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Seaway Trail displays refreshed message ; With new logo, focus on lakes, signs due for first change since '78

The Seaway Trail is updating its look after more than three decades and doing a little rebranding at the same time.

The scenic byway -- which stretches from the St. Lawrence Seaway in northern New York along the shores of Lake Ontario to the Lake Erie shoreline in Pennsylvania -- is now going by Great Lakes Seaway Trail.

Officials also have designed a new logo in hope of replacing the signs that have marked the 518-mile route since 1978.

To spread the word about the new look, representatives have embarked on a three-day, six-stop tour of the state this week, including a stop in Niagara Falls scheduled for Thursday.

Trail officials want to upgrade the look in order to better represent the trail as a regional driving tour opportunity, said Teresa H. Mitchell, president of Seaway Trail Inc., a not-for-profit based in Sackets Harbor, Jefferson County.

Marketing research showed that people connected the old "Seaway Trail" name more to the St. Lawrence River than to the Great Lakes, Mitchell said.

"We've had the same look since 32 years ago when the Seaway Trail started," she said.

The organization has sent its new logo to the state Department of Transportation, though there is no firm schedule for installation of new signs. Mitchell said she hopes for state and federal funding to create and install the new signs.

The current signs are green and white, with familiar footprints; the new signs are green, white and blue, with a more trail-like design.

DOT workers are in the process of designing new signage for several scenic byways, including the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, spokeswoman Jennifer Post said. The state has received federal funding for the project and would need to provide a 20 percent match. The agency hopes to have the project ready for bid next summer, Post said.

The public is invited to the Orin Lehman Visitors Center in Niagara Falls State Park at 9 a.m. Thursday for a 90-minute information session, which will include a presentation on the trail's economic impact and giveaways of new merchandise.

The tour kicked off Tuesday in Ogdensburg and Sackets Harbor, and also will include stops in Oswego, Webster and Erie, Pa.

For more information, visit www.seawaytrail.com.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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