Tourism is a major economic driver in Fulton County.
The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce works diligently to promote the destination, helping local businesses thrive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, much of that was related to the county’s natural beauty and businesses that help vacationers and locals alike to enjoy it.
With 44 lakes and 74,832 acres of wild forest, there is a cornucopia of activities to suit every taste. Fulton County houses 59 percent of New York State’s famed Adirondack Park, providing 533 square miles to explore. “I focused on promoting fishing, biking, boating, hiking, camping, rail trails, and outdoor historical sites—every outdoor activity that promoted natural social distancing,” said Anne Boles, Tourism Director for both Fulton and Montgomery Counties.
“I worked with many shops, lodging, and restaurants to see how we could help them,” Boles said. This included social media promotions and adding them to a list of open businesses with specifics on hours and offerings.
Boles also created a Bingo Card promotion for the chamber’s Facebook page and website, encouraging people to patronize local eateries, thus supporting them during the shutdown.
The chamber organized several events to get people out to various recreational sites and establishments throughout the county.
One of these was “Fulton County Outdoor Adventure Day,” inviting people to out and pursue activities like hunting, fishing, antiquing, biking, and other outings on the Route 20/Route 29 Corridor, with exhibits, vendors, crafters, food, and beverages along the way.
The chamber also inaugurated a Farmer’s Market at the Fulton County Visitor Center in Broadalbin. It met with so much success that the chamber repeated it in 2021.
In June 2021, Boles created the Fulton County 44 Lakes Craft Beverage Trail, working with local brewers, cider makers, and distillers to promote the sampling of local craft beverages, giving exposure to new businesses.
Boles stressed that the attractions followed social distancing guidelines and employed the safest cleaning and sanitizing measures to ensure the well-being of visitors and residents of the local community.
NOT JUST FOR TOURISTS
While the local economy benefits from the chamber’s tourism efforts, the promotion of recreational activities and establishments benefits the local population as well.
At a time when there are more jobs available than people to fill them, those looking for employment are considering not only their wages, but also the overall quality of life that would come with a job.
Fulton County employers offer their employees an excellent, affordable quality of life with a vast wealth of recreational and cultural opportunities to suit a wide range of interests.
The county provides year-round, high-quality experiences for local residents as well as tourists. Here is a small sampling of activities to try in Fulton County.
Hike your heart out…or just get out for a leisurely stroll in nature.
The Adirondacks boasts 46 high peaks and dozens of easier hikes. In addition, Fulton County is home to many hiking trailheads that lead hikers on short hikes to multi-day treks. The Fulton County Tourism Department also hosts the Fulton County Five Hiking Challenge, which includes a hike up to Kane Mountain where there is a fire tower that affords visitors a stunning view of the mountains and nearby Caroga Lake. The Willie Wildlife Marsh trail, also part of the challenge, is an easy walk across the marsh on a boardwalk, and one new trail is a short, accessible trail that leads to a viewing platform and picnic area.
Get out on (or in) the water.
Fulton County is home to the Great Sacandaga Lake, a 29-mile-long reservoir with 115 miles of shoreline covering 25,000 acres. In addition, Fulton County boasts 43 other smaller lakes as well as ponds and streams where people can experience the water while swimming or on a vessel–anything from personal watercraft like kayaks and canoes to larger pontoon boats, sailboats, and motorboats.
Catch a big fish…or some smaller ones.
Fulton County is high on the list of the best places to fish in New York State. For example, Caroga Lake has distinct east and west sections. East Caroga is where fishermen find warmwater varieties like largemouth bass, pickerel, crappie, panfish, and bullhead, as well as the brown and rainbow trout with which the lake is stocked, according to fishing expert Captain Stephen George. The deeper West Caroga has a good population of splake, perch, and smallmouth bass. This lake is a year-round destination, as people can ice fish there in the winter. Nearby Canada Lake is known for its trout fishing, and Peck’s Lake, part of a resort and accessed by Peck Marina, offers a chance to catch trout, walleye, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. Fulton County is also the place where thousands of fishermen gather from around the region each winter for the Walleye Challenge Ice Fishing Derby.
Experience a hunter’s paradise.
Fulton County encompasses both the southern and northern zones for hunting in New York state. Hunters flock to the area each year to hunt for deer, bear, pheasant, turkey, waterfowl, and other migratory game birds and small game mammals.
Bike Thru History.
If you’re looking to combine some exercise with a history lesson, the website https://www.mohawkvalleyhistory.com/bike-thru-history is a great place to find an itinerary. Routes range from a few minutes ride to an hours-long trek. A 1.4-mile roundtrip route takes cyclists from Johnson Hall, the 1763 estate of Sir William Johnson, to the Johnstown Historical Society and back. The moderate, 10.6-mile ride from the Fulton County Museum to Johnson Hall follows the old FJ & G Rail Trail. For serious cyclists, there is a 45-mile route starting from the Caroga Historical Association and ending at the Paul Bradt Museum in Northville on the shores of the Great Sacandaga Lake.
Walkers can get their history on, too, with a tour of Johnstown’s Historic Quadrangle Corner or a “Walk in the Footsteps of Elizabeth Cady Stanton,” the famed 1800s women’s rights leader who was born in Johnstown.
Hit a hole in one.
Fulton County’s historic golf courses offer the opportunity to golf right in the splendor of the Adirondack Mountains at courses with affordable prices for beginners to seasoned golfers.
Spend winter outdoors.
Fulton County is home to two ski areas accommodating both downhill and cross-country skiers. Royal Mountain makes its own snow and offers 13 trails suitable for all skill levels. Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center is a prime place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Fulton County is also a snowmobiler’s delight with 400 miles of groomed trails maintained by local snowmobile clubs.
Relax after a great day of recreation.
After hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, or skiing, relax with a beverage handcrafted right in Fulton County. The new 44 Lakes Craft Beverage Trail is where visitors and locals can sample locally made beers, spirits, and ciders at various locations.
Tourists flock to Fulton County for vacation, but those living in Fulton County do not have to go far to take part in a wide range of quality recreational experiences, just minutes from where they live and work. “Our folks in Fulton County love the region because of the opportunities they have to recreate in the outdoors—hunters, campers, hikers, and snowmobilers,” said Paul Connelie, manufacturing director for paint company Benjamin Moore, which has its largest plant by production volume in Johnstown.