“It’s incredible!” “Thanks for the memories!” “Too cool!”
“Amazing!” “Thank you for keeping the history!” “Super fun!” “Loved it!”
“Beautiful grounds, amazing relics, great tour!” “Cпасибо!!!” “We’ll be back!”
The above comments are a representative sampling of the hundreds recorded this past year in the Copake Iron Works Museum guest book. How gratifying to see such enthusiasm and appreciation for our efforts to preserve and promote the Copake Iron Works National Heritage Area Site! We welcomed more than 1,000 visitors in 2017, from at least 16 U.S. states and a half-dozen countries, including Canada, Poland, Japan, China, Czech Republic, and Russia (Cпасибо = “thank you” in Russian). Thanks to you all for your help in making Friends of Taconic State Park an effective and forward thinking advocate for the cultural and natural history of Taconic State Park.
I hope these comments from the museum guest book give you as much pride in our park as they give me. In this context and spirit, I invite you to renew your membership in Friends of Taconic State Park for 2018. For this renewal campaign, my fellow Board members and I have created an $7,400 challenge: the Board will match every gift up to this amount from fellow Friends who renew their memberships for the coming year. As in the past, I am proud to report 100% participation in this challenge by the Board of Directors.
In 2017, we offered nearly two-dozen events in and around Taconic State Park. Among the year’s highlights were:
- The installation of free Wi-Fi at the Copake Iron Works — a contribution from Consolidated Communications (formerly FairPoint Communications). This important gift greatly enhances the interpretive possibilities for the site as well as the “visitor experience.”
- First Day Hike 2017 to the Bash Bish Falls via the Copake Iron Works Heritage Trail.
- Four children’s nature and history programs made possible by a legislative grant from New York State Assembly member Didi Barrett. More to come in 2018.
- Our 9th Annual Meeting with guest speaker David Nasaw, whose talk on Lemuel Pomeroy and Andrew Carnegie wowed the audience.
- Moth Night 2017, part of National Moth Week, with more than 60 participants (including many children) exploring nighttime nature.
Our schedule of events for 2018 is almost complete. Meantime, we hope you’ll join us for First Day Hike 2018 — a fun and satisfying way to start the new year. We’ll leave promptly at 1 PM from Park headquarters at 253 State Route 344 and return for hot cocoa and a campfire.
Our 10th Anniversary Ahead
More news! Friends of Taconic State Park will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018. At this landmark moment in our organization’s history, the Board of Directors has begun a Strategic Planning process to set capital and programmatic priorities for the next decade and beyond. We will announce the outcome of this process in the course of the year, so stay tuned. Also in 2018, we will open the new Visitor Center at the Copake Iron Works featuring a video produced by the world’s foremost authority on this site, Dr. Fred Sutherland, author of “From Forest to Company Town, and Back Again: Historical Archaeology at the Copake Iron Works.” We will announce the date of the grand opening of the Visitor Center, and we look forward to welcoming you to the museum’s new amenities and interpretive features very soon.
Each year in this letter I like to thank the wonderful staff of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for their dedication and stewardship, in particular Rose Harvey, Commissioner; Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, Chair, New York State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Edgar Masters, Taconic Regional Commissioner; Linda Cooper, Taconic Regional Director; and Christopher Rickard, Manager, Taconic State Park, and his fantastic staff.
Finally, I would also like to thank my fellow board members for their service, including our newest member, Rita Jakubowski who was elected this year to fill a vacancy. Welcome, Rita!
I hope you will support the enlightened stewardship of Taconic State Park’s cultural and natural heritage. Please renew or join www.friendsoftsp.org/join. Your membership gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Board of Directors, up to $7,400.
Brian Boom, President
P.S. — If you’ve renewed your membership recently, please accept our sincere thanks and enjoy this annual report!