Lake George’s State Legislators Praise Praise Cuomo for Promoting Adirondack Tourism
According to Betty Little, who represents Lake George in the State Senate and chairs its tourism committee, “Our whole economy depends upon tourism. Even hospitals suffer when the weather is bad. There’s no one here to get sick.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo may be from downstate and the opposing party, but when it comes to Adirondack tourism, he wins nothing but praise from Republicans Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec, the former local supervisor who serves on his house’s tourism committee.
Speaking at the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association’s conference at the Sagamore on April 20, Senator Little said, “Governor Cuomo’s support for tourism has been great. He’s moved the issue up the ladder, so to speak. And his ‘Adirondack Challenges,’ to which legislators and officials from around the state come to the Adirondacks to experience our recreational activities, have been of great benefit to the region, attracting publicity and attention.”
On May 15, when Assemblyman Dan Stec spoke at a Legislative Roundtable sponsored by the Association at the Queensbury hotel, he praised recent state initiatives to protect Lake George’s environmental quality and the infrastructure surrounding it, both of which, he said, are needed to encourage regional tourism.
“We need to have a healthy, clean attractive environment to draw people to Lake George, and you have to be able to get them here,” Stec said.
State funding to combat aquatic invasive species, Million Dollar Beach and West Brook improvements in Lake George, and $1 million for a Adirondack information center between Northway Exits 17 and 18 are also positive steps forward, he said.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented level of commitment from the governor’s office for the North Country,” Stec said. “We probably get more than our fair share of his attention. He’s our number one tourist. There’s value to that, which can be marketed.”
Stec also cited a $1 billion statewide broadband initiative as helping promote North Country tourism.
“People want to stay connected,” he said. “They’re more likely to come more often and stay longer if they feel they can keep up with things on the Internet.”
At the Sagamore, Little also spoke about the importance to tourism of reliable internet and mobile phone service.
“Even if a resort has great amenities, without reliable cell phone service, it’s at a disadvantage. It’s a service that people have come to expect,” said Little. “And here in the Adirondacks, that kind of service is necessary not only for the economy, but for people’s health and safety. It helps our search and rescue teams save lives.”
The Cuomo administration has also embraced both new and old technologies, from historical signage to apps, to promote tourism, said Little.
Persuading Amtrak, a federal agency, to accept bicycles on its trains remains a challenge, said Little, who noted that people aren’t allowed to bring bicycles with them, even if they’re boxed, primarily for reasons of space.
Groups have been petitioning Amtrak for a policy change that would provide an economic benefit by encouraging cycling tourism throughout the region.
For example, train passengers getting off in Fort Edward could use the Feeder Canal Trail to reach Glens Falls, a short bicycle ride, and then head north on the Warren County Bikeway to Lake George.
“I have no doubt that foreign visitors who are accustomed to train travel and cycling would jump at the opportunity to do a little exploring upstate if Amtrak makes this accommodation,” said Little. “If anyone has any ideas about how to make it happen, let me know.”