Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 30, 2014

HIGGS: Lots to see and do around here

Niagara Gazette — There is still more to see and do on the “Fam” Tour with members working in the tourist industry. Lana Perlman of NTCC organized the tour and she told them that they were “powerful” and gave a few facts and numbers.

Tourism is the second largest employer in Niagara County with 13,900 people employed in the industry. This makes up 19.8 percent of the total workforce in the county. Visitors spend $526 million in Niagara County which saves $748 additional taxes for each household in the county. Tourism sales generate $65,000,000 in state and local taxes. Pretty impressive.

Our first stop in Youngstown was at the harbor area where we met Aaron Day of the Niagara Jet Adventures. A new venture that will operate year round (except when there is ice in the river) as this fleet of boats are technologically advanced and designed specifically for the Niagara River. They offer a geological and historic ride from Youngstown, through Lewiston and the Whirlpool Rapids either “wet” or “dry” carrying 34 passengers and can travel at 75 mph. He told us “spin boats” are coming and their pilots have lots of experience in white water areas in Oregon and Idaho.

At 1:15 p.m. we arrived at Old Fort Niagara and were met by the director, Bob Emerson who walked us through the visitor center, stopping briefly at the historic Fort Niagara’s garrison flag display, taken by the British during a battle of the War of 1812 and finally returned to the fort from its resting place in Scotland by the descendants of Sir Gordon, whose troops had captured it. We viewed the map of the portage, the powder magazine building and the old fort barracks room, officers dining room and the trade room which served the local Native American population as the “Wal-Mart” or “outlet” of the day. Ghost stories were related along with stories of the back and forth of the French and British occupancy with their respective Native American partnership.

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