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News of Otsego County

outdoor activities

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.

Tourism promoter: Focus different for 2021

Tourism promoter:
Focus different for 2021

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Otsego County’s tourism efforts are being refocused on outdoor activities, fall weddings and vaccinated out-of-state residents, according to a presentation given to the Otsego County Board of Representatives at its May meeting.

Harrington addressed the Representatives at their meeting, which was held via Zoom, because of the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday, May 5.

She said the group is looking to increase late summer and fall tourism in an effort to boost 2021 bed tax money.

Harrington said her group, which was spun off from the county in 2014 and added Schoharie County as a client two years ago, has shifted to a virtual campaign, allowing it to add several promotional categories and “pages” to its promotional materials.

DMC is launching an outdoor activities website that culls information and links to all the other county locations for hiking, boating, fishing, winter sports and more. Those sites include state parks, Otsego 2000’s Otsego Outdoors website, information about playgrounds, camp sites, hotels and more.

Otsego Looks Outdoors
With Another Tourism Season In Doubt

Otsego Looks Outdoors

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Lori Paparteys and her dog, Bailey, pose during their Otsego Octet Ultra Challenge. Paparteys and Bailey completed the trail challenge in one day.

With tourism dealt another pandemic-related blow last week, Otsego County’s leaders are increasingly turning to outdoor adventures to lure visitors.

“We’re actually in the process right now of trying to launch a massive campaign to tout our outdoor adventure,” said Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing Corporation, which promotes tourism in Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Harrington said the tourism news has been mostly dismal in the week since Cooperstown Dreams Park announced it would require all teams playing at the park’s summer tournaments to be vaccinated for the coronavirus pandemic. The uncertainty of getting vaccinations for children and a hard refund deadline has left dozens of teams in a catch-22, leading to hundreds of reported cancellations.

23 fifth grade students from Milford Central School also completed the Otsego Octet Challenge from Otsego Outdoors.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s winter announcement that it was moving its postponed 2020 Induction Weekend to a virtual event, had already crushed pre-pandemic hopes for a record sized crowd for Derek Jeter’s induction.

However, the reopening of the baseball parks, Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta, was a big pillar of the county’s hopes for a renewed summer of tourism. All-Star Village has not announced similar vaccination requirements for its teams, but the Dreams Park changes make its June opening unlikely, Harrington said.

“Now that the bottom fell out with Dreams Park, our accommodations are dealing with a flood of cancellations,” she said. “So, we really need those outdoor visitors more than ever.”

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