To the Editor:
Recently I attended the Fort Ticonderoga/Town of Ticonderoga meeting that was offered by the fort management staff to give residents of Ti insight into the long-range mission of the fort and the rationale for some of the changes implemented this year. I thought it was an excellent presentation by the department heads with an emphasis on openness and efforts to forge a cooperative relationship with the town and its people, as Ticonderoga tries to rebuild the downtown and Main Street for the future.
It is a fact that change is often seen as a negative thing when it affects our own personal lives in some way. However, I urge folks to remember that the fort is a private corporation and it is in business for the purpose of maintaining, preserving and protecting this historical landmark for present and future generations. In my opinion, Ticonderoga town is being offered an opportunity to capitalize on the thousands of tourists that grace the fort each season and now on a yearly basis. The fort’s involvement of Mount Defiance and the LaChute River corridor in their programs is one example. I hope that under the umbrella of the TRA (Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance) with TMSP (Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership) and all the other organizations involved, that Ticonderoga town as well as our residents will take advantage of having “America’s Fort” in our backyard.
There have been some negative responses to the dirt road entrance or the requirement of an Ambassador’s card in order to frequent the restaurant or store, which affords Ti residents free access to all other areas of the fort as well. That is quite a gift and more than most businesses can afford to give. Further, it was not many years ago that all of our roads were dirt – horses love dirt roads and so do Vermont folks. It could be viewed as part of the charm and some of Vermont’s tourism success has taken advantage of just such charm. I wonder if we are so sophisticated in Ticonderoga that we don’t want to drive on a dirt road or do we just hate to be inconvenienced in even a minor way. Shame on us.
Beth Hill (Fort Ti executive director) emphasized that these changes are part of the fort’s transition to a more interesting, authentic, marketable and solvent place to visit. A very large part of its mission is to stay in business and survive even in poor economic times, not only for Ticonderoga, but also for our historical past and future. Several of the fort’s current board members are residents of Ticonderoga, who care deeply for the town as well as the fort.
Therefore, as a town let’s get behind the fort, enjoy what we have been offered and begin to think of all the good that could arise from a great partnership. “Remember thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.”