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Congressman Bill Owens tours Old Forge, which is now part of the 21st Congressional District

By GARY LIBERATORE

OLD FORGE, N.Y. (WKTV) - Congressman Bill Owens has represented the 23rd Congressional District in New York State since 2009, but in November's election he won the race for the redrawn 21st Congressional District.

The new 21st District is the largest district in the state, covering more than 16,000 square miles, and now includes Old Forge.

On Friday, the 63 year old from Plattsburgh went on a tour of Old Forge with Town of Webb Tourism Director Mike Farmer.

Old Forge is 139 miles, and a nearly three hour drive from Owens' home in Plattsburgh.

"I'm trying to learn the communities and what better way to do it than to come out to a place like this," Congressman Owens said, "People are very excited, and I want to understand what their issues are and also understand what the good things that are happening in the communities. This is why we came out."

Farmer says he is glad to see a member of congress take the time to learn about the new areas in his newly drawn district.

Owens not only walked and drove around Old Forge, but also put on his cross country skis and actually started out at Thendara Golf Club and got a look at some of the area's cross country ski trails.

During his several hour visit, Owens also toured the McCauley Mountain Ski Area and several other businesses in Old Forge which rely on tourists to stay afloat.

Town of Webb Board Member Kate Russell, who is also a member of the McCauley Mountain Committee went along on the tour.

She talked to Rep. Owens about trying to get more funding to make McCauley Mountain an even bigger draw than it already is, and to make Old Forge itself an even bigger destination for people from all over the country and the world.

She says this truly is the snow capital of the east and it is also a great place to live and raise a family.

"It's key to our kids, but it's key to our community as well," Owens said. "Snowmobiling is so important here as is skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing."

Owens staff members say the Congressman will continue touring more areas of his newly drawn district, but no word on where he will head next.

Next week, he will be back in Washington.

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