Thank you for your continued support of the Friends and our mission to preserve and protect the Saratoga Spa State Park.
Activities have slowly come back, which has helped to keep the Friends busy with assisting the Park with their events. In early 2022, we assisted with the Candlelight Walks as they ramped up for the year. We assisted with the annual fish stocking of Geyser Creek, which is always a fun springtime event for all involved. In May, we were delighted to see such an incredible turnout for New York’s I Love My Park Day, we were thrilled to offered refreshments and encouragement to large number of volunteers that helped prepare the Park for all to enjoy during the busy summer season. For October’s candlelight walk the Friends provided locally made doughnuts and cider from a generous donor.
To help spread the word about our mission, the Friends were offered a table at the Adirondack Sports Expo at the Saratoga Springs City Center back in March (look for us again in 2023). We extend many thanks to board member Jonathan Bean for donating his weekend to help spread the word about the Friends and the Spa State Park.
Things are bubbling!
We filed the interim report on the restoration of the Coesa Spring House, we are eternally thankful for our partners at Parks & Trails New York for helping to make this project a realization with their funding.
The Coesa Spring House has already undergone some impressive changes as work continued with the Park’s team of skilled and dedicated carpenters finishing structure stabilization, a new roof, and other measures to ensure this piece of Spa Park history is ready for new generations to appreciate. They have since moved their window and door restoration efforts indoors with the arrival of winter.
In the new year, we will begin gathering written and oral history of the Coesa site, along with historical photos needed for the interpretive signage. We will also be renewing our search for a historically appropriate fountain and begin considering landscaping to help beautify the site. We are beyond excited, and we hope you are too!
It wouldn’t be a volunteer board without some changes to our leadership, and unfortunately this year saw our friend and colleague, Eric Spaulding, who served as long time Board Secretary and Dog Park Committee Chair relocated out of the area, back to his home of Western New York. However, Tricia Pleu stepped in to assume the role of Committee Chair for the Dog Park. We are also thrilled to announce, that a Trails Committee was formed to keep the trails clear of debris and to notify the Park Administration if trees are down or if there are other issues with the trails that might impede hikers and walkers.
Our various committees have been working hard to help keep the Spa Park beautiful. Here’s a little of what they did in 2022:
Tennis – Chip Friends, Chair:
In 2022 the Park Tennis Courts saw more play with more variety of individuals visiting from far and near than ever. Fund Raising Tournaments, as well as USTA matches were held this season, all to full capacity, and each with many generous donations were received. The USTA representatives expressed an appreciation to have the Park Courts as an option to have in addition to other indoor playing venues. The Park Tennis Courts are an incredible asset to the State Park and the Region as a whole as they provide numerous social opportunities, physical fitness, and emotional well-being for many people during these troubling times. The Park Courts are already in good preparation for the 2023 Playing Season already thanks to the many volunteer hours and individual donations received in 2022.
Dog Park – Tricia Pleu, Chair:
We are so thankful to have such a large and beautiful off-leash play area for us to enjoy with our dogs. Since the pandemic brought so many furry friends into our lives, the park is busier than ever and has provided a place for many likeminded people to connect. In the past year, we hosted Dog Park cleanup days with over 25 volunteers chipping in. Our volunteers filled holes, raked leaves, picked up trash along the road and parking lot, cut back branches and saplings along the fence line, and kept the park in tip-top shape. This year we were able to place three watering stations for the dogs (a top request from users of the dog park). We hosted a Halloween Party that was a hit for dogs and pet parents alike. Our Dog Park committee has volunteers are committed to making improvements at the Dog Park and are eager to raise funds for several projects in the pipeline. In 2023 we hope to make improvements to the parking lot, address drainage issues, and install a kiosk with trail maps and important information.
Gardens – Dan Lynch, Chair:
Another stellar year for the Spa Park Gardens. Many thanks to the countless gardeners that have dedicated their time and efforts to helping make the Bruno Pavilion, Tennis Court, and Creekside Classroom, and pollinator gardens look great in 2022. We cannot thank the Spa Park staff enough for their continued assistance with mulch and other items needed to keep the gardens looking their best. We’re looking forward to 2023.
Trails – Jonathan Bean, Chair:
Through much planning and meeting the initial Trails Committee was off and running by early spring. While still a work in progress, we quickly learned to work hand-in-hand with the Spa Park Admin and Staff, reporting anything out of our realm or simply too much for us to handle. Soon a computer program was successfully developed to help pinpoint exact areas of interest, making things easier for all involved in our working relationship with the Park. We also found ourselves often engaging in conversation with various inquisitive Park patrons, giving directions, a few history lessons, and even sometimes suggesting a good place to eat or visit in town: an unexpected yet very rewarding part of being out on the trails. The new Trails Committee continues to grow towards a very promising future with new ideas on the horizon, all and all a very successful first year. See you on the trails in 2023!
History Tours – Linda Harvey, Chair:
Linda conducted several tours of the Spa Complex throughout the year with over 150 attendees all together. Two of these tours were for the Regeneron Corporation and coordinated with Mouzon House Catering and Events at the Hall of Springs. This fall, with assistance from Friends member Dan Lynch, she led a three-hour bike tour of the park sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. The tour covered the Lincoln and Washington Bathhouse area, along the old Avenue of the Pines, out to the Hathorn and Coesa springs on Route 50, down to Geyser Park and ending at the Spa Complex. We are looking forward to adding more tours for the general public in 2023. We hope you’ll join us!
The new Executive Committee for 2023 is comprised of: Dustin Lanterman, President, Tricia Pleu, Vice President, Peter Desmond, Treasurer and Linda Harvey, Secretary. We cannot thank our outgoing executive committee members enough for their tireless hard work and dedication to our organization.
Thank you for making 2022 another exciting and fruitful year for the Friends!
In order to continue our efforts of preservation, maintenance, and support for the Saratoga Spa State Park, we ask for your generosity. You can make a difference! Renew your membership for 2023, become a first-time member of the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park or make a donation.
We wish you and yours health and happiness for a bright 2023!
Helene Brecker, Past President
Special note from Dustin Lanterman, President of the Friends
I wanted to take a brief moment, on behalf of the Board, to thank Helene Brecker for her tireless dedication and volunteerism with the Friends. For the past three years, she has served as president of the organization and has overseen countless projects that have (and will continue) to enhance the Spa State Park for future generations. We are pleased that Helene will continue her work on the Board as Past President and will begin to usher in a new Spa Park Ambassador program, as well as continue the important work on the Coesa Spring restoration project.
Helene, thank you for all you have done for the Friends and the Spa Park – you are eternally appreciated.