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Adirondack interests discuss solar eclipse planning

Eclipse-Adirondack marketing logo
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
Eclipse-Adirondack marketing logo

A solar eclipse will pass over parts of the Northeast on April 8th, 2024. The path of totality includes the Adirondacks and Plattsburgh area. Wednesday night, regional tourism officials discussed preparation and marketing plans in expectation of thousands of visitors who will travel to the Adirondacks to view the total eclipse.

The path of the eclipse next April will enter western New York and pass through the northern Adirondack region and Plattsburgh. Adirondack Sky Center President Seth McGowan says a total solar eclipse is an extraordinarily rare event in the region.

“We have never had a total solar eclipse in this area before. I have gone back and looked a thousand years. We can predict that. It’s all just geometry. It’s not happened in this area before. We have had a number of partial eclipses where the sun is partially blocked, most recently in 2017, and it was 62-percent coverage of the disk of the sun. Not a whole heck of a lot. On April 8th it will be dark for 3 minutes and 33 seconds right along that line of totality.”

The Adirondack Sky Center is working with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, or ROOST, to prepare for the influx of visitors expected to come to the region to view the eclipse. McGowan described his experience in Kentucky.

“The biggest lesson that America learned, and this was referred to as the Great American Eclipse in 2017, was that preparedness can’t be understated. We got from Lexington to Hopkinsville, which is a town not unlike many of ours, we got there in three hours. And what happens is people trickle in. But then the minute the eclipse was over every engine within 10 miles started and everybody left at the same time. It was three hours getting there. It was 11 hours getting back from Hopkinsville to Lexington and every gas station was out of gas. Every restaurant, they ran out of food.”

Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism officials want to avoid such calamities and are working with businesses and local officials to prepare. Director of Marketing Michelle Clement says it is a unique opportunity and nailing the logistics is vital.

“The big question is how many people will travel to the Adirondacks. I think that’s what everyone’s wondering. We might not know that exact number but we do have some expectations of what it will be like. You know often we have in the Adirondacks hosted very large-scale events.”

Clement adds that despite the region’s experience handling crowds, there are some special considerations for the upcoming total eclipse.

“That doesn’t come without some challenges with regard to spring weather. You know we do fall in that higher percentage for cloudiness for the solar eclipse. Conditions are even more critical. You know, what better place to watch an eclipse than the top of an Adirondack High Peak? Winter conditions are still there. Safety will be much of the messaging as we go forward. Mitigating the pressure points. We talk about a traffic jam. What can we do to mitigate that? As we move towards this eclipse we’re really going to want to share what trends we’re seeing so we can all prepare our region together.”

The region statistically has a one in three chance of having a sunny day on April 8th. McGowen says if it is a cloudy day people will still experience a unique phenomenon.

“The sun will be blocked and it will get significantly dark. But even more cool in that case, depending on the clouds, is you can see the shadow of the moon move across the sky kind of coming at you from the horizon like a scene from a sci-fi movie. That’s a very thrilling kind of experience. So you may be disappointed not to see the sun eclipsed itself, but there are very interesting phenomenon that happen when there’s cloud cover.”

ROOST has formed an Adirondack Eclipse Task Force to include tourism, business, state and local officials, and developed a websiteto keep the public updated on information about the eclipse and the region’s preparations.

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