GLENS FALLS -- State Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, is ready to round up politicians to compete in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Adirondack Challenge” whitewater rafting race.
“Standing offer to the governor: Let’s put it together,” Stec said Thursday.
Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, is ready, too.
“I look forward to recruiting a team of colleagues to compete in the Adirondack whitewater rafting challenge!” Little said in a press release, using an exclamation point for emphasis.
Yet for all the enthusiasm, little is known about the event that Cuomo announced Wednesday in his State of the State speech, other than that there will be a special division for politicians.
Brian Stratton, a Cuomo cabinet member who was in Glens Falls on Thursday to present a condensed version of the governor’s State of the State speech, announced that Stec has agreed to “be in the boat.”
But in an interview after the presentation, Stratton would not say what waterways the race will be held or when it will be held, other than it is being planned for this year.
“I don’t have a lot of information on that,” he said. “I’m sure you’re going to be hearing more about it as we get into the (state) budget.”
Stec said that Cuomo has talked about developing a water-based series of paddling routes similar to the Adirondack 46ers, where hikers earn a distinction by climbing each of the Adirondack High Peaks.
Potentially, the race between politicians would be a kick-off event to promote the series, he said.
The Adirondack Council hopes that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is serious about personally participating in the the rafting event, said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the environmental organization.
“I think that if the governor himself participates that would be a media spectacle that would be good for the park’s image overall,” he said.
Cuomo has not briefed regional tourism officials about his plans for the event, said Ron Ofner, executive director of Adirondack Regional Tourism Council.
“Unfortunately, what I know is what you know as far as reading and hearing the speech,” he said. “There’s been discussion about having an Adirondack paddling challenge. But as far as this whitewater component, that was brand new to everybody, as of yesterday.”
Stratton said Cuomo’s goal is to make the Adirondack Challenge a signature event, of the caliber of the annual Ironman triathlon in the Lake Placid area.
“He (Cuomo) did an Adirondack whitewater rafting trip this summer, loved it. And he really wants to focus his efforts on encouraging more tourism on the upstate area,” Stratton said.
Stec said Warren County officials are willing to help organize the event.
“The local officials that I’ve talked to, the local supervisors and tourism people of Warren County, they all thought it was a great idea to promote the area involving the governor and his senior staff,” he said.