Sackets Harbor, NY â€“ The new look Great Lakes Seaway Trail has been revealed and good economic impact news along with it.
On a 3-day, 6-stop tour, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Reveal and Economic Development road show unveiled a new look for the 32-year-old, 518-mile byway that leisurely parallels the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania.
â€œThe Great Lakes enhanced name and new look for the Seaway Trail has refreshed interest in this unique 518-mile freshwater byway system by local, domestic and international visitors and by those who travel for various theme reasons such as maritime heritage, military history, nature and birdwatching, cultural America and outdoor recreation,â€ said Seaway Trail, Inc. President and CEO Teresa Mitchell.
Business owners, tourism and community leaders, highway officials, regional residents, and travelers attended events to celebrate the Seaway Trailâ€™s history as one of Americaâ€™s Byways, a National Recreation Trail, a New York and Pennsylvania Bike Route, and an AAA â€œquintessential road tripâ€ and to share their renewed excitement about the natural, scenic, historic, recreational and cultural economic engine that runs through 86 freshwater shoreline communities.
The executive officers of the not-for-profit Seaway Trail, Inc. based in Sackets Harbor, took their â€œlocation â€“ location – location byway brandâ€ message of good economic news to Ogdensburg, Sackets Harbor, Webster, and Niagara Falls, NY and Erie, PA.
Seaway Trail, Inc. Chairman and Pulaski, NY, businessman Charles Krupke said, â€œIn the past five years, Seaway Trail, Inc. has received and completed $1.2 million in federal scenic byway project-based grants and currently has more Trailwide federally-funded economic initiatives underway.â€
â€œThe Great Lakes Seaway Trail partners with local businesses, groups and municipalities to enhance the visitor experience through programming that invites interest in the 11-county, two-state region as a complete travel experience,â€ said Seaway Trail, Inc. Vice-Chair John Hall, a principal with Cannon Design, Grand Island, NY.
â€œThe new rallying call to tourists is that Great Lakes Seaway Trail can be traveled in your time, at your pace, in your style. There is a diversity of travel experience to be found here and Seaway Trail, Inc. has set the model for byway development for the other Americaâ€™s Byways across the United States,â€ said Great Lakes Seaway Trail Secretary David G. White, a coastal recreation and tourism specialist with New York Sea Grant, Oswego, NY.
A variety of speakers highlighted Great Lakes Seaway Trail theme and activity-based projects. In Sackets Harbor, NY, and appropriate to Juneâ€™s recent Presidential proclamation as Great Outdoors Month, Diane Kuehn, an outdoor recreation and ecotourism assistant professor with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, outlined recent survey results and opportunities to enhance the byway as a bicycle touring destination.
At Webster, NY, east of Rochester, Great Lakes Seaway Trail GeoTrail developer Jim Hooper detailed the new high-tech treasure hunting adventure that will draw GPS users to the byway in search of 75 hidden caches that will debut later this summer with five newly-minted, Great Lakes Seaway Trail Geo-Coins available to those most successful at finding the byway-branded caches.
A new Circle the Great Lakes War of 1812 traveler guidebook, brochure and matching Great Lakes Seaway Trail â€œoutdoor storytellerâ€ interpretive signs are in development. Mitchell told audiences that marketing the bywayâ€™s cultural, military and maritime heritage is aimed at 118 million adults that participate in cultural or heritage activities when traveling and spend an average of $994 per trip (US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council study).
Seaway Trail, Inc. has recently published â€œWaterways of War: A Travelerâ€™s Guide to 19 French and Indian War Forts and Battlefields along Americaâ€™s Byways in New York and Pennsylvaniaâ€ and a â€œGreat Lakes Seaway Trail Birdingâ€ field guide that are generating revenues for Seaway Trail member sites, bookstores and gift shops Trailwide, including the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center Gift Shop at the organizationâ€™s headquarters in Sackets Harbor, NY.
The byway leaders invited interest in Great Lakes Seaway Trail program partnership opportunities and membership in Seaway Trail, Inc. Hall said, â€œAll of these Great Lakes Seaway Trail initiatives and other efforts are making a positive return on the investment made in the byway by our member businesses, corporate partners, the federal National Scenic Byway program, and, in past years, by the New York State legislature,â€ said Hall. â€œThese projects not only bring economic benefit to our communities, they make both our urban and rural areas more livable and inviting.â€
For more information, contact Great Lakes Seaway Trail, PO Box 660, Ray & West Main St, Sackets Harbor, NY, 315-646-1000, www.seawaytrail.com. #