November 9, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $6.2 Million Modernization of Taconic Outdoor Education Center at Fahnestock State Park in Hudson Valley

Governor Hochul Announces $6.2 Million Modernization of Taconic Outdoor Education Center at Fahnestock State Park in Hudson Valley

1970s Facility Undergoes Upgrade to Provide Environmental Education for School, Youth, and Scouting Groups

Photos Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul announced today the reopening of a modernized Taconic Outdoor Education Center at Fahnestock State Park, after a two-year, $6.2 million renovation project. Located in Cold Spring, Putnam County, the center includes the Highland Lodge and nine all-season rustic cabins. The cabins provide overnight accommodations for participants in nature-related, year-round programming for schools, colleges, youth groups, and scouting organizations. A new education pavilion also was added to the facility.

"This $6.2 million modernization of Fahnestock State Park's Educational Center will allow students and visitors alike to appreciate, and learn about, our environment through a whole new lens," Governor Hochul said. "With the project now complete, this enhanced facility will not only provide an improved experience for park visitors, but will be a key asset for the next generation as they learn how to conserve our precious natural resources and fight against the impacts of climate change."

The popular facilities originally constructed in the mid-1970s were in need of an update. The center hosts public and private schools, colleges and universities, civic organizations, agencies and businesses located throughout the northeast. Some examples of programming include environmental education, conservation camps, a team building rope course, scouting badge programs, family nature events, maple sugaring, field trips and business meetings. Center staff also visit schools and provide classroom lessons on environmental topics.

Funding for the renovation project was supported by NY Works, with State Council of Parks Chair Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky donating to support construction of the new outdoor teaching pavilion.

The Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC) closed in the summer of 2019 for the renovation to begin. From 2000 to 2010 more than 167,000 people have visited the center.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "This renovated center is now poised to continue its mission of education into the future, with group facilities that will make the stays both informative and enjoyable. This is a place where many children gain an exposure to nature and the environment that will launch them on a lifelong journey of appreciating the environment. The upgrading of this place of team building and discovery into a sustainable building with refurbished cabins for overnight stays means this center will continue serving the public for many years to come."

State Council of Parks Chair Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky said, "I am proud to have helped create this new pavilion to help educate the visitors about the environment of the Hudson Valley to enhance a revitalized education center that has helped inspire so many people over the years."

State Senator Serino said, "Environmental education plays a key role in ensuring the preservation of the natural resources that make the Hudson Valley such a spectacular place to live and visit. These upgrades will increase access to important environmental education programming and experiences that will benefit countless students for years to come, and I thank State Parks for making the renovation a reality."

TOEC Manager John Stowell said, "In addition to supporting Parks' mission statement, TOEC staff are committed to providing our user groups with year-round positive outdoor experiences that will foster future visits and adventures."

The Taconic Outdoor Education Center is open year-round. For information on reservations, visit here.

Construction manager for the project was The LiRo Group and the general contractor was Meyer Contracting Corp, of Pleasant Valley. The electrical contractor was FA Burchetta Company of Croton-on-Hudson and the mechanical and plumbing contractor was S&O Construction Services, of Pleasant Valley. The exhibit contractor was ADK Studios, of Argyle and the design consultant was Stantec Consulting, of Albany. Exhibit design consultant was AJA Architecture and Planning, of Glens Falls.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78 million people in 2020. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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