Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve
FriendsOfConnetquot.org | PO Box 472 | Oakdale, NY | 11769 | Contact Us

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FOC Receives Grants!

The Friends are proud of the support from the foundations whose links appear below. The capacity building grants they have awarded us will greatly help in strengthening our organization for the benefit of Connetquot River State Park Preserve:

The Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation

New York State Council on the Arts

Parks & Trails New York

Upstate History Alliance

Click here to read the details of these grants

Friends of Connetquot 2020 Virtual Gala Fundraiser

Donate or Purchase Tickets in Our Online raffle until December 21st, 2020 at 12:00 Noon

Help preserve the Connetquot River State Park Preserve!

Peter Fox CohalanThe Honorable Peter Fox Cohalan is this year's of the Gil Bergen Preservation Award. Remember Gil and honor Judge Cohalan when you buy raffle tickets!

Peter Fox Cohalan was a personal friend of Gil Bergen. His intimate knowledge and understanding of the history of the Connetquot River State Park Preserve, as well as his lifelong commitment to history and preservation and decades-long support of the Friends of Connetquot made the Honorable Peter Fox Cohalan our unanimous choice as the recipient of the 2020 Gilbert Bergen Preservation Award.

The funds raised this year in conjunction with the award will be dedicated to two projects that have long been on the Friends priority list: the restoration of the Ice House as an interpretive center and the restoration of the tin ceiling in the Fish Room.

To help raise funds we're having an online raffle until December 21st, 2020 at 12:00 noon featuring unique items donated to the Friends including lithographs, stained glass, a carousel horse reproduction a "dine, wine and spirits basket" and more.

Visit our virtual gala site to donate or to buy a raffle ticket entry for one or more of these fabulous prizes!

Restoration of the Historic Ice House

Several years ago the Friends commissioned the noted historical architectural firm in Albany, Mesick, Cohen, Wilson, and Baker to evaluate the 19th century structure and make proposals. They prepared extensive report on the present structural conditions and potential to repurpose as a document archive facility. Since that time the state has completed the archive facility at Planting Fields and the Friends have concluded that the expense of the proposed conversion is disproportionate to the utility.

The Friends are now proposing a much less expensive project which will be considerably less involved but would still be a significant upgrade to Connetquot River State Park's educational and interpretive assets. They propose that the building be used as an Ice House Interpretive Center with educational materials about the history of collecting and storing ice with references to the environment and global warming. There will be a Self-guided Mobile Device Tour (OnCell)' description that will supplement exterior signage and photographs.

Restoration of the Fish Room Ceiling

The Fish Room is located in the 19th century Club House of the South Side Sportsmen's Club. During the fishing season the guides, employed to assist the members, would take the catch to the Fish Room where the fish would be recorded, cleaned and either prepared for immediate cooking or frozen. Members would then take their clean and prepared catch as they left the Preserve grounds. During hunting season, the room served a similar purpose for ducks and pheasants.

The Fish Room tin ceiling is an original feature of the Main House and dates to 1890. Time and the environment however, have caused severe degradation. The tin has rusted in several areas and nails are starting to fail. If this damage is not addressed, panels could dislocate and fall. In its current condition, the room is unusable and is not a safe space since the threat of ceiling failure is inevitable. This is particularly problematic as the room is currently used by approximately 1200 BOCES students each year, as well as local groups such as Trout Unlimited Art Flick Chapter.

Our architect, Jan Hird Pokorny Architects, a highly-regarded preservation firm, has developed a scope-of-work. In brief, work includes replacing the original ceiling panels. Molding will be repaired or replaced and the modern lights will be replaced with historically appropriate fixtures. Other work, such as repairing skylight mullions will be completed as well.

When complete, the Fish Room can be safely used for instruction and will be a dedicated space for Friends' history programs. The Friends have been creating a new dynamic at the Preserve – a historic resource, as well as, a park that has attracted new audiences with wide-ranging interests that include history, early industrial technology, and colonial architecture. These include the Lecture Series (which explores the history and environment of the Preserve) and its surrounding environs, and the new programs associated with the Grist Mill.

Past Honorees of the Gil Bergen Preservationist Award

  • 2013 - Gil Bergen
  • 2014 - Carl Safina
  • 2015 - Dr. Richard ("Doc") Steinberger
  • 2016 - Fran Levesque
  • 2017 - Jerry and Rita Trapani
  • 2018 - No honoree - We honored the life and memory of Gil Bergen
  • 2019 - Dr. Wayne Horsley