Chamber gearing up for tourism

Mark Kilmer, president/CEO of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, gives a tourism report to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors' Economic Development and Environment Committee Wednesday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN –The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce has launched a “regional tourism workgroup” whose inaugural meeting will be conducted March 13 in Canajoharie.

Chamber President/CEO Mark Kilmer mentioned the initiative during a tourism report he gave to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee Wednesday at the County Office Building.

“The idea is to exchange ideas and get information from this workgroup,” he said.

Kilmer said the first meeting of the regional tourism workgroup will be at 9 a.m. March 13 at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie. That meeting will be followed by a presentation of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor’s tourism research results.

All tourism entities in the bi-county area are invited to attend the meetings, Kilmer said. Future meetings of the workgroup will discuss various tourism topics and the sessions will be held two to four times per year. Meeting locations will rotate throughout the two counties.

“It’s just in the formative stages now,” Kilmer said.

Also in the chamber tourism report:

∫ Kilmer reported the recent 10th Annual Walleye Ice Fishing Challenge on the Great Sacandaga Lake had 54 percent participation from people living outside Fulton County, including 11 to 13 states that included Minnesota and Wisconsin residents.

“The weather was excellent for the event and President’s Day Weekend seemed to work well,” Kilmer reported. “The committee plans to keep the event on that weekend going forward.”

He said the event had 1,750 entrants and he would like to see 2,000 next year. Over 300 fish were entered in the event, including the largest of 5.2 pounds.

“Several hundred thousand dollars came into the county during that weekend,” Kilmer said.

∫ Kilmer said the chamber is seeking event information to take when chamber officials attend an upcoming Adirondack Sports & Fitness Spring/Summer Expo March 17 and 18 in Saratoga Springs. He said that information includes 5K events, triathlons, kayaking and paddling events.

“I’m finding, personally, that it’s a great event to go to,” Kilmer said.

∫ The chamber has been promoting a new cooperative marketing program for Fulton County attractions and organizations that hold tourism-related events, Kilmer said.

“That is moving along very well,” he said. “We do have some information on that right now on the 44 lakes website.”

Kilmer was referring to the chamber’s website.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at