Effort aims to boost tourism

FORT PLAIN – Fort Plain Museum Chairman Norm Bollen announced the museum is taking the lead in organizing a new marketing association for the Mohawk Valley’s numerous 18th century historic sites.

“The initiative is an outgrowth of the state’s Path Through History project” Bollen said in a news release.

The state Regional Economic Development program had focused attention on the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, and officials said there has been an increase in tourism in the region.

The group led by the museum aims to promote eight historic sites in western Montgomery County, all within four to six miles of Exit 29 on the New York State Thruway, which is located in Canajoharie.

The goal, Bollen said in the news release, is to tap into the numbers of touring motorists passing by each summer on the Thruway.

Billed as “Mohawk Country, America’s First Frontier” the association’s first marketing effort will target July when vacation travel is at its peak, Bollen said.

The hope is to have each of the sites in the western Montgomery County area open for tours to the public at that time.

The association will also work to improve the visitor’s experience by working with historic sites to update exhibits and train site interpreters.

Re-enactors in period dress will be employed as tour guides and self-guided cell phone tours are also in the works, according to a news release. If successful, the association will begin the process of transforming the middle Mohawk Valley into a heritage tourist destination, the release stated.

Officials, in a news release, said since the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission ceased to exist there has been no single association working to promote historic preservation and heritage tourism.

“We hope to fill that void,”?Bollen said. “Preserving our heritage both public and private while working to bring tourists into the region to eat in our restaurants and spend money in our stores is just good business.”

The initial start-up group includes the Fort Plain Museum, Fort Klock, Isaac Paris House, Nellis Tavern, Van Alstyne Homestead, Stone Arabia Church, Palatine Church and the Margaret Reaney Library.

For more information on Mohawk Country, call Bollen at 423-3701 or e-mail mohawkcountryusa@yahoo.com