WESTPORT — Point-to-point narration on a new app aims to accompany travelers visiting the Lakes to Locks Passage.
At a recent Lake Champlain Region mixer hosted by the Westport Chamber of Commerce, Lakes to Locks Executive Director Janet Kennedy gave a Powerpoint presentation about the Power Ports app that will be available for mobile digital devices.
All towns in Lakes to Locks Passage: a Top 10 All-American Byway, will be eligible to use it once it is ready to go.
Lakes to Locks covers an area from Albany to Montreal, primarily tracing the water routes along the Hudson River, Lake George and Lake Champlain and terminating on the north along the Richelieu River Valley.
Lakes to Locks has been collaborating with National Geographic to promote Geotourism, which incorporates the environment, history, culture and aesthetics of a region, Kennedy told a crowd of about 50 who attended the event for businesses and nonprofit organizations at the Westport Hotel and Tavern.
“We have been working on trying to bring cultural- and natural-resources-oriented themes for hiking, boating, train and, driver if you must, to get people out of their cars,” she said.
“We want to link this all together to tell as a story.”
The app, she said, will include “thematic itineraries in which we want to do more than just have a history-book lesson.”
One of the scenarios tells the story of Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum, who was aligned with the British during the Revolutionary War, and more specifically, Gen. John Burgoyne’s 1777 campaign to attack the Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor.
That effort ended in Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga on Oct. 15, 1777.
The dialogue, voiced by Lindsay Pontius of Westport, accentuates the fact that Baum, of German descent, had difficulty communicating with the British.
“She (Lindsay) is making this lively, as it would be boring with just one person narrating,” Kennedy said.
Looking to the future, the productions may utilize local talent for the speaking parts.
Kennedy played several excerpts of the Baum expedition.
“The big thing is, this is to take place over two or three days and is not for just one destination,” she said.
“It integrates text, photos, maps and other digital technology to go along with the point-to-point narration.
“It really has all these activities, and you can earn points — like a game.
“The beauty of this app is that it draws content off our websites, and business owners can make changes at any time,” she added.
Kennedy is encouraged by the interest shown as she has contacted tour companies, including some from as far away as China.
JUNE TARGET DATE
The app is still in the development stage.
“The challenge we have is that currently an app like this does not exist, but we expect it to be ready in the spring,” Kennedy said.
She hoped a beta version will be ready by the end of this month, with everything in place by the first week in June.
Other possible scenarios include farm to table, the War of 1812, the region’s industrial heritage and the importance of the area’s natural resources.
Businesses can be listed on the app at no charge, but it will cost $250 to have a promotional application.
Also at the chamber function, participants got to know more about one another’s towns and businesses, with about 20 representatives giving short descriptions of their respective entities.
Email Alvin Reiner: firstname.lastname@example.org
ON THE WEB
Learn more about Lakes to Locks at: lakestolocks.org.