PLATTSBURGH — The legend of Champ, the fantastical Lake Champlain sea monster, has been a drawing card for North Country communities for centuries, and the Town of Plattsburgh is hoping he/she will draw even more curious visitors.
“We don’t believe we are the only community to claim Champ, but we have this beautiful vista to look out over the lake, and we are one of the gateways to our community, and this is a great way to celebrate our Adirondack Coast,” Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman said.
Cashman and members of the town’s Planning Department, and Champ, of course, officially unveiled a new red historic marker on Route 314 known as the Cumberland Head perimeter road Monday afternoon.
The sign touts the lake as Champ’s home, and the more than 300 reported sightings on the lake since 1819.
It also notes that Champ is officially protected by the state via legislation that was passed in Albany in 1983.
The sign is the courtesy of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s Legends and Lore program.
The program recognizes that “folklore generally describes traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances or art forms of a community shared by word of mouth or observation. Whether based in fiction or truth or somewhere in between, folklore comprise the things people believe, say, do and make.
Folklore can be expressed in numerous ways, including as legends, folktales, myths and superstitions.”
Cashman said having a sign featuring Champ is kind of a whimsical way of aiding in attracting tourism to the region, which already boasts a rich history and long menu of recreational opportunities for visitors.
“People like to go look for the biggest ball of yarn or things like that, well, now they can come here to see where Champ lives,” Cashman said.
Kristy Kennedy, vice president of marketing/director of tourism for the Plattsburgh/North Country Chamber of Commerce, said such items do help attract people to the region.
“We’re excited to have another thing to point people to,” she said.
“It helps grow the region as a destination.”
Port Henry in southern Essex County has long claimed to be the home of Champ.
Cashman said it is not about competing with their fellow Lake Champlain community.
“We are just joining them in celebration of Champ,” he said.
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