Despite recent shootings, tourism still thrives in Old Forge

By HILARY LANE

OLD FORGE, N.Y. (WKTV) - In July and August 2012, there have been two fatal shootings in Old Forge, making this one of the most violent summers ever in the area.

Thirty-year-old Catherine Koestner was shot at the Forge Motel on Saturday and just a few weeks earlier, 37-year-old Matthew Leach was killed by his father just down the road at the Clark's Beach Motel.

How have these violent acts impacted tourism?

"Business goes on," said Mike Farmer, Director of Tourism for the Town of Webb. "Folks have made their vacation plans months and months in advance. It is unfortunate, it saddens the community, but we need to service many of the people who know nothing about the tragedies that have occurred."

Despite the incidents, there were hundreds of tourists out and about in downtown Old Forge Monday. However, shopping and eating weren't the only things on the minds of many who had heard about the violence.

"We will just be more cautious I guess," said Tom Hotchkiss of Farmington. "Usually in a tourist area, you can feel free to do whatever you want, but I guess it can happen anywhere, so we need to be careful."

"I would maybe think back into coming here again and if there was a third one I wouldn't come back," said Joe Strenkowski of Pennsylvania.

"I just think it's unfortunate," said Sandy McGurk. "I don't think its alarming. It's not like what happened in Colorado, so you feel safe. It's a nice little town."

Representatives from the Town of Webb said these are two isolated incidents and the area is now as safe as ever.

"All the emergency services are taking extra precautions and guarantee the standard of safety our people normally expect here," said Farmer.

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