- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

INDIAN LAKE, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo headed north Sunday to the Adirondack Mountains to promote the area’s outdoor recreational activities - from whitewater rafting and hiking to fishing, canoeing and horseback riding.

“The Adirondacks are truly one of New York’s crown jewels and I know that once people see them for themselves, they will fall in love and keep coming back,” Cuomo said, noting that stronger tourism means new jobs and improved local economies.

Sunday’s program in Indian Lake, included a whitewater rafting trip down the Indian River; golfing at Cedar River Golf Course; a 6-mile hike to Ross Pond; fishing at Cedar Creek; a 68-mile motorcycle ride; and paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking.

The governor borrowed a fishing rod and caught an 8-inch brook trout that was released.

The hundreds of participants who showed up on a hot July day included state lawmakers, local officials and members of Cuomo’s cabinet.

It was the third year for the so-called Adirondack Challenge, which the Democratic governor created to spur interest in upstate tourism and recreation.

This year, he announced the “I LOVE NY Cash and Travel” scratch-off lottery ticket, available this fall with vacation and cash prizes. He also is pushing a marketing campaign for “I LOVE NEW YORK” outdoor destinations, to be featured on 700 New York City buses. In addition, a new Adirondack website and mobile app were launched.

The governor announced that the Department of Environmental Conservation will perform $2 million in improvements to campgrounds in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains.

In 2014, statewide tourism had a more than $100 billion economic impact. The Adirondacks region alone generated $1.29 billion in direct spending and $159 million in state and local taxes, officials said.

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