By DENISE A. RAYMO Press-Republican
---- — MALONE — Titus Mountain Family Ski Center and the Wild Center are both planning expansions.
Representatives from each site shared their plans Friday during the first meeting of the Franklin County Tourism Advisory Committee.
The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will create a $5.5 million Wild Walk, an elevated walkway to take visitors 40 feet above the grounds to get even closer to nature, said Director Stephanie Radcliff.
“This will position us to be more than a rainy-day option,” she said, adding that it fits into the center’s mission of increasing interaction and appreciation of the outdoors.
“We’ll guide you into nature and guide you to look at nature from a new perspective,” Radcliff said.
The work will be completed by the summer 2015.
Titus Mountain in Malone is upgrading its snow-making equipment this year so all three of its mountains will have the capability of producing plenty of powder for its guests, said owner Bruce Monette.
He said the increased snow cover is bound to attract even more Canadian visitors.
Radcliff and Monette are members of the nine-person committee that will determine how future county tourism dollars are spent, as well as any fees collected from a proposed 5 percent occupancy tax on overnight guests, if state lawmakers pass the measure.
County Tourism Administrator Fawn Tatro piloted the inaugural meeting and quickly outlined the existing tourism efforts and 2014 budget schedule.
All agreed that meeting with regional tourism officials and contracted marketing firms to learn about tourism initiatives already in place is the priority.
They will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, at the Wild Center to hash out a budget proposal for 2014 to submit to County Manager Thomas Leitz. They will then tour Tupper Lake venues to get a feel for potential development and promotion.
After that, the committee will determine how often it should meet, its structure and the overall goals.
Committee members also include Lesley Lyon, owner of Sunday Pond Bed and Breakfast in Lake Clear; Derek Sprague of the Malone Golf Club; Julian Hutton, manager of The Point in Tupper Lake; Chris LaBarge, owner of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Malone; Michelle Clement, events coordinator for Tupper Lake; Gil Paddock of Deer River Campsite in Malone; and Frank Allen, marketing director of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort.
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