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Ti to mark Champlain quadricentennial

TICONDEROGA - Communities throughout New York are preparing for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial.

None can match Ticonderoga.

The 2009 Celebration Champlain Committee, co-sponsored by the Ticonderoga Historical Society and town, will dedicate a monument in Bicentennial Park to mark the spot Samuel de Champlain first visited in the area.

The ceremony is slated for July 25 in conjunction with the annual community Waterfest.

Other communities are planning celebrations to observe the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain's voyages along the river and lake that bear their names, as well as the 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton's successful steamboat voyage, which inaugurated steam commerce on the Hudson River.

But only Ticonderoga is planning a permanent monument, according to Bill Dolback, local committee chairman.

"We're using the exact spot Champlain first visited," Dolback said. "He described it in his journal."

The monument is located on three acres of land on the north side of the LaChute River. It's on top of a hill overlooking LaChute Falls.

"The grounds surrounding the memorial site will be reforested, returning this area back to its natural habitat, much like that which existed when Champlain first made his historic visit to our area," said Dolback, who is Ticonderoga town historian.

"This memorial site will offer a destination for recreation, tourism, education and ongoing horticultural expansion, advancing the quality of the southern Lake Champlain environment and the lives of those of us who live, work and visit here," he said.

The local committee has been working on the "legacy project" since 1999.

The local Daughters of the American Revolution, the Ticonderoga Area Senior Citizens Club, the Ticonderoga Historical Society, the Art Potter Foundation, the Southern Lake Champlain Trust and the state have awarded grants for the project.

"2009 Celebration Champlain will be a year-long event highlighting the unparalleled history, the unique culture and the unequaled resources of New York State," Dolback said. "Ticonderoga will be in the forefront of activity as plans are being developed to memorialize Samuel de Champlain's discovery of Lake Champlain.

"Our community can expect the summer of 2009 to be filled with extraordinary events, exciting and grand fun for all," he said.

The voyages of Hudson and Champlain laid the groundwork for Dutch settlement of the Hudson Valley and French settlement of the Champlain Valley and Canada. The regions soon emerged as the center of a trade network linking the New World with the old.

The area also became central to the French & Indian War and the American Revolution.

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