Thursday, October 1, 2009

Helping Visitors Stop and Enjoy the Culture

As much as people in the Adirondacks go on and on about canoeing, hiking and skiing, a lot of visitors’ favorite thing to do here is drive around and look at the scenery.

In recognition of this, the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has released the first travel brochure dedicated to things to do along a single road route: the four-county, 188-mile Adirondack Trail scenic byway on Route 30 between Malone and Fonda. ANCA is also seeking grants to design brochures for some of the region’s 11 other designated “byways.”

Since its founding in the 1960s, ANCA has promoted what it called “touring routes” as a means to encourage tourism and economic development, says program coordinator Sharon O’Brien. When New York State instituted a Scenic Byways program in the 1990s, the independent agency changed its labeling but kept encouraging motorists to visit small North Country towns and spend some time and money.

ANCA’s June 2009 “Adirondack North Country Scenic Byways Market Trend Assessment,” a survey of 300 motorists visiting the area, found, “When rating the activities most important to their overall experience and enjoyment, respondents said that driving through the areas, and enjoying the scenery, views of lakes, forest, and mountains were the most important activities while traveling in the Adirondack North Country region, and the reasons they have memorable visits.”

ANCA’s survey also found visitors generally like outdoor recreation; enjoying scenic views of lakes, forests, and mountains; visiting museums or historic sites; and getting out on the water. They also like “activities that take place outdoors, are relaxing, are family-oriented and that offer a change of pace.”

The new four-season Route 30 guide gives visitors ideas and directions on how to find “easy access to nature, history, and culture,” ANCA said in a press release. It suggests stops at obvious attractions like the Wild Center in Tupper Lake as well as local-knowledge places like the South Main Street Fishing Area in Northville or Arsenal Green Park in Malone. “It promotes something unique for visitors to stop and do in each community, thus providing new visibility for those locales with limited marketing budgets,” ANCA said.

The promotional piece complements ANCA’s new Scenic Byways website, which so far profiles individual communities in ten counties along three byways. The contents of the brochure and website are based on “travelers’ interests such as their desire for authentic/real experiences as documented in the 2009 Byway Market Trend Assessment.”

34,000 brochures will be distributed to visitor centers, museums, Chambers of Commerce and other tourist stops across the North Country. The project was funded by the New York State Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Program through the Federal Highway Administration and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. For further information on ANCA’s Scenic Byway Program contact Sharon O’Brien at [email protected] or 518-891-6200.

Photograph courtesy of ANCA

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Mary Thill

Mary Thill lives in Saranac Lake and has worked alternately in journalism and Adirondack conservation for three decades.




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