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State parks to curtail hours

State parks to curtail hours

The hours and days of operation at some state parks, campgrounds and historic sites in the Capital R

The hours and days of operation at some state parks, campgrounds and historic sites in the Capital Region are being curtailed this spring and summer but no parks or sites are being closed, state officials said Thursday.

“We are not closing anything. We are just reducing hours,” said Alane Ball Chinian, regional director for the Saratoga-Capital District Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The reduced swimming days at some pools and beaches, for example, are part of the state’s ongoing cost-saving efforts in light of the current economic problems.

In some parks, but not all parks, campsites will open later in the season and close earlier in the fall than in past years.

Chinian, whose parks region includes the entire Capital Region and Saratoga County area, said approximately $300,000 will be saved by the reduction in hours during off-peak times.

For example, the popular Peerless Pool in the Saratoga Spa State Park will be closed on Tuesdays each week after it opens in late June. Chinian said her department was considering closing the Peerless Pool for two days a week but was able to reduce this to one day per week.

The fashionable Victoria Pool in the Spa State Park, however, will remain open seven days a week starting June 27, she said.

As a cost-saving measure, the same park staff will be shared by the Cherry Plain State Park and the nearby Grafton Lakes State Park, both in Rensselaer County, Chinian said.

This means the beach at Cherry Plain will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays and the beach at Grafton Lakes will be closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The campground at Cherry Plain will open on July 4, which is much later than the usual May opening, and will close early on Sept. 7. The Max V. Shaul State Park in Schoharie County will open its campsites for Memorial Day weekend but then close them until July 4 and then they will be open until Labor Day.

At Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County, the 144 campsites will be open May 9 and won’t close until Oct. 12.

“State Parks, like all state agencies, is responding to the current economic realities,” said Commissioner Carol Ash of state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in a prepared statement.

“We have been charged with making many difficult decisions and the changes we announce today are among them,” Ash said in the statement.

She said every state parks region in the state is curtailing hours and opening times. She said the changes are being concentrated on “the shoulder seasons, off-peak hours or facilities where similar services are available nearby.”

Other changes in the Saratoga-Capital District Region include:

* The visitor center at Peebles Island State Park in the Hudson River between Saratoga and Albany County will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

* The beach at Thompson’s Lake State Park will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

* The state historic sites that will be opened for shortened seasons, reduced hours of operation and/or reduced programming include Crown Point, Johnson Hall, Schuyler Mansion and Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site.

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