STILLWATER – The Saratoga National Historical Park is in line for an extensive renovation of the park’s popular yet aging, self-guided battlefield Tour Road beginning in 2022.
The work, which will be paid for by $6.6 million worth of funding from the Great American Outdoors Act, will result in increased accessibility and visible improvements to parking areas, trailheads, walkways, seating, exhibits and viewing areas along the 10-mile route, park officials said Thursday in a statement.
“This project is an extraordinary opportunity to invest in our visitors and enhance their enjoyment and understanding of the Saratoga Battlefield and the events that took place here,” said Saratoga National Historical Park Superintendent Leslie Morlock. “It is a big step in preparing the park for the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution and interpreting the critical role that the Battles of Saratoga played in turning the tide of Revolution and changing the world.”
The current Tour Road experience is more than 50 years old.
The renovation will expand physical access and safety enhancements for more than 100,000 visitors annually and eliminate $4 million of the park’s maintenance backlog.
It will also be instrumental in preparing the park for the extra attention it will receive related to the upcoming 250th-anniversary commemorations of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026 and of the battles in 2027.
The parking areas and walkways will be revamped at all 10 tour stops to meet universal standards for accessibility, including seating with companion seating, new improved exhibits, and audio description provided on an app for public use.
Modern outdoor exhibits will replace the existing informational waysides that are well beyond their intended design life.
The 60 new exhibits will be constructed of durable steel, aluminum, and bronze. In addition to being more cost-effective by requiring less routine maintenance, the new exhibits will include replica objects and convey updated information about the battles, the landscape, multiple perspectives, and the roles of lesser-known participants to better connect visitors with the meaning and importance of the site. The design layouts are geared for easier reading; using added color contrast, appropriate fonts and font size, tactile bronze relief maps, braille, and installation heights that are beneficial for all visitors.
The project is financed through the Great American Outdoors Act’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund that provides up to $1.9 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks and other public lands.
The recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other construction funding sources are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.