year of the Saratoga Monument.

This work of art commemorates the surrender of British General John Burgoyne to American General Horatio Gates after the 1777 Battles of Saratoga &#8211 an event known as the Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War. The village of Schuylerville, formerly Saratoga, is the site of the surrender. Salls, a long-time resident of Schuylerville, is no stranger to the rich history in the area. The painting features the historic sites of the Schuyler House, Saratoga Monument and Neilson House, very familiar places to Salls.

The original painting will be on display at the park’s visitor center through September. Prints of the painting are available in the park’s gift store which features books, glassware, souvenirs, and other quality items about the Battles of Saratoga and the Revolutionary War. Further information about the artist is available at: www.saratogafolkart.com
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For more information about this or upcoming events at Saratoga National Historical Park, the National Park in your backyard, call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 ext. 1777 or check the park website at www.nps.gov/sara or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/saratoganhp.

Prescribed Fire Program at Saratoga National Historical Park

With favorable weather conditions in place, certified wildland firefighters at Saratoga National Historical Park, will undertake prescribed burning of approximately 40 acres of park land during the last two weeks of August.

This “summer burn” will include the Chatfield Farm area of the Battlefield.  The burns may take up to three days to complete, and the park will remain open to visitors during this time.  The park has historically conducted prescribed burns in the Spring.

This shift from spring to summer burning is an experimental approach to see if the application of fire at a  different time will yield better results in the management of the types of plants found in the fields.  It is hoped the summer burn will result in  greater success in ridding the park of unwanted invasive and woody stemmed  plants.

For over twenty years, prescribed fires have been a valuable and safe tool in managing Saratoga Battlefield’s 3200 acres.  Planned burns allow the park to maintain its historic 1777 landscape, reduce the spread of exotic plant species, encourage regeneration of natural grasses and eliminate the
need for personnel to work on hazardous slopes with mechanical equipment.  Additionally, hazard fuel reduction around developed areas provides for firefighter safety and structure protection in the event of a natural wildfire.

Before such a prescribed fire can occur, an official Fire Management Plan  is required. Saratoga National Historical Park’s Fire Management Plan was approved by regional National Park Service Fire Management Officers. Neighboring fire departments are informed of daily plans and prior to
igniting a fire, and park staff runs down a go/no go checklist prior to any  firing.

If you have any questions about prescribed fires at Saratoga National Historical Park or park events, please contact the park’s visitor center at (518) 664-9821 ext. 1777.

Bike Tour: Champlain Canal and Rev War Road to Saratoga

On Sunday August 12, enjoy a free 20-mile guided bicycle tour along the Champlain Canalway Trail between Hudson Crossing Park in Northumberland and Saratoga Battlefield in Stillwater.

This tour will take bikers past historic sites of interest related to the Revolutionary War and the Champlain Canal. Sites include Hudson Crossing Park, Champlain Canal Lock 5, the Schuyler House, the Champlain Canalway Towpath Trail and Saratoga National Historic Park. Read more