The Watkins Glen State Park Entrance Has It’s Grand Opening

July 30, 2018

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation had contracted Saratoga Associates to prepare a strategic plan to redesign the lower entrance to the historic Watkins Glen State Park. The Park is one of the most popular sites in the State Park System, with just under one million visitors each year, and provides visitors access to a steep, spellbinding gorge comprised of nineteen dramatic waterfalls.

After two years of planning, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in June at the new main entrance to Watkins Glen State Park where several Saratoga Associates staff members were in attendance to take in the sights of their hard work. Various design features were brought from paper to life in the Saratoga Offices for this 6.5 Million Dollar Improvement Project.

The project created an entrance that visually expresses the unique natural features of the gorge. 1930’s-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) design themes were maintained with continued use of natural materials and an architectural style consistent with this important period of growth for New York State Parks.

The conceptual design created updates and improvements to the park gateway by relocating existing parking along Glen Creek to a less conspicuous location and replacing it with a new great lawn and day use area. The project also rehabilitated an early 20th-century pavilion as a visitor center and central arrival feature, an outdoor amphitheater with improved educational displays on the park’s human history and natural and geologic features, including an interactive model of the gorge,  and a new viewing area for those who do not want to or cannot hike the gorge, which allows views of a breathtaking waterfall.

There have also been renovations and the expansion of the existing concession building with expanded Taste of NY offerings including local wines and craft beverages and locally sourced ingredients in the new café area; and the public restrooms available at the park have seen an updated renovation.