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October 5, 2012

Wild Center wins funding for maple project

TUPPER LAKE — The Wild Center will receive $158,120 through the Northern Border Regional Commission for its Northern New York Maple Project.

The Wild Center, located in Tupper Lake, has partnered with Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretative Center on the project, which will help train local maple producers, create maple-sugaring demonstration sites and promote growth in the industry.

The commission estimates the project will create 40 jobs in the region.

Wild Center Executive Director Stephanie Ratcliffe said they are thrilled to have received funds for the project. They are looking forward to working with their partners, the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program and the Visitors Interpretive Center.

“This project really builds on the region’s natural assets. It promotes sustainable economic development through a region-wide encouragement of micro enterprises,” Ratcliffe said in a press release.

“Tourists want authentic experiences when they visit the northern forest area. The maple industry here has a rich and long tradition that this project will help highlight. This is truly sweet news.”

Funding for the Wild Center will be matched by the partners for a total project cost of $258,656. 

The funding, by U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens, also includes $123,500 for the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena to construct a rail spur on the existing CSX St. Lawrence Subdivision.

The Wild Center “stands ready and able to unleash the untapped potential of our maple syrup industry, and this investment would help them do just that,” Schumer said in a statement.

Gillibrand said the funding represents important investments.

“These initiatives will help create and sustain good-paying jobs in the North Country,” she said.

Owens said it is a perfect example of putting the unique assets and characteristics of the region to good use for job creation and economic development.

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