Press-Republican

February 3, 2014

Web portal connects Adirondack dots

KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

LAKE PLACID — A new tourism tool is open for Adirondack travelers to explore.

Visit Adirondacks launched recently with rave reviews.

Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said the shared web entrance brings the majesty of this region to people’s fingertips.

“The portal is interactive and user-friendly and my hope — expectation really — because it’s so good, is once people visiting the portal see what we have to offer, they won’t be able to resist a real visit,” she said in a news release.

The Adirondack portal encompasses all corners of park adventure: from the Lake Champlain shore to Tug Hill Plateau, from Blue Mountain Lake to Lake Placid and Lake George, providing a vast menu of places to visit and things to see both indoors and out.

The online resource includes trip-planning guides and sample itineraries, drawing from what its builders say is 4,000 travel data sets.

FIRST TIMERS 

The online site includes a page especially designed for people looking to explore the Adirondack Park for the first time.

It spells out the size and scope of the 6 million-acre wilderness with an invitation: “There are no fees to enter, no gates that close at night, just wilderness and the promise of adventure.”

Web pages also draw attention to the 100-plus towns and villages inside the blue Adirondack Park map boundaries with its human treasure: rustic architecture, Olympic history, artisans, farms, lodging, camping places, guides, restaurants and outdoor recreation.

PARTNERSHIP

Called Visit Adirondacks, the project was developed in cooperation with two Regional Economic Development Councils — the Mohawk Valley and North Country councils — and support from the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, the Center for Economic Growth and the Central Adirondack Partnership for the 21st Century.

“With this website, we are making it easy for visitors to find and choose the activities and attractions they want to explore,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

“I applaud all the partners who collaborated on this initiative that will boost our efforts to promote the local tourism industry and create new economic opportunities for the region.”

Michael Tucker, president of the Center for Economic Growth in Albany, said the trip-planning portal is “an excellent example of neighboring regions working collaboratively to promote economic development.”

Funding for the tourism research and website build came from Empire State Development.

Empire State Development Commissioner and CEO Kenneth Adams said tourists, park residents and local businesses all benefit from increased connectivity.

The object of this portal, he said, is to spur “economic development and growth across a vast expanse of Upstate New York.”

GOING MOBILE

In coming weeks, Visit Adirondacks will add a mobile app with the same planning options as the website.

Tony Collins, co-chair of the North Country Council and president of Clarkson University, said the web presence highlights access to the state-owned park lands and natural resources.

And the shared portal, he said, is a step toward sustainability among park communities.

“Governor Cuomo’s community-based approach to economic development and Empire State Development’s support of initiatives across regions are creating the foundation for sustainable economic growth across New York,” Collins said in a release.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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CHECK THE SITE

Find the Visit Adirondacks web portal at: visitadirondacks.com.

The trip options section addresses specific needs, with resources for Handicap Access, Family Travel, Traveling with Pets and Geographic Areas, to name a few.

As portal users click a selection, they also get a list of neighboring amenities and resources, including restaurants, shops, lodging facilities and attractions.