Seaway Trail Inc. has named Michael "Mike" Bristol as its new president and CEO. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 518-mile, two-state National Scenic Byway, a New York State Scenic Byway, and a state-designated bicycle route in New York and Pennsylvania.
Bristol begins his new leadership role July 2, bringing nearly 30 years experience in tourism, athletics and nonprofit management to the tourism and economic development organization based in Sackets Harbor.
A Florida State University graduate, Bristol was the associate director of his alma mater's Seminole Boosters Inc., a national-level fundraising corporation. He served as president and CEO of the Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2002-05.
Upon returning to his native northern New York, Bristol served as director of marketing and outreach for The Antique Boat Museum on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in Clayton, N.Y.
Bristol is a member of the Clayton Local Development Corp. Redevelopment Committee, which is overseeing a new dock and hotel development.
"We are pleased to bring aboard Mike Bristol with his proven fundraising and development skills, his knowledge of the tourism industry, and his ability to develop successful partnerships," said Seaway Trail, Inc. Chairman John Hall of Grand Island.
"The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is the leading regional tourism, cultural and economic development organization that puts New York and Pennsylvania on an internationally recognized stage by promoting the unique inland coastline of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region and its dynamic travel opportunities. I look forward to the opportunity to promote the fabulous National Scenic Byway experiences that are found only on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail," Bristol said.
Bristol becomes only the second president and CEO in the Great Lakes Seaway Trail's 34-year history.
The Seaway Trail scenic driving route was designated in 1978. The Seaway Trail Inc. nonprofit organization formed in 1986 with Teresa Mitchell as its first director. Mitchell passed away Jan. 24, 2012. Interim Executive Director Charles "Chuck" Krupke, a respected Pulaski, N.Y.-area businessman and former chairman of the board of Seaway Trail Inc., provided leadership through the transition to Bristol's hiring.
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail organization is known for diverse travel theme marketing, a "Best of the Byways" guidebooks series, Great Lakes Seaway Trail "Outdoor Storyteller" signage, and innovative programming that includes a American Volkssport Association-approved series of War of 1812-theme walks.
The byway's iconic destinations include Niagara Falls, the 1000 Islands and Presque Isle.
Popular travel themes include scenic driving road trips, maritime and military history, four seasons' outdoor recreation, bird watching, lighthouses and shipwrecks, bicycling, quilting and cultural heritage.
To learn more about the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway that runs alongside the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania, go online to www.seawaytrail.com.