CATS Summer Travel Writing Contest Begins

Cheney Mt.Westport, NY- What are you doing this summer? Summer is prime time for exploring New York's Champlain Valley. "There are few places with historic hamlets settled so sweetly into a rich landscape of forests, farms, and hills with views of a beautiful lake and mountains," notes Chris Maron, executive director of Champlain Area Trails (CATS).

This is the perfect place to hike, paddle the lake, browse a farmer's market, track songbirds, or enjoy a gourmet meal. Then write about your summer adventures—your story could earn you $500.

"Now in its third cycle, the CATS Travel Writing Contest aims to spread the word about all the Champlain Valley has to offer and promote tourism to the area," explains Gretel Schueller, contest coordinator. The winner, selected by our guest judge, will receive a $500 first prize. There's also a chance for everyone else to pick his or her favorite story during our online voting in October. The People's Choice—the story with the most online votes—wins $250. Winners will also have their entries published online in the CATS destination guide, "Tales from the Trails."

The guest judge is Diane Chase, author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, including Champlain Valley: Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga. Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities with GPS Coordinates.

"A travel writing contest is a fun way to attract attention, invite new visitors, and encourage authors to write about this special place," Maron says. "We want to strengthen the area's economic vitality by attracting visitors to enjoy the outdoors, walk around our villages, visit local farms and businesses, and come back with their friends."

So write about the places you hiked, the restaurant you loved, the outfitter who went that extra mile, the bed and breakfast that was pure bliss, or the sublime concert you heard. CATS is looking for travel stories that will inspire others to follow in your footsteps. The deadline for entries is September 30, 2012. For full contest details, please visit www.champlainareatrails.com/contest. For contest-related questions, email CATScontest@gmail.com.

Champlain Area Trails is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to develop hiking/skiing trails that link Champlain Valley communities, connect people to nature, promote economic vitality, and protect habitat and scenic vistas. For more information, go to www.champlainareatrails.com or call 518-962-CATS (2287).