CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua County is showing off its natural assets to outdoor writers from across the nation this week.
The county is hosting the Association of Great Lake Outdoor Writers for their fifth annual Cast and Blast event at the Athenaeum Hotel on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution. This event changes locations yearly and is a way for outdoor corporations to show writers from varying media outlets across the United States what new products they have.
The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers is the second largest group in the country of its kind, and has been around since 1956. Twenty-five media members from different states across the nation will be paired up with 20 corporation sponsors to see how the products work on the field.
Outdoor corporations show their new products to various outdoor media writers at the Chautauqua Institution on Tuesday.
P-J photos by Mallory Diefenbach
"We invite our writers in and we pair them one-on-one with our corporate members. So they get to see the latest products and spend four days in the water and the field trying their new products out," said Josh Lantz, executive director for AGLOW. "Then everybody goes home and writes about what a great place Chautauqua County is."
"This is one more opportunity to showcase the incredible natural resources we have here in Chautauqua County," said Todd Tranum, president and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, as he commended the work of the Chautauqua County Visitors' Bureau, Andrew Nixon and Craig Robbins. "We are excited to have some of the best outdoor sports writers here to show off our waterways and the great hunting we have here."
Outdoor recreation is a big industry, and Chautauqua County was selected this year to host the event due to its outstanding outdoor activities and the county's knowledge on what AGLOW is looking for in a host site, according to Lantz.
Robbins, consultant for sports fishing and hunting at Tour Chautauqua, said since Chautauqua Institution's season hasn't begun, it provided the perfect opportunity for the institution to host the event.
"Outdoor recreation is a huge industry," Lantz said. "And even in the recession we've been going through, travel and tourism as a whole has remained healthy. ... Outdoor tourism has grown over the past 10 years. We have more people spending time outdoors than ever before."
Robbins said hunting and fishing is a multi-million dollar industry in Chautauqua County.
"Chautauqua County is one of the only counties in the state of New York where they had increase of license sales consistently in the past 10 years," Robbins said.
He said Chautauqua Lake is the most fished inland body of water in New York state, and in the last 10 years, Chautauqua County residents have killed more turkey in the spring than any other county in the state.
The process to host AGLOW's Cast and Blast showcase is competitive and the bids take place several years in advance. AGLOW has been growing about 10 percent in membership per year, and a majority of its members come from Illinois and Wisconsin. For more information on AGLOW, and how to join it, visit aglowinfo.org.