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North Country residents work to attract tourists
With the summer tourism season officially underway, one area is renewing its efforts to get people to think about a different kind of vacation. One that takes tourists to the North Country. Our Cara Thomas tells us how towns along the St. Lawrence River are doing what they can to make their town a vacation destination.
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WADDINGTON, N.Y. -- During the summer months, families looking to get away often look toward the Adirondacks. But what many don’t realize is there is plenty more to see north of there. Small towns with lots of potential. Like the river front Town of Waddington, which receives visitors from both sides of the Canadian border.
John Steen from the Waddington Chamber of Commerce said, "A lot of them have heard about our restaurants and our stores, so they come up and take a walk down Main Street."
Visitors to Waddington can pass through by car or by boat, with the St. Lawrence River right nearby. And with historical buildings and sites as well as annual fishing tournaments in the area, people come from all over the nation.
St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce CEO Pat McKowen said, "We have more than 200 lakes rivers and streams and every one of those bodies of water is packed with fish. We have every species of fish known to human beings."
But the bountiful river doesn't bring in as many people to the North Country as locals would hope. The Thousand Islands region in New York made more than $450 million last year in tourist revenue. And while the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce says that is a good number, they know it could be higher.
"Right now, we're looking at tourism as the key to our future," said McKowen.
And they are trying to capitalize on that future with events and festivals planned throughout the summer season as they try to draw attention to the area's smaller towns.
Steen said, "Really, every weekend, somewhere down the line, there's something going on."
One of those events is the annual Junior Carp Tournament this August, which attracts families from across the country. And this summer, there will be numerous music and homecoming festivals all aimed at bringing in those extra tourism dollars.
To learn more about summer events and festivals, visit northcountryguide.com.