Monday, November 26, 2007

Howe Caverns Sabotages Tourism Promotion Program

At a recent county budget hearing, representatives of Howe Caverns criticized county funding of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce’s tourism promotion program. Howe Caverns sales director Sascha McRae was quoted as saying “the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce has quite simply lost their way”. McRae threatened to withdraw Howe Caverns from the Chamber’s “I Love NY” matching funds program.

McRae and others claimed that they were unhappy with the way the Chamber has been handling issues recently. However, it is clear what is really going on: Howe Caverns’ new ownership is seeking to sabotage efforts to promote the Caverns.

Why would Howe Caverns want to sabotage itself? The answer is simple. Last year, the world-famous tourist site was purchased by Emil Galasso, President of Cobleskill Stone Products. This company owns most of the land surrounding Howe Caverns and operates a large-scale quarry on this very land. Within the caverns is something more valuable than a tourist attraction. The caves are filled with extremely valuable pharmaceutical-grade limestone.

Galasso has pledged to run Howe Caverns as a tourist site for at least ten years. However, if for some reason the cave tours are unprofitable, Galasso can begin making a case for closing down the cave to tours and opening them up to mining. What better way to begin laying the groundwork for making the case that the tours are unprofitable than to sabotage efforts to promote the caverns? At this rate, Galasso will be blasting away at that mountain before those ten years are up.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's a good chunk of the story. The other part is the new "Greater Schoharie Business Association" set up a year ago by Galasso lackies at Harva Company in Schoharie to pull businesses out of the chamber. Why? Because the chamber would not support Galasso's efforts to destroy the village of Schoharie by expanding his quarry there, right up a few hundred yards from the county courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Well, there's always the 3B. Have the current owners and uh, protectors of Howe Caverns agreed to "cooperate" with the proponents of 3B? If so, there should be many busloads of daytrippers, I mean, tourists, visiting the Caverns WELL within the 10 year pledge period described in the original post.

Anonymous said...

What's the 3B?

Anonymous said...

3B = Bats (in Howe Caverns)+ Bats (i.e. Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown) and...Baths (i.e. Sharon Springs).

Anonymous said...

Here I thought it was Better Business Bureau, which of course we don't have here.

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry, 3B is really the "3B Package". I found a reference to it on www.sharonspringsresort.com.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's pretty bad what this Galasso thing is doing to Howe Caverns and Schoharie. The first thing he did to the Caverns was close them earlier so he could blast. Look at the front of the Court House in Schoharie and you can see big cracks in the stone, from years of quarry blasting, and this Galasso wants to move the quarry even nearer, practically on top of the Court House.

Anonymous said...

This Galasso is nothing more than a rich, land bearing, selfish, ego driven, dollar worshiping, money corrupted degenerate. Seems to me the kind of guy who would love the movie Blazing Saddles.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there never seems to be a shortage of devious greedheads (not to mention their, what...devotees? droogies?) Anyway, if there is ever an assertation of unprofitability made, the community should demand to see proof of same. One thing that I have observed is that when a community in Schoharie County senses a need to mount a grass-roots opposition, they will organize and fight back.

Anonymous said...

You people need to get a life! Mr. Galasso isn't the only owner of Howe caverns, there is Mr. Charles Wright as well, a long time attorney in Schoharie County. Has anyone bothered to ask either gentlemen what their intentions are for the future of the caverns? Why are they investing $2 million in capital improvements only to blast it away? Why is the Cave House Foundation spending millions of dollars to restore the old Cave House Hotel into a museum and restore portions of cave destroyed by mining operations 90 years ago? The plan for the for profit Howe Caverns and non-profit Cave House is to reconnect the cave system as it was in 1842 when it was first discovered. Visitors will once again see the cave as it once was. There is a future for the great cave and it will not be destroyed by mining operations. The overwhelming majority of the former Howe caverns shareholders believed in the Wright/Galasso plan for the future of the caverns, why can't you?

Anonymous said...

Because he is a damn socialist who cannot even conceive of a private business doing anything at all other than ripping-off everyone in the most obscene ways possible. It is a basic premise in his mind that any privately owned business must be operating in a fashion detrimental to the common good. There must be some nefarious hidden agenda in everything they do! Why can’t you or I see that? We are just too stupid….

Anonymous said...

You say "The caves are filled with extremely valuable pharmaceutical-grade limestone." Certainly you don't mean that. By definition a cave is a hollow place. Perhaps you meant to say the indigenous rock lining the caves is extremely valuable pharmaceutical-grade limestone. Blazing saddles was a good flick.

Sean Thomaston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Thomaston said...

"Because he is a damn socialist who cannot even conceive of a private business doing anything at all other than ripping-off everyone in the most obscene ways possible. It is a basic premise in his mind that any privately owned business must be operating in a fashion detrimental to the common good. There must be some nefarious hidden agenda in everything they do! Why can’t you or I see that? We are just too stupid…."

No, no, no. I'm a cynic. The paranoia and suspicion that you accuse me of is applied to all equally regardless of political ideologies.

Sean Thomaston said...

"You say "The caves are filled with extremely valuable pharmaceutical-grade limestone." Certainly you don't mean that. By definition a cave is a hollow place. Perhaps you meant to say the indigenous rock lining the caves is extremely valuable pharmaceutical-grade limestone. Blazing saddles was a good flick."

You're right! I certainly want to specify that I'm referring to the "indigenous rock lining the cave" so that people don't get it confused with the other rock lining the cave that was for some odd reason carried down to Howe Caverns from various other caves.

By the way, do you still want to be mayor, or just resident geologist?

Anonymous said...

You say "By the way, do you still want to be mayor, or just resident geologist?"

I say "By the way do you still want to be the Carl Strock of Cobleskill or just a nom de plume. Times Journal is looking for a beat writer but you'd have to use your real name."

Mrs Mecomber said...

Shocking news. Unfortunately, not surprising news.

It would be criminal to close the caverns for mining.

Anonymous said...

Matching Funds? That's the real story here. Someone should check and see how many dollars from this program has run through the Caves. Check the statutes too regarding "single entity" promotion.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there never seems to be a shortage of devious greedheads (not to mention their, what...devotees? droogies?)

Droogies????

What are you in middle school?

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the new plans for promoting tourism in schohaire county. Sascha from Howe Caverns is starting a new cooperation with some other bozos called the foot hills corp to help promote tourism in our county. Is this what the chamber already does? Where did she even come from. I think she sould take her ass right back from where she came from. Someone who has no background in schoharie county and not even a degree in this field coming in and screwing with this is unexceptable..

Anonymous said...

Unacceptable...I believe that is the word you are looking for. Perhaps before presenting your thoughts for the world to see, you should gain an education and some tact. You will lose credibility by using the wrong words and vulgarity. It is people like you that prove the point that we need better representation in our county.
I attended the kick-off meeting for Foothills Promotion, and I have to say, that I was quite impressed. Their approach is regional, which to me, makes perfect sense. Tourists travel to regions, not counties. So, an opportunity to package with other properties all over the region excites me. To be represented at a staffed tourism information center that sees the volume of guests that Howe sees is fantastic! Have you ever seen ours at the Chamber office - it's an open room, that is usually free of any visitors. It is certainly free of any life. As far as Sascha goes - I feel better with her representing me than our current person. Have you read any emails from Ms. Ganci, or have you ever heard her sales pitch? Aside form the fact that she comes across as a country bumpkin, she leaves out many of the properties. I thought a tpa was supposed to represent everyone, not just those that she may find interesting. She is unprofessional and a poor representative for any of us.

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Anonymous said...

You guys need to shut the fuck up my grandpa can do what the hell he wants with the caverns. Stop being so nieve you think there's more of a profit in mining the caverns or the tourism? In the long run tourism will bring in more money than mining it. My grandpa is one of the greatest business men in the county he knows what he's doing.