Whitehall in National Geographic web spotlight

W hitehall will be well represented on a Lakes to Locks and National Geographic co-branded website that will be unveiled next week in Glens Falls.

The interactive site, which aims to promote Geotourism in the region that represents the Lakes to Locks corridor, features more than ten contributions from Whitehall, including historical, cultural, recreational and commercial attractions.

Drew Alberti, program manager and portal editor for the Lakes to Lock’s Passage, said his group will unveil the site from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Crandall Public Library on Glens Street in Glens Falls.

 “There are a lot of websites out there and we understand that, but the difference is its local and will help create a unified brand throughout the area,” Alberti said.

During the presentation, Keynote Speaker Representative Paul Tonko will “throw the switch” making the interactive map guide live.

In an interview with the Whitehall Times earlier this year, Janet Kennedy, executive director of Lakes to Locks, described the site as “a combination of social media and travel website.”

“I think it can have an exponential impact on small businesses and other attractions. It’s grassroots, home-grown content. It’s National Geographic created, and it’s cobranded with Lakes to Locks,” she said at the time. “It benefits exactly the kind of tourism we have in this area, and it’s a tool that could be of use to local residents as well.”

The site will be multi-layered with an interactive map powered by Google and will have unlimited room for text, images, audio, video and pdf’s. It will also have a number of interactive social media functions, including the ability to rate, comment and share the site with other people in your personal network of friends.

“It’s meant to be a social site as much as a visitor’s guide.  It’s supposed to contain local perspective which is why it’s important to have the information come from local people,” Alberti said. “Our mission is to tell the story of the individual places along the corridor. It’s important to what we do. We want to encourage people to get out and explore these places.”

For the past six months, residents, community organizations, tourism and stakeholders have had the opportunity to contribute information about the destinations and experiences that capture the essence and character of the people, places and things throughout the region.

Alberti said people have made between 300 and 400 contributions to the site already and they will continue to have the opportunity to do so.

Nominations made by 5 p.m. on Sept. 23 will be included when the site is launched next week and contributions will continue to be taken after its’ launch as well.

Local attractions that will be included on the site when its launched are Smokin’ on the Water restaurant (although it’s closed, they still offer catering), Finch and Chubb restaurant, the Skenesborough Museum, Lock 12, the Skene Manor, the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and the USS Ticonderoga.

The site will feature several attractions in Granville as well, including the Pember Library and Museum and the Slate Valley Museum.

Alberti said there are also a number of thematic itineraries from throughout Washington and Saratoga counties that will be included, such as the Turning Point Trail, which details General Burgoyne’s Journey from Ticonderoga to Saratoga, the Champlain Canal Boater’s Itinerary, and a “Whitehall: Waypoint Community.”

Because the site is created and driven by National Geographic, the site has the potential for enormous web traffic.

It will be coupled with other sites created or partnered with by National Geographic and may even qualify for federal funding from the Tourism Promotion Act, which was passed by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

“Twenty-thousand people have already seen the website, from New York, Boston, Buffalo and other points around the world,” Alberti said.

The site will also be co-mingled with mobile applications so users will be able to connect via their phone or tablet device.

The Lakes to Locks Passage involved the communities along the interconnected waterway of the Upper Hudson River, Champlain Canal, Lake George, Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. The project has been funded through a Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byway Program, with matching funds provided by the NYS Department of Transportation. It runs from Troy to Rouses Point and with an agreement with the province of Quebec, it continues to Sorel on the St. Lawrence River.

Although the site will include limited information about attractions in Canada at its unveiling, officials are working on integrating more the region into the site as they move forward.

When it’s launched the site will replace the current Lakes to Locks site.

To make nominate locations to be included on the site, visit www.lakestolocks.org.





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