Niagara Gazette

Opinion

October 10, 2013

GLYNN: Visitors seem confused about state park status

Niagara Gazette — The federal government shutdown, as you might expect, has raised countless questions including what parks, attractions and vacation spots are affected. After all, that could have a major impact on travelers’ itineraries as well as the tourist industry in general.

To address that concern, the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. provides a recorded telephone message for visitors inquiring about the natural wonder here. Basically, callers are reminded that the Niagara Falls State Park — the oldest such park in the U.S. — is still open seven days a week. It is not any part of the National Park Service, the sites owned and operated by the federal government.

It’s incredible the number of people who simply don’t realize the difference, according to NTCC President John Percy. Such confusion could severely impact the traditional influx of off-season tourists, he noted. The Niagara area has always been high on the list of favorite stopovers for the thousands of fall visitors to the Finger Lakes, Corning Glass Center and Letchworth State Park, among other destinations. 

Actually there are few tourist attractions or related facilities the federal government operates in Western New York. One is the Theodore Roosevelt Site on Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, where TR was inaugurated after President McKinley was assassinated in September 1901 while visiting the Pan-American Exposition. in the Queen City.

“We were swamped with calls from people who were concerned whether this site (Niagara Falls State Park) was still open,” Percy said. He noted that October is an ideal time for many travelers (e.g leaf peepers) and motorcoach tours. Losing any part of that business as the result of misinformation could deal a severe blow to the tourist trade here. Angela Berti, public relations and marketing director for the regional state parks agency, also has been assisting the NTCC to get the word out to hoteliers and others in the hospitality industry that the Cataract City remains open and ready to welcome visitors.

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