Adirondack-themed Gateway Supports Regional Tourism and Products
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art Adirondacks Welcome Center rest area in Queensbury, Warren County. The Welcome Center will serve as a comfortable, modern gateway to the Adirondacks region, promoting local attractions and providing a family-friendly respite for travelers heading into New York's six-million-acre Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected park in the contiguous United States.
"Tourism is a key economic driver for New York, and the new Adirondacks Welcome Center will attract even more new and returning visitors to enjoy the unparalleled views and countless outdoor activities offered in this region," Governor Cuomo said. "This new gateway will provide millions of Northway travelers a warm welcome as they arrive to the beautiful Adirondack Park, driving tourism and promoting economic growth across our great state."
"The Adirondacks is a gem to the state and the nation, and we're improving the experience for visitors," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The new Adirondacks Welcome Center - four times the size of the previous buildings - will feature some of the best amenities, attractions, and New York products. We're putting the Adirondacks on the global tourism map while creating jobs and growing the economy."
The new Welcome Center features an Adirondacks Walk of Fame leading to a new, 8,615 square-foot, LEED certifiable building - more than four times the size of the buildings that serviced the rest area for decades. The new building is designed in a classic Adirondack theme and offers expanded parking and restroom facilities. The building has a host of environmentally friendly features, including geothermal water source heat pumps for both heating and cooling the building, LED light fixtures, electric car charging stations, recyclables collection, water efficient landscaping, and energy efficient windows and doors. Additionally, in time for boating season next spring, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will open a boat inspection and washing station at the facility to help prevent the spread of invasive species and preserve biodiversity within the Adirondack Park.
The new Welcome Center contains I LOVE NY interactive kiosks, which highlight regional attractions and tourism destinations. The Welcome Center has an Adirondacks floor map and an I LOVE NY selfie wall with a decommissioned ski chairlift from Gore Mountain Ski Resort. For family travelers, an outdoor children's play area with a zip line is available, along with a pet comfort area, free Wi-Fi, cell phone charging stations, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. Food and beverages sourced from the region and other locations in New York will be showcased in nine state-of-the-art vending machines.
The Adirondacks Welcome Center is located on a 22-acre lot on the northbound side of Adirondack Northway (I-87), just over the Saratoga County line between the Hudson River and Exit 18. The Adirondack Park includes the Lake George region and Lake Placid, New York State's winter playground, rich with Olympic history.
Video of the new welcome center is available here.
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "The new Adirondacks Welcome Center provides travelers a safe, convenient place to rest and it highlights the North Country's tremendous assets: spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities galore. We are proud to be part of helping to create world-class Welcome Centers that promote all that New York State has to offer."
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The Adirondacks Welcome Center will serve as a gateway to the North Country, where agriculture is a longtime tradition for many families. From maple syrup to dairy to apples, the region's farmers produce a diverse array of products. The Taste NY offerings at the Welcome Center will help showcase North Country homegrown and homemade foods and beverages, while reminding visitors of the local farms and businesses they can stop in and see during their travels."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The Adirondacks Welcome Center will offer an inviting taste of the food, beverages, attractions and culture that make the region a New York State treasure and a top destination for visitors who drive our thriving tourism industry."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo understands the power of the Adirondack Park to draw millions of outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to New York to experience its unrivaled natural beauty each year. The new Adirondacks Welcome Center rest area is an extraordinary facility befitting the Adirondack Park and reflective of the State's commitment to responsibly and sustainably promoting tourism that both celebrates and protects this national treasure."
Senator Betty Little said, "You have one chance to make a great first impression, which for a tourism region like ours is so important. This new and much more appealing rest area is fitting of the region's hospitality. It is welcoming and informational and accommodating. For many years, the rest area has been in need of major improvement. This new Welcome Center far exceeds what I and others envisioned but it does a much better job reflecting what we're about and all we have to offer."
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "The Adirondacks Welcome Center showcases the countless reasons for visitors to spend more time in the Adirondack Park. From the region's historical gems to its natural beauty and fantastic local businesses, this new facility will provide a warm welcome to visitors new and old. This investment will further grow the tourism industry in the Adirondacks, creating increased economic opportunities throughout the state along with providing environmental safeguards against invasive species."
Queensbury Town Supervisor John Strough said, "The Adirondacks is one of most beautiful, exciting regions in our state. This new state-of-the-art Welcome Center will be a modern gateway for both new and returning visitors, providing information relating to local attractions, places to visit and things to do. I thank Governor Cuomo for this important investment in our region."
Matthew J. Simpson, President, Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages said, "This new Welcome Center will highlight so much of what our incredible region offers, showcasing our breathtaking outdoor spaces and recreational activities. It is a great enhancement to our state's tourism industry that will continue to attract more and more visitors to our great state. I commend Governor Cuomo for his commitment to enhancing tourism in our region and all of New York State."
Since taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo has made unprecedented investments in the tourism industry throughout the State, resulting in historic levels of visitors and direct spending. Last year, New York welcomed a record 243.8 million visitors who spent $67.6 billion, generating a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the fourth straight year. Tourism is now the state's third largest employer, supporting 938,800 jobs annually.
More than 12.4 million people visited the Adirondacks region last year - over 460,000 visitors more than 2016, and a nearly 20 percent increase since 2011. Regional tourism generates more than $1.4 billion in direct visitor spending, including $178 million in State and local taxes, and supports more than 21,300 jobs across six counties.
The Taste NY program has played a considerable role in helping to increase tourism across New York State. Through vending machines located on the premises, Taste NY will have an important presence at the new Welcome Center. A list of local businesses offering products in the vending machines is available here.