A new vision for the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce

TUPPER LAKE – Local Events Coordinator Michelle Clement wants to strengthen the role of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Currently the chamber is focused on the planning, promotion and execution of events. Clement – who leads these efforts as a joint employee of the Tupper Lake chamber, town and village – approached the village board Monday and explained that the chamber’s data from this year show tourism has played a significant role in the community. She also approached the town board last Monday with the same message.

“On average we get about 25 to 40 people a day who are traveling,” Clement said. “Forty percent of them are looking for trail maps, waterways, boat rentals and other recreational activities.”

Clement added that 25 percent of chamber visitors are looking for lodging, and another 25 percent are looking for attractions like The Wild Center. Those numbers only account for walk-ins at the chamber and don’t include phone calls or emails.

Hits on the chamber’s website, which Clement called the “front door” of Tupper Lake, have also climbed steadily since it’s now updated regularly.

“The direction we’re going toward is an overall tourism plan for the community,” Clement said. “I also think we should focus on doing some strong, quality events as opposed to doing too many events and not meeting the quality that they should be. What businesses need most are people here.”

As events coordinator, Clement is responsible for ensuring that events happen weekly in Tupper Lake. Meeting that quota rapidly burns through resources and volunteers, she said. Some of that energy could instead be shifted to focus on developing concepts to increase marketing and tourism for the area.

“I think the investment with the events coordinator has been a positive one, but I think we need to think long term,” Clement said. “On a long-term scale, is it sustainable? Do we create another event just to say there’s another event on the calendar?”

Clement said large-scale events did well this year, and added that they will be even bigger next year. She noted that more than 500 athletes registered for the Tupper Lake Tinman triathlon, and said registrations for the Tupperpalooza Warrior Run were up 23 percent and included competitors from Canada, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Virginia.

Trustee Rick Donah praised the chamber’s work, and asked what is in the works for the rest of Clement’s contract, which expires in February.

Clement said OkTupperFest is happening soon and added that the chamber board is working on some concepts for a strong winter event. A snowmobile event might be in the works, too.

This year’s OkTupperfest is Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Big Tupper Ski Area and will include chairlift rides, pumpkin launching, apple bobbing, a mud run, the Kenda-Mike Steidley Mountain Bike Stunt Show, and live music from Lake Placid favorites Big Slyde and The Unknown Woodsmen from Cortland.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost is $5 per person or $20 per vehicle. Half the proceeds will go toward Big Tupper, which will be open this winter, and the other half will stay with the chamber for winter marketing.

Clement urged both the town and village boards to maintain the events coordinator position next year and to attend the next chamber board meeting.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or