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Glen State park upgrades on budget, on time ADVERTISEMENT

Glen State park upgrades on budget, on time

WATKINS GLEN--Regional Director of State parks, Fred Bonn, spoke at the Harbor Hotel Monday, Oct. 30 regarding the state of the upgrades and enhancements to Watkins Glen State Park, the recipient of a $6.5 million grant. Bonn says the work is on schedule and on budget and should be completed by spring 2018.
One of the most noticeable changes will be to the park's entrance on Franklin Street.
The overhaul of the park's entrance has included relocating the existing parking area away from the gorge and across Franklin Street. The old parking lot is being converted into green space, described as "garden like, an experience that begins at the park entrance on Franklin Street."
Bonn said with the expanded parking lot, more room for coaches and buses will be available. There will be a machine to pay for parking rather than a person collecting the money to increase traffic flow in and out of the parking area which will allow for an overall smoother entry and exit.
The regional director said an addition is being made to the concession building to increase sales. An amphitheater with an LCD display will be installed for guided tours and for visitors who cannot physically make the trip up into the more challenging areas. An information center will be managed by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce and the park staff. Park staff will be in place to give information on the tours and natural features of the park while the chamber of commerce staff will be available for visitors to get more information about the village, local wineries and other nearby attractions.
As hikers enter further into the park, panels will line the walkway to give information about the human history and natural history of the park. Trees and shrubs will be planted so that the park experience begins before entering into the gorge trail along Glen Creek.
There will also be a new overlook at the base of the gorge, where people with mobility issues will be able to enjoy the waterfalls as well.
Bonn said, "One of the other projects we're working on which won't be able to open at the same time, we will be restoring the Indian trail. Our hope is that within the next few years we will be able to get that open to increase the hiking capacity in the park."
The Indian trail has been closed for decades due to the narrow pathway and lack of safety features.





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