The state Department of Transportation estimates that it would cost about $20 million to convert 70 miles of rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid to a recreational trail.
Joe Hattrup says he can do it for free.
Hattrup asserts that the sale of the rails and other steel hardware would cover the costs of removing the tracks and creating a trail that could be used by snowmobilers in winter and cyclists in other seasons. The trail would have a stone-dust surface suitable for road bikes.
The Lake George Association (LGA) is partnering with the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) for a 2015 Recreation Study of the Lake. The project is expected to update the 2005 Lake George Recreation Study.
The 2005 study found 460,372 total boat use days from April-Sept with 44,177 motorboat launches and 75,835 public beach users estimated for 2005. The average horsepower on the lake was 194 while the average horsepower of performance boats was 500. During peak use, there were 261 PWCs, 303 canoes/kayaks, 317 sailboats, and 1,553 motorboats, for a grand total of 2,434 boats out on the Lake at one time at peak use. However, over the course of an entire weekend day during the summer – there were 4,700 motorboats on the Lake, and 2,500 motorboats on a weekday. » Continue Reading.
Paul Smith’s College and SUNY Adirondack have signed a dual admissions agreement, making it easier for students in the Southeastern Adirondacks to earn a bachelor’s degree in recreation or hospitality.
Students who opt into the program will simultaneously enroll in both colleges. Upon completion of their associate degree from SUNY Adirondack, they can transfer into one of two bachelor’s degree programs at Paul Smith’s: hotel, resort and tourism management or recreation, adventure education and leisure management. » Continue Reading.
Google selected a single business from New York to profile in its annual Economic Impact Report. For 2013, the global internet company picked The Wild Center, in Tupper Lake, citing the Center’s innovative use of the internet to expand its reach. The Wild Center, designed by the firm that built the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., opened in 2006, and is one of the Adirondack region’s most popular attractions.
Howard Fish, who heads communications at The Wild Center, got the call from the Silicon Valley headquarters of Google asking if the Center would be okay with being New York’s profiled business. “Google had called us a few times already, and had sent a crew up to map the inside of the Center, so the call was not completely out of the blue, but we were still surprised when they told us that from all the businesses in the state, including the ones in Silicon Alley, they picked a venture in the Adirondacks to profile.” » Continue Reading.
Created for the county by Jimapco in Round Lake, NY, the map is user friendly and playful, and includes amenities such as dining, lodging and services as well as attractions like covered bridges, agri-tourism and arts. It also includes several ‘tours’ in and around the county, including fiber, maple, beverage (aka wine and beer!) and walking and bike tours for selected locations. This map has several other nice features like dropdown lists for each layer that allow you to quickly zoom to attractions and information packed popups that will even give you driving directions. » Continue Reading.
Drive through Lake George, and you can see evidence that tourism is booming. Traffic is heavy, especially in summer when Lake George runs full-throttle. There are plans for a major hotel and a reinvention of downtown that includes an easing of building-height restrictions. A wave of construction is underway, with new shops, outlet malls, restaurants, and attractions.
“We’re extremely fortunate in the Adirondacks that our principal industry is tourism,” says Lake George Mayor Robert Blais. “No smokestacks, no getting up in the morning and reading the paper and finding out [the major employer] is going to close in six months. We’re part of the picture I think of the great Adirondack Park where families can come and find so many things to do.” » Continue Reading.
Visitors to the region were drawn by outdoor recreation, preferred hotel accommodations to other types of lodging, and spent $93 for every occupancy tax dollar spent on marketing in 2013, according to the latest leisure travel information study.
For the eleventh year in a row, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) contracted an independent third party to conduct a Leisure Travel Information Study. For the last three years, ROOST engaged PlaceMaking to conduct the survey applying the same methodology as in the previous years when it was conducted by the Technical Assistance Center at SUNY Plattsburgh. Survey data from 2013 visitors show record visitation to Essex County from across the decade of this research. » Continue Reading.
Two years ago, when Governor Andrew Cuomo revived the massive Finch, Pruyn land deal, first engineered by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy in 2007, he shifted the terms of a long-running debate over big land-conservation projects in the Park. Funding for open-space conservation had been under attack in Albany for years, including a moratorium on new spending. Even many Democrats were questioning the value to taxpayers of protecting more “forever wild” land in the Park.
The governor turned that debate on its head, arguing that vast tracts of new public lands would be a boon to the state’s tourism economy—rather than a costly burden—and would give struggling Adirondack towns a long-needed boost. “Today’s agreement will make the Adirondack Park one of the most sought-after destinations for paddlers, hikers, hunters, sportspeople, and snowmobilers,” Cuomo declared in August 2012 as he committed the state to spending $47 million on sixty-nine thousand acres of timberlands over five years.
Cuomo pointed to “extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities” that he asserted would spark investment and help revitalize the tourism economy in struggling mountain towns. » Continue Reading.
After the state agreed to buy 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land from the Nature Conservancy, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the deal would be an economic boon to local towns.
The premise is that the new state lands will attract more tourists. In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, Brian Mann takes a hard look at this notion.
Mann talked to regional politicians, local business owners, environmentalists, and economic researchers, among others. The consensus is that the Finch, Pruyn acquisition does present an opportunity, but economic growth won’t happen on its own. Like any tourist destination, the Finch, Pruyn lands must be marketed and well maintained.
If the lands are not properly marketed, it’s possible that they will simply “cannibalize” other parts of the Adirondack Park. In other words, all we’d be doing is shuffling the same tourist dollars around.
We’ll post Brian’s full story soon on Adirondack Almanack.
Three major hotel projects are moving through the state and local regulatory processes here in the Adirondacks.
These projects include a top-to-bottom renovation and restoration of Saranac Lake’s iconic Hotel Saranac, a new 120-room Marriot Hotel and convention center in downtown Lake George, and the new 90-room Lake Flower Inn on the shores of Lake Flower in Saranac Lake.
As a package this marks one of the biggest investments in tourism facilities in the Adirondacks since the expansion of the Sagamore Resort in the 1980s or the expansion of the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid in 2004.
Two of the projects are in line for significant state funding. The Hotel Saranac is approved for $5 million in grants and tax abatements and the Lake Flower Inn is scheduled for a $2 million state grant. » Continue Reading.
In an Almanack post last October I described the project and outlined some of the expected functionality of the new site, including what I described as “a strong mapping component, rather than the menu/catalog driven approach used by most Adirondack recreation sites.” The opportunities afforded by modern online search and mapping technologies presented an incredible chance to build a truly useful, fun-to-use, map-based virtual gateway to the Adirondacks.
It all started in August. The media inquiries about Lake Placid’s Olympic heritage have increased by the day as we get closer to the games in Sochi. Many want photos, or to visit to write or film a news story, and most want to know what impact hosting the games has had on Lake Placid in general.
As communications director for the region’s destination marketing organization, my job is to support our efforts to drive overnight visitation, and implement promotional messaging that is based on research. And through that research, we know that the biggest driver of overnight visitation to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks is outdoor recreation – hiking, paddling, cycling and the like – hands down. However, for a couple of months every four years, I prepare to spend a lot of time responding to the expected influx of Olympic-themed media requests. » Continue Reading.
Recently, Pete Nelson opened a conversation on a social level many of us have been thinking about and working on a professional level. This conversation about the challenges facing a park whose population of residents and visitors does not reflect the shifting demographics of our larger society is keenly felt in the conservation, education and resource management professions. There is a famous quote, paraphrased, that says you will only commit yourself to what you know and love, and you will only come to know and love that which you feel is relevant to your life.
So the question Peter opened for conversation – and if you check out the comments on his January 11th post you will see he stimulated quite a conversation – is how do we make the Adirondacks more relevant in the lives of those who do not currently find it so. » Continue Reading.
The late, extraordinary forest educator, Dr. Edwin H. Ketchledge, started an exhibit of native Adirondack trees at the base of the Whiteface Memorial Highway in Wilmington, and wrote to all who would listen how important it would be to properly interpret the natural history of the mountain from the base of the road to the mountain’s summit. Of course, Dr. Ketchledge had interpreted this route in hundreds of ways during his career as a teacher, and was hopeful that his legacy would continue.
Governor Andrew Cuomo just made it a lot safer to accomplish Dr. Ketchledge’s vision as a result of the state’s commitment to expend $12 million to rehabilitate the road and the summit’s facilities. This is welcome news indeed for Wilmington, the Olympic Authority and many Adirondack residents and visitors who marvel at what they feel, see and learn from this mountain road. » Continue Reading.
A group of Adirondack Region organizations are partnering to develop an inventory of recreational opportunities in the Adirondack Park to be made available as a web portal and travel app. The new webpage and app is expected to launch at the peak of ski season in early 2014.
The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV), in partnership with the Capital Region’s Center for Economic Growth, the Mohawk Valley’s Central Adirondack Partnership for the 21st Century (CAP-21), and the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (ARTC) are currently working to compile an inventory of tourism amenities and opportunities available in the Adirondack Park that will form the basis of the new website and app. » Continue Reading.