Outdoor writers converge on Niagara

Bill HiltsAfter quite a bit of a variety of outdoor adventures that took me from Alaska to Missouri, it was time to settle back into my own little slice of the outdoors right here in Niagara County. Outdoor writer Bill Vanderford from the Atlanta, Ga., area was in town to sample our outdoor resources – the final leg of a tour that took him from the St. Lawrence to the Niagara in 16 days.

The award-winning photographer saw the Empire State in an entirely different light as he fished places like the St. Lawrence River, the Salmon River, Sodus Bay, The Genny, The Oak, Owasco Lake, 18 Mile Creek and the Niagara … to name but a few. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate as well as it could have. With photography his primary focus, the outdoor media maven completed his tour of duty and was sent on his way.

It was a perfect segue into the next important media outing. From Oct. 18-21, Niagara Falls and Niagara County will play host to the New York State Outdoor Writers Association for its 45th anniversary conference at the Four Points Sheraton. With 1,000 feet of upper Niagara River frontage, it will be a perfect setting for the outdoor scribes from around the state.

In making the plans for the group, the outdoor offerings are a smorgasbord of activities for the writers to pick and choose from. The natural resources of the area are always in the forefront and sometimes it takes an event like this to reinforce how fortunate we are to have such a diverse array of hunting and fishing options in our back yard. It’s like a big puzzle in an attempt to fit the writers with their chosen selections of what they want to do and where they can gain insight to story materials. Here in Niagara, though, it’s as much about the people as it is about the resources. In fact, the people are one of the area’s biggest resources when it comes to the outdoors.

Members from the Niagara Musky Association have offered to take writers out into the Upper Niagara River, and some local bass nuts will be doing the same thing. Lower Niagara River guides will be chasing salmon, trout and bass for the writers, as will 18 Mile Creek guides. Tails and Feathers Bird Hunting Preserve will be taking writers afield for pheasants and Chuck Tiranno with 1UP Game Calls will be hosting some deer hunters as he kicks off yet another new operation offering deer and waterfowl hunts on his property adjoining the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Ingrid Niehaus with Hobie will be showing off her versatile fishing kayaks on the upper river, using the hotel as a base of operations to get people out fishing. But it doesn’t stop there.

Showing off other attractions that are new and different will also be part of the gathering, hopefully providing some story ideas. The Culinary Institute of Niagara Falls, associated with Niagara County Community College, will be opening its doors for a special tour. New York Power Authority will be hosting a luncheon to showcase its facility, including a couple speakers from DEC on what’s been happening with habitat improvement projects. Even the spouses will have an opportunity to sample things like the wine trail, Fashion Outlets shopping, a tour of Lewiston, and, of course, a visit to Niagara Falls itself. I can’t wait to share this special outdoor arena with the rest of the state’s outdoor writer group. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for better weather!

Categories: New York – Bill Hilts Jr

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