Ogdensburg airport, Massena nature center honored for helping bring more tourists to St. Lawrence County
Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 9:16 am

The Ogdensburg International Airport was awarded the “Best Destination Marketing Initiative” tourism award at the St. Lawrence County Tourism Awards dinner Wednesday. From left, Sam LaMacchia, former Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority member; Brooke Rouse, chamber executive director; Sam Burns, OBPA chairman; and Wade Davis, OBPA executive director. North Country Now photo by Cheryl Shumway.

POTSDAM – The Ogdensburg International Airport and Massena’s Nicandri Nature Center were honored Wednesday for helping bring more tourists to St. Lawrence County.

Brooke Rouse, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce executive director, presented airport officials with the chamber’s “Best Destination Marketing Initiative” Award following a dinner at the Potsdam Town and Country Club.

The award was presented for “attracting passengers from near and far to experience all St. Lawrence County has to offer,” she said.

The airport initiated daily United Express jet service from Chicago and Washington D.C. last month. Since Allegiant Air began providing flights to Florida in 2016, the airport has served more than 125,000 passengers.

Wade Davis, executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, which operates the airport, credited former OBPA member Sam LaMacchia with being a driving force behind the new jet services.

“The airport would have never expanded without Sam’s work,” he said.

Davis said support from community leaders was an important factor in obtaining approvals required to enlarge the airport facilities and obtain jet service for St. Lawrence County. OBPA plans to continue expanding airport services and continued local support will be valuable, he added.

Nicandri Nature Center, Massena, was awarded the “Best to the Guest” Tourism Excellence Award at the St. Lawrence County Tourism Awards dinner. From left, Tracy Thomas, Alyssa Love, Tanya Spicer, Joel Danko, Linda Besio, Zowie Auger and Thomas Boudeau. North Country Now photo by Cheryl Shumway.

Michael Besaw, chamber assistant director, presented the “Best to the Guest” Tourism Excellence Award to the nature center, noting it has been referred to as “one of the greatest hidden gems in the North Country.”

Funded by the New York Power Authority and located in Robert Moses State Park, the center opened in 2017 to replace a facility destroyed by fire in 2010. It served 33,000 visitors last year.

The center provides a variety of exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages to promote public awareness, appreciation, and respect for the environment through exploration, education, and outdoor recreation.

Many free recreation and environmentally-related programs are offered weekly at the center.

Tourism is important to St. Lawrence County, Rouse told the more than 40 attending the dinner. “We really believe it can be a strong economic driver here,” she said. “We have unique experiences here.”

Tourism directly or indirectly benefits businesses offering transportation services, accommodations, retail and entertainment as well as bars and restaurants, she said.