Extensive work on the park’s self-guided battlefield Tour Road will begin in 2022 and is expected to result in increased accessibility and visible improvements to the parking areas, trailheads, walkways, seating, exhibits and viewing areas along the ten-mile-long route.
The current Tour Road experience is more than 50 years old. This renovation will expand physical access and safety enhancements for more than 100,000 visitors annually and eliminate $4 million of the park’s maintenance backlog. It will also be instrumental in preparing the park for the extra attention it will receive related to the upcoming 250th anniversary commemorations of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026 and of the battles of Saratoga in 2027.
The parking areas and walkways are being revamped at all ten tour stops to meet universal standards for accessibility, including seating with companion seating, new improved exhibits, and audio description provided on an app for public use. 60 new outdoor exhibits constructed of steel, aluminum, and bronze will replace the existing informational waysides.
The new exhibits will include replica objects and convey updated information about the battles, the landscape, multiple perspectives, and the roles of lesser-known participants to better connect visitors with the meaning and importance of the site. The design layouts are geared for easier reading; using added color contrast, appropriate fonts and font size, tactile bronze relief maps, braille, and installation heights that are beneficial for all visitors.
Saratoga National Historical Park preserves, protects, and interprets the sites associated with the battles, siege, and surrender of the British forces at Saratoga. The park encompasses five sites including the Saratoga Battlefield, General Philip Schuyler’s House, Victory Woods, the Saratoga Monument, and the Sword Surrender site totaling 3,579 acres.
It was here in September and October 1777, during the American War for Independence, American troops battled and defeated the British invasion force. A British Army surrendered, for the first time in history, on October 17, 1777. This crucial victory secured essential foreign recognition and support and boosted the morale of the American forces making it the turning point of the American Revolution.
The project is being financed through GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund. Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund provides up to $1.9 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks and other public lands to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment for current and future visitors. GAOA, the recently passed infrastructure law and other construction funding sources are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.
Check the park website for information about temporary road closures during construction.
For more information about Saratoga National Historical Park, call the Visitor Center at (518) 670-2985, or visit their website.
Photo of Saratoga National Historical Park courtesy Wikimedia user UpstateNYer.