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Colton kiosk will serve as model for Raquette corridor projects

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COLTON — A simple informational kiosk at Route 56 and Main Street is the first in a proposed network of 20 sites that will span the length of the Raquette River.

The kiosk includes informational panels detailing the history of the river, designed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We’ve been working on it for over two years. We had tried to actually get the kiosk done before winter but we just couldn’t get it done,” said Ruth T. McWilliams, director of Colton’s Tourism and Beautification Committee.

Funds for the Colton prototype were raised from a variety of sources, including Brookfield Renewable Energy Inc. It cost about $8,000 to design and construct.

Future kiosks are expected to cost less, since the general design has been settled on, according to Ms. McWilliams.

Each will include four panels providing information to visitors. Colton’s details the history of the town and the river corridor as a whole, as well as telling visitors how best to access the river.

“Right now, unless you’re really familiar with the river, a lot of people don’t know how to access it,” Ms. McWilliams said.

The next four displays will be built in Piercefield, Massena, Norwood and Norfolk. Each community will be responsible for the construction of its own kiosk.

The DEC publication office designs the informational panels to create a unified look along the entire corridor.

“Ruth and her folks gave me a bazillion photographs,” said Patrick T. Whalen, a forester in the DEC Potsdam office.

The best of these photos were sent to the design office in Albany to create the kiosk.

“I’m really happy with the final product,” he said.

The Colton prototype kiosk officially was dedicated Thursday.

The Raquette River Blueway Corridor Committee received a state grant of more than $60,000 to construct an additional 15 kiosks in places such as Tupper Lake and Long Lake.

In Colton, the kiosk is part of a larger plan to bring more attention to the local waterways.

“It’s already become part of a vision for making the town more walkable and more accessible,” Ms. McWilliams said.

The network fits in with a statewide effort to highlight environmental points of interest. A similar project near Cranberry Lake just finished.

“It worked out super,” Mr. Whalen said. “We’re working harder on these projects.”

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