Otsego ups its outdoor game

An unidentified family enjoys miniature golf, an outdoor activity that draws a lot of interest in Otsego County. (contributed)

Otsego ups its outdoor game

Marketing efforts switching to recreational activities, including hiking, lake sports

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

In response to the COVID crisis, many people have been seeking fun activities that can also be done safely with social distancing. Outdoor activities seems to be the natural solution and Otsego County has
plenty of outdoor activities to do for those inclined.

Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing, is well versed in outdoor activities for Otsego County. She goes kayaking and said Gilbert Lake State Park is “one of my favorite places to go
hiking.” She said she also plans on going skydiving with Just Jump at the Westville Airport.

So, when she was approached by people looking for things to do in Otsego County that are socially distanced and outdoors, she had the answer.

“During the pandemic, one of the trends people were seeking to do was outdoor activities,” Harrington said, explaining that Otsego County “has a ton of natural resources.”

Destination Marketing started an initiative called Cooperstown Naturally, which aims to introduce those in need of outdoor activities to the plethora of options that exist near Cooperstown and in Otsego County.

Some of these activities include biking, hiking, boating, camping, fishing and more.

Harrington said that the online campaign has been successful and the website serves as a “reference point to where things are.”

At the hiking section of the website, you can search for trails and other activities by narrowing your searches down by town, amenities and activities. Some of the places listed include state parks such as Bear Swamp State Forest, the Cherry Valley State Forest and Neahwa Park in Oneonta.

“We’ve had more than 2,300 engagements on Facebook and Instagram,” Harrington said. “2,400 clicks on Pinterest.”

“Our major audiences for this were mostly people from New York,” Harrington said, who were “not necessarily travelling far because of the pandemic.”

Harrington said that the second largest audiences were people coming from Philadelphia and Boston.

If needed, there are also events and performances in Otsego County that don’t require physical activity.

For instance, the Glimmerglass Festival has outdoor opera performances which are running through the summer.

In addition, Otsego 2000 has listings markets as well as a calendar of events. Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, said it created the website Otsego Outdoors for the purpose of connecting people with various trails and activities in Otsego.

Pope said the website helps people “seek out trails that aren’t as well known.”

She recommends renting or bringing a kayak for going on the Susquehanna River, Goodyear Lake or Otsego Lake.

“We don’t have a ton of white water but we do have a lot of lovely rivers and creeks,” Pope said. She said the Texas House State Forest is “really neat” and “right in the middle of the county.”

Go to www.otsegooutdoors.org or www.thisis cooperstown.com/getouside for more information.

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