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The boats have long been put away, but Chautauqua Lake is once again a hub of activity in our county.
Hundreds of anglers have taken to the lake in recent weeks to ice fish. Some who weren’t fishing had made a skating rink and were playing hockey on the lake. When they were done on the lake, people were making their way into businesses in Mayville.
The wintertime use of Chautauqua Lake is a good reminder of the need to market our county as a year-round destination, particularly in years where the winter weather cooperates. Few areas have access to the array of activities one can find here in Chautauqua County in the winter — downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and fishing are just a few of the things visitors can do here on a cold winter’s day.
One of the discussions that needs to be had is how our county can best capitalize on our assets. COVID-19 has made it difficult to really market Chautauqua County’s winter offerings to outsiders, but it’s worth having the discussion now what we can do to attract more people to Chautauqua County in the wintertime.
The annual President’s Day Weekend festival in Mayville, featuring the ice castle, is always a favorite, but can we do more to attract people to our communities in the winter? Could we plan a weather-permitting snowmobile dice run series, for example? Or is there a season-long contest involving ski resorts and slopes? Maybe cross-country 5K races or something involving lake hockey? Ice fishing derbies?
This year has been incredibly difficult for many businesses, and anything that can be done to help get more people into our county once COVID-19 is eradicated should be on the table.
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