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Initiative promoting county's quality fishing unveils its logo


CANTON — The logo for FISHCAP — the initiative designed to promote St. Lawrence County as the fishing capital of the world — was unveiled Thursday at the county Chamber of Commerce along with plans for its first tournament for wounded warriors in June.

"We're going to take what we have and build it into a good economy," chamber Executive Director Patricia L. McKeown said. "The ultimate goal is to improve the economy of St. Lawrence County by expanding sport fishing. We want to focus on what we have here rather than on what we wish we had."

What the county has is good fishing, said Donald R. Meissner, a PBS fishing show host who has been promoting the area at trade shows.

"We're making plans to bring some very influential people up here," he said. "What we offer is of such great diversity. We have the variety of species that is second to none."

Now it's a job of getting the word out.

"We need to do a better job of educating people," town of Massena Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said. "We can't do that without support."

The city of Ogdensburg was the latest contributor, with a donation of $5,000. The three-year campaign has raised $320,000 toward the $500,000 goal, which organizers want to be a blend of public and private money. The chamber is selling handmade Amish creels for $40 each to raise money for the three-year project.

The idea for a tournament for injured soldiers encouraged North Country Savings Bank to notch up its support.

"It's one of the things the bank has wanted to do for a long time," President David C. Swanson said. "We immediately decided to make a substantial contribution."

The tournament, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 4, will bring in soldiers from the 385th Infantry, the Warriors in Transition unit at Fort Drum, for a day of fishing from boats launched in Ogdensburg.

"We frankly believe there is nothing more therapeutic than a day on the water," Ms. McKeown said. "They need to feel the ebb and flow."

The number of soldiers invited to the tournament will depend on how many volunteer boats are arranged, said Burnie V. Haney, a retired sergeant major.

Soldiers and their guests will be paired with captains with no more than six people to a boat. Boat teams can catch as many pike and walleye as they are able, but it will be the combined length of one pike and one walleye that determines the winner.

Such tournaments are known to help injured soldiers.

"It helps them reintegrate into society," Mr. Haney said.

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall will be in Ogdensburg the day of the tournament.

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