To the News Enterprise:
In regard to your recent piece “NY funds to boost railroad corridor projects,” the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor, this project as any sort of tourism promotion has boondoggle written all over it!
I’m reminded of the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen — “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” To paraphrase the tale — the emperor was swindled to think that his new clothes were made of a magical fabric that is invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or hopelessly stupid. All the emperor's ministers and townspeople keep the pretense. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all!
The First Wilderness Heritage Corridor (FWHC) and Warren County’s Planing Office does offer some great infrastructure project funding opportunities. (Yes, in spite of the $1.4 million train platform snafu). Anything in these small towns is more than welcome. You can quickly get starry eyed looking at the Saratoga Associates Artist conception drawings (1992) — but very little of this has happened. http://www.firstwilderness.com/masterplan.php.
As a tourism promotion tool, FWHC is USELESS! I’m sure the website was required in the grant implementation. Please go to the website (www.firstwilderness.com) and pretend you are a new visitor to the area. (How you even found your way there is another question entirely). There is no search feature. There are no events listed. Businesses are listed alphabetically and not indexed any other way. If you scroll around enough you’ll decide that 1/2 Mile Ranch is the number one lodging and attraction along the “Corridor” (1/2 is first in an alphabetical listing). There is too much tourism crap out there without adding to it. Why not just piggyback the local Chambers, Warren Country Tourism, Visit the Adirondacks, I LOVE NY, and others? Put a FWHC page under Warren County Tourism and be done with it.
I believe Gore Mt. hosted 6,000+ skiers on Friday, Dec. 28. I'll bet not one of them came from FWHC or other useless tourism promotions (ANCA’s Scenic Byways comes to mind — no one uses these). The skiers came from combined PR and promotions by ORDA, Warren County, I LOVE NY, and others.
Johnsburg and North Creek has bigger infrastructure issues that just rallying around the train. Remember that swimming hole we used to have? It is ironic that the FWHC funding has come from New York State Department of State Division of Coastal Resources, aimed primarily at waterfront revitalization.
Johnsburg would do better to fund some research that surveys current visitors. Where do the Railroad visitors come from? What are their expectations? What additional services and amenities would they like to see in Johnsburg? A similar survey could be done for skiers at Gore, Garnet Hill and whitewater rafters Spring, Summer and Fall. There is limited data on any of these activities except Gore’s zip code compilations.
Dick Carlson, North River