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Chamber officials say they’re interested in RiverQuest tourism initiative

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MASSENA — Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce officials said they would be interested in becoming part of a tourist initiative called “RiverQuest” after listening to a presentation about the effort.

“It’s under investigation and discussion. As a chamber, we would be very interested in being involved,” board President Miriam S. Catapano said.

She, along with chamber Associate Director Penny M. Pullmain, Mayor James F. Hidy and Thomas G. Sullivan, executive director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, attended a recent presentation on RiverQuest.

RiverQuest is an initiative created and launched by the Aquatarium in Brockville, Ontario, with a focus on the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River.

The project’s partners represent communities from Cornwall and Massena in the east to Sackets Harbor and Kingston, Ontario, in the west.

“It’s a program that incorporates municipalities along the river, from Clayton to Massena and Brockville to Cornwall. What they do is mass market the area and highlight the attractions each municipality has,” Mr. Hidy said.

“In Massena, it’s the Power Authority, the Hawkins Point Visitors Center and the Seaway locks,” he said. “Massena will be one of five points they would market as a tourist destination and they would place a kiosk at the visitors center that connects all the places along the river.”

“It highlights points of interest along the way, kind of this range of interests in the area that tourists and visitors can come to,” former chamber Director Connie Jenkins said.

Ms. Pullmain said kiosks would be placed on each side of the river, each highlighting destinations, as well as providing visitors with an opportunity to play a game as they visit tourist attractions.

“They accumulate points and eventually get prizes. It would be questions about the place they’re at and other places,” she said.

The chamber already highlights RiverQuest on its website, which Ms. Pullmain said means it is technically a “friend” of the initiative.

By joining the initiative, RiverQuest would include Massena as one of the destinations for visitors.

Among its highlighted destinations now are 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises; the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton; the Aquatarium in Brockville, which will open to the public in April; Boldt Castle near Alexandria Bay; Clayton Island Tours; Clayton Opera House; Chrysler Park Marine; Frederic Remington Art Museum, Ogdensburg; Lost Villages Historical Society; and Singer Castle, Dark Island.

“It’s a good thing because they’re mass marketing the whole region,” Mr. Hidy said. “We have an opportunity to work with a very professional and well-established marketing firm. It’s an honor to be asked to participate.”

More information about the initiative and tourism opportunities is available at www.1000islandsriverquest.com.

Johnson Newspapers writer Benny Fairchild contributed to this report.

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