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Storm damage closes tour road at Saratoga battlefield

Storm damage closes tour road at Saratoga battlefield

Tour road may be closed through weekend
Storm damage closes tour road at Saratoga battlefield
Maintenance worker Eric Dalzell cuts a tree at Saratoga National Historic Park.
Photographer: Erica Miller

STILLWATER -- Friday evening's windstorm has shut down the tour road at Saratoga National Historic Park until further notice, with around 100 trees down on the 9-mile-road.

Across the 3,400-acre park, there are probably around 1,000 trees down, said park Chief of Interpretation Lisa Dittman. The damage was concentrated on the slopes that drop from the park's highlands to the Hudson River, including around British Gen. John Burgoyne's headquarters.

"It did a lot of damage throughout the park," Dittman said. "There are parts of the road you can't even see. It looks like such a tangle of limbs."

A crew was working to clear the road, which takes visitors to informational placards that interpret the turning point battles the British and American forces fought there in 1777.

"It will most likely be into next week before the road is open to vehicles," Dittman said.

The same storm -- packing rain, lightning and 60 mph winds, according to the National Weather Service -- knocked out power to an estimated 105,000 National Grid customers in eastern New York. Power restoration efforts lasted into Monday.

While the national park didn't lose power, two park rangers who arrived Saturday morning found a scene of extensive damage. The tour road was immediately closed and has remained so. The area around the park headquarters and interpretive center, though, did not see major damage.

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The Wilkinson Loop hiking trail is open for about 2 miles, "but beyond that, it's an obstacle course," Dittman said.

So many trees were uprooted across the property that the National Park Service will send an archaeologist next week to determine whether any artifacts were damaged, or possibly new artifacts uncovered with the tree roots, Dittman said.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, swilliams@dailygazette.net or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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