Tag Archives: Champlain Canal

35 Boats Confirmed at the Waterford Tugboat Roundup


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front121_9G_RALLYThis weekend, nearly three dozen boats are expected along the Waterford wall, in front of the Visitor’s Center, for three days as the town relives its canal heyday for its annual tugboat round-up. Now in its 14th year, the Waterford tugboat Roundup and has become one of the four premier waterfront festivals in New York State and the largest maritime festival north of New York City.

Family-friendly music plays from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, tugs will be open for tours, kid’s games and activities, tour boat rides, line-tossing, tours of the tugs and more. Shuttle busses will run from remote parking. There is no charge for the event (other than a nominal charge for the tour boats). Continue reading

Canal Splash Set For This Weekend


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442Celebrate the history, culture, recreational appeal, and beauty of the New York State Canal System and Erie Canalway Trail during Canal Splash!, a coordinated series of locally organized events and activities, including nature and history walks, museum and gallery exhibits, rowing regattas, kayak and canoe outings, musical performances, boat tours and more. Continue reading

Schuylerville to Fort Edward History Bicycle Tour


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canalridersOn Sunday August 11, enjoy a 28-mile guided bicycle tour along the Champlain Canalway Trail between Hudson Crossing Park in Northumberland and Fort Edward.

This tour will take bikers past historic sites of interest related

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to the Revolutionary War and the Champlain Canal. Learn about Rogers Rangers, Jane McCrea, the route that General John Burgoyne’s army took on the way to the Battles of Saratoga and the development of the Champlain Canal. Continue reading

Waterford Tugboat Roundup This Weekend


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More than two dozen boats are expected to participate in this year’s Tugboat Roundup in Waterford. The Roundup, cancelled last year due to damage caused by the storms Irene and Lee, is organized by the town of Waterford and runs from Friday, September 7 through Sunday, September 9.

Working tug boats from along the Hudson River including Kingston, Albany and Troy, from the Canal System, the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River are expected to converge in Waterford in time for Friday afternoon’s parade. The parade starts at the Port of Albany at 2:45 on Friday with boats arriving in Waterford as early as 5pm.

Live music will be performed throughout the event with at least nine different groups booked to play on board one of the tugs, the Grand Erie, docked in front of the Visitor’s Center along the canal at the foot of Tugboat Alley in the village.

Boat tours will be offered on both the Hudson River and the Waterford locks and kids activities will include face-painting, clown performances, puppet theaters, a bouncy-bounce, pony rides. and more throughout the weekend.

On Sunday, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be dedicating the Waterford flight of locks as a significant engineering achievement in America. This dedication will take place on Sunday.

A full schedule of performances and activities can be found on the Roundup’s website, www.tugboatroundup.com or on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/tugboatroundup.com

Photo: The 2008 Tugboat Round-Up, Courtesy Duncan Hayes, NPS  (Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor).

Call for Entries: 2012 Erie Canalway Photo Contest


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Entries are being accepted through Friday, September 7, 2012 for the 7th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Winning photos will be displayed in the 2013 Erie Canalway calendar, which will be available free of charge in December.

Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit prints and digital images in four contest categories: Bridges, Buildings and Locks; For the Fun of It; On the Water; and the Nature of the Canal.

The contest captures and shares the beauty, history, people, and distinctive character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which is comprised of the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga/Seneca, and Champlain Canals, and their historic alignments, and surrounding communities.

You can download official contest rules and an entry form online.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, collaborates with government agencies, communities and organizations to protect and promote the canal corridor for all to use and enjoy.

Photo: 2011 First Place Photo Winner “The Locks at Lockport” by Stephen Bye.

Annual Waterford Tugboat Roundup Returns


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Tugboats will Roundup the weekend after Labor Day in Waterford after taking last year off due the effects of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The Tugboat Roundup is an annual event in Waterford, celebrating the maritime heritage of upstate and interior New York at the confluence of the Hudson River and New York State Canal system. The Roundup begins on Friday, September 7 and concludes on Sunday afternoon, September 9.

More than 30 tugboats, workboats, barges and other craft are expected along the Waterford wall at the entrance to the Erie Canal. The festival takes place in front of the Visitor’s Center at the foot of Tugboat Alley and kicks off with the Tugboat Parade on Friday afternoon which starts at the Port of Albany, coming into Waterford in late afternoon.

The Mohawk-Hudson chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers will be recognizing the Waterford Flight of Locks as a significant American Engineering achievement on Sunday at noon during the Roundup. The flight is a two-mile long series of five locks, critical to the success of the “modern” Erie Canal when it was built in the Nineteen Teens (it opened in 1917).  Boats are raised from Hudson River level more than 180 feet into the Mohawk River above Cohoes.

Additional land displays include local crafters, artists, food tents, historical displays and local organizations. The American Red Cross, continuing in their efforts to help the region recover from last year’s storms, will have a tent at the festival for more information and donations. Local fire departments, always at the ready, will also have information areas.

Live music with local musicians will take place throughout the weekend, kicked off on Friday afternoon with canal and river balladeer George Ward and including other local bands such as “All Nite Long,” “Yesterday’s News,” “Flood Road,” Nixie Dixie Cats,” “Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers,” “Lawson,” “Scott Stockman with Big Blue Sun,” and wrapping up with the “Boys of Wexford” on Sunday afternoon.

Fireworks will take place on Saturday evening at 8:00.

More information on the event, and the complete schedule can be found online. Check out video just released by the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce: http://youtu.be/69rO-PkJwfA

The Tugboat Roundup is organized by the Town of Waterford with the support of sponsors.

Photo: The 2008 Tugboat Round-Up, Courtesy Duncan Hayes, NPS  (Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor).

New Canal-side Signs Planned for 2013


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The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation will install new signs at 45 locks and canal-side access points all along the NYS Canal System in 2013.

Thirty-five of the kiosks will include a community orientation panel showing streets, trails, and points of interest within walking distance. Twenty sites will also have local history panels based on 19th century birdseye view lithographs and early 20th century postcards to share the history and significance of the canal system to the state and nation.

Installation locations are on NYS Canal Corporation land, in or near community centers. Most locations are on the opposite bank from the Canalway Trail to avoid duplication with existing trailhead signs. 

Each site will have a two or three-sided upright mount with exhibit panels that are  3’wide by 4’ tall. One side will carry a standard panel with a map, images, and text that describe the entire 524 mile long system. 
Scoping, design, mapping, and outreach to community representatives are already underway. Erie Canalway historian Duncan Hay conducted an initial round of site visits last summer and will travel with the project’s designer and cartographer during early August, visiting sites from Buffalo to Albany to Whitehall to confirm site and community information.
Locations have been selected to serve boaters, trail users, and visitors arriving by car. The 45 kiosk locations are as follows:

Erie Canal 

• Tonawanda/North Tonawanda, Erie & Niagara Counties

• Lockport, Niagara County

• Medina (Towns of Ridgeway & Shelby, Orleans County)

• Albion (Towns of Albion & Gaines, Orleans County)

• Holley (Town of Murray, Orleans County)

• Brockport (Town of Sweden, Monroe County)

• Spencerport (Town of Ogden, Monroe County)

• Lock E32, Town of Pittsford, Monroe County

• Pittsford (Town of Pittsford, Monroe County)

• Fairport (Town of Perinton, Monroe County)

• Newark (Town of Arcadia, Wayne County)

• Lyons (Town of Lyons, Wayne County)

• Baldwinsville (Towns of Lysander & Van Buren, Onondaga County)

• Brewerton (Town of Cicero, Onondaga County)

• Sylvan Beach (Town of Vienna, Oneida County)

• Rome (Oneida County)

• Lock E20, town of Marcy, Oneida County

• Utica (Oneida County)

• Ilion (Herkimer County)

• Herkimer (Herkimer County)

• Little Falls (Herkimer County)

• Saint Johnsville (Town of St. Johnsville, Montgomery County)

• Fort Plain (Town of Minden, Montgomery County)

• Canajoharie (Town of Canajoharie, Montgomery County)

• Fonda (Town of Mohawk, Montgomery County)

• Lock E12 Tribes Hill/Fort Hunter (Towns of Mohawk & Glen, Montgomery County)

• Lock E11, Amsterdam, Montgomery County

• Amsterdam (Montgomery County)

• Lock E9, Town of Glenville, Schenectady County

• Lock E8, Town of Rotterdam, Schenectady County

• Lock E7, Town of Niskayuna, Schenectady County

• Waterford (Town of Waterford, Saratoga County)

Cayuga-Seneca Canal 

• Watkins Glen (Town of Dix, Schuyler County)

• Geneva (Ontario County) Lakefront Park

• Waterloo (Town of Waterloo, Seneca County)

• Seneca Falls (Town of Seneca Falls, Seneca County)

• Ithaca (Tompkins County)

• Lock CS1, Town of Aurelius, Cayuga County

Oswego Canal 

• Phoenix (Town of Schroeppel, Oswego County)

• Fulton (Oswego County)

• Oswego (Oswego County)

Champlain Canal 

• Mechanicville (Saratoga County)

• Fort Edward (Town of Fort Edward, Washington County)

• Fort Ann (Town of Fort Ann, Washington County)

• Whitehall (Town of Whitehall, Washington County)

Whitehall Filmmaking: The Girl on the Barge


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Following is the story of a movie that was filmed long ago on the barge canal in Whitehall, New York, where the canal links with Lake Champlain. The details were researched and written by my partner, Jill McKee, after following up on a recollection of her beloved elderly aunt, Mary Barber (now deceased). This fortunate collaboration led to the addition of an exhibit in Whitehall’s Skenesborough Museum.
In 1929, Universal Pictures released a film called The Girl on the Barge. The movie was about Erie McCadden, the illiterate daughter of a crusty, alcoholic barge captain. Erie falls in love with Fogarty, the pilot of the tugboat that is towing her father’s barge from New York to Buffalo on the Erie Canal. Captain McCadden is not at all pleased when he discovers the romance, and his anger is escalated further by the fact that Fogarty is teaching Erie to read.
Happily, in the end the captain comes to his senses, likely due in no small part to Fogarty’s rescuing of McCadden’s barge when it is accidently set adrift. Erie marries her love and the two present McCadden with a grandson.
The Erie Canal proved too difficult a setting for the Universal production department to create on or near the studio’s lot. However, the Erie Canal itself was not deemed suitable either. At least that was the opinion of the movie’s director, Edward Sloman, who came to New York State with two veteran cameramen, Jack Voshell and Jackson Rose, to find the right filming location.
Such location trips were rare at that time in the movie industry, but Universal was willing to invest the added time and money necessary to film the movie in the correct setting. After scouting the entire modern, commercialized Erie Barge Canal from Albany to Buffalo, Sloman felt it would not be believable to audiences. “They would swear we faked it in California,” he said.
Enter a contractor from Waterford, New York, named John E. Matton. He believed the Champlain Canal was just what Universal was looking for. After seeing it, Sloman agreed and chose Whitehall as the filming location.
In May 1928, Sloman and rest of the film’s cast and crew set up their headquarters at Glens Falls and took up temporary residence at the Queensbury Hotel in order to begin making the movie. The silent era was giving way to “talkies,” and The Girl on the Barge was a hybrid between the two—a silent film with talking sequences.

The film’s cast was made up of some notable stars. The title role of Erie was played by Sally O’Neil, who had found stardom in 1925 when she appeared along with Constance Bennett and Joan Crawford in Sally, Irene, and Mary. Erie’s father, the barge captain, was played by Jean Hersholt, who appeared in 140 films from 1906–1955, and served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1945–1949.

Malcolm MacGregor (or McGregor), who appeared in over 50 films during his career, played Erie’s love interest, Fogarty. Erie’s sister, Superior McCadden, was played by Nancy Kelly, whose career spanned from the 1920s to the 1970s, during which time she received nominations for an Emmy and an Oscar, and also won a Tony Award. Both Ms. Kelly and Mr. Hersholt have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The movie’s director, Edward Sloman, was no slouch either. He directed nearly 100 films and acted in more than 30, with some producing and writing thrown in for good measure. The story on which the movie was based was originally written by Rupert Hughes for Cosmopolitan magazine. Mr. Hughes was a prolific writer who saw more than 50 of his stories and plays made into movies.
The entire episode apparently caused quite a stir in the Whitehall/Glens Falls area. Several Whitehall residents took part in various scenes in the movie, and a humorous incident at the Queensbury Hotel was reported in the Syracuse Herald on June 11, 1928.
It seems that Mr. Hersholt arrived at the hotel after a day of filming. He was still dressed as his drunken barge-captain character and asked for his room number without giving his name. The desk clerk not so politely informed Mr. Hersholt that the hotel was filled with “those motion picture people,” and there were no rooms available. In order to gain access to his room, Mr. Hersholt had to call upon director Edward Sloman to vouch for him.

Universal had a three-tiered rating system for its motion picture productions at the time Girl on the Barge was filmed. Low-budget flicks were dubbed Red Feather, and mainstream productions were labeled as Bluebird. The Girl on the Barge was categorized as one of Universal’s most prestigious films, called Jewel. Jewel productions were expected to draw the highest ticket sales.

The movie was released on February 3, 1929. Various newspaper ads and articles have been found showing the movie still playing in theatres around the country into the following fall. The movie also received many favorable reviews. The Chronicle Telegram of Elyria, Ohio, complimented the “realistic and picturesque scenes” of “the barge canals of Upper New York State” (May 20, 1929).
The New York Times reviewer, Mordaunt Hall, raved about Mr. Hersholt’s make-up and costume, and stated, “The scenes are admirably pictured.” The Sheboygan Press of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, called the film “an exceptional picture,” and went on to report, “The picture actually was photographed along the picturesque Champlain Ship Canal in Upper New York State.”
Photos: Top―Movie Poster now on exhibit in the Whitehall Museum. Middle: Sally O’Neil and Malcolm MacGregor in a scene near the canal. Bottom: Movie advertisement in the Ticonderoga Sentinel, 1929.

Lawrence Gooley has authored eleven books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 22 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.

Call for Entries: 2012 Erie Canalway Photo Contest


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Entries are being accepted now through September 7, 2012 for the 7th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Winning photos will be displayed in the 2013 Erie Canalway calendar.

Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit prints and digital images in four contest categories: Bridges, Buildings and Locks; For the Fun of It; On the Water; and the Nature of the Canal.

The contest captures and shares the beauty, history, people, and  distinctive character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which is comprised of the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga/Seneca, and Champlain Canals, and their historic alignments, and surrounding communities.

Official contest rules and an entry form are available online.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca,  Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more  than 230 canal communities. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, collaborates with government agencies, communities and organizations to protect and  promote the canal corridor for all to use and enjoy.

Photo: 2011 Photo Contest Winner, “Lockport Locks” by Stephen Bye.

Forest to Fields: Champlain Valley Agriculture History


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A short booklet, From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in new York’s Champlain Valley published by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County and the Lake to Locks Passage Scenic Byway highlights the rich history of the Champlain Valley with a focus on the region’s farms and fields.

From Forests to Fields is authored by Anita Deming, who has more than 30 years experience as an agricultural extension agent with CCE, and Andrew Alberti, Program Manager for Lakes to Locks Passage since 2008 (where he focuses on 21st century technology applications and local and regional interpretation and planning) and a contributor here at New York History. Alberti is also editor for the Lakes to Locks Passage and National Geographic Geotourism website.

Chapters cover Native American agriculture, early explorers and settlements, the agricultural revolution, farming in the modern era and a short review of the architecture and use of farm buildings and a list of resources. The authors explain the impact of the 1807 Embargo Act, the influence of the opening of the Champlain Canal in 1823 on local farm trade, the grange movement, and changes in the local sheep and dairy industries, and more.

The booklet is 48 pages and profusely illustrated. You can request a copy by contacting Lakes to Locks Passage. There is a suggested $10 + S&H donation.

Canal Life: Near Tragedy on the George W. Lee


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In November 1886, Captain John Frawley of the canal boat George W. Lee reached the eastern terminus of the Mohawk River at Cohoes. Before him was the Hudson River intersection: south led to Albany and New York City, and north was the path of the Champlain Canal, which ran from Waterford to Whitehall, at Lake Champlain’s southern tip. Access to the Champlain Canal was on the north bank at the Mohawk’s mouth, opposite Peeble’s Island.

At the mouth of the river was a dam, maintaining calm water so the boats could cross the river, and about 500 feet upstream from the dam was a bridge. Canal boats were pulled by tow ropes linked to teams of mules or horses. To cross from the south bank of the Mohawk to the north, towing teams used the bridge, which is what Frawley did.

Sounds simple, and usually, it was. But the Mohawk was badly swollen from several days of rain. Traveling at night, Frawley was perhaps unaware that the normally strong current had intensified. Water was fairly leaping over the nine-foot-high dam.

Accompanying the captain were his mother, around 60 years old; his ten-year-old son; and the boat’s steersman, Dennis Clancy. To help ensure that things went okay, Frawley left the boat to assist the team driver during the crossing of the 700-foot-long bridge. They moved slowly—the rope extended sideways from the bridge downstream towards the boat, an angle much more difficult than pulling a load forward along the canal.

Below them, the George W. Lee lay heavy in the current, straining against the rope. All went well until the bridge’s midpoint was reached, when, with a sound like a gunshot, the rope snapped. Horrified, they watched as the boat swung around, slammed sideways into the dam, and plunged over the edge. Nothing was left but darkness.

Shock and grief enveloped them at such a sudden, terrible loss. Within minutes, though, a light appeared on the boat’s deck. It had held together! At least one person had survived, but no one knew how many, or if any were injured. The roar of the river drowned out any attempt at yelling back and forth. With the boat aground, there was nothing to do but sit and wait until morning.

With daylight came great news. All were okay! But, as had happened the previous evening, great elation was followed by great uncertainty. How could they be saved? The river remained high and dangerous. The boat, resting on the rocks below the dam, could not be reached. And the November chill, heightened by cold water pouring over the dam all around them, threatened the stranded passengers with hypothermia.

A rescue plan was devised, and by late afternoon, the effort began. The state scow (a large, flat-bottomed boat), manned by a volunteer crew of seven brave men, set out on a dangerous mission. Connected to the bridge by a winch system using two ropes, the scow was slowly guided to the dam, just above the stranded boat.

The men began talking with the passengers to discuss their evacuation. Then, without warning, disaster struck. Something within the winch mechanism failed, and again, with a loud cracking sound, the rope snapped. Over the dam went the scow, fortunately missing the canal boat. Had they hit, the results would have been catastrophic.

Briefly submerged, the scow burst to the surface. A safe passage lay ahead, but the drifting scow was instead driven towards nearby Buttermilk Falls by the swift current. Two men leaped overboard and swam for shore in the icy water. The rest decided to ride it out.

In one reporter’s words, “The scow sped like an arrow toward Buttermilk Falls. It seemed to hang an instant at the brink, and then shot over the falls. It landed right side up and soon drifted ashore.” Incredibly, everyone survived intact. Chilled, wet, and shaken, but intact.

Meanwhile, still stuck at the base of the dam was a canal boat with cold, hungry, and frightened passengers. A new plan was needed, but darkness was descending. The stranded victims would have to spend another night on the rocks.

On the following day, Plan B was tried. According to reports, “A stout rope was stretched from the Waterford bridge, over the dam, to a small row boat at Peeble’s Island [a distance of about 1800 feet.] Two men stood on the bridge and pulled the skiff upstream until it came alongside the canal boat Lee. The party embarked and the boat was allowed to drift back to the island.”

What an amazing, fortuitous outcome. Two boats (one at night) over a dam; three people trapped for more than 36 hours in a raging river; two men swimming for their lives in icy water; and five men and a boat over a waterfall. All that potential for tragedy, and yet all survived unscathed.

Photos: The dam at Cohoes, looking west from Peeble’s Island; A canal boat scene at Cohoes.

Lawrence Gooley has authored ten books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 19 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.

Recent Publications: Bottoming Out (Fall 2011)


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Bottoming Out is the journal of the Canal Society of New York State. It is published and sent to members of the Society twice a year. It features articles on the history of canals, trip previews and reviews, events calendar, and other “Useful and Interesting Notes”. See the Canal Society web page at www.newyorkcanals.org for more information. The Summer / Fall 2011 issue of Bottoming Out featured articles on: Continue reading

Canal Society of New York’s Winter Symposium


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The Canal Society of New York State has announced it’s Winter Symposium will be held Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Warshof Conference Center at Monroe Community College’s Brighton Campus, 1000 East Henrietta Road in Rochester (Monroe Room A & B; Park in Lot M, Center Road; enter through lobby at northeast corner of Building 3).

The Symposium includes papers on topics that are directly or indirectly related to historic or operating New York State Canals, canals and inland waterways worldwide, and the communities through which they run.

Further information, a including a summary of the agenda and pre-registration procedures may be found at the Society’s webpage; pre-registration forms are due by February 22nd.

Canal Society is an organization of canal enthusiasts who study New York canal history, including its effect on the life and economy of the State; exchange information; promote interest in the canals in the United States and abroad; educate the public and encourage preservation of canal records, relics, structures and sites; and help restore abandoned canals and historic vessels, including replicating their structures.

Founded in Buffalo on October13, 1956, the Canal Society is a not-for-profit educational organization that enables people to visit canal sites in New York State and beyond through regular, organized field trips, to share information and ideas about preserving canal history and traditions, and to advocate for canal renewal and development.

Illustration: The first issue of the Canal Society of New York State’s journal Bottoming Out.

Waterford Tug Boat Round-Up Cancelled


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The annual Waterford Tugboat Roundup scheduled for Sept. 9-11, 2011, at the Waterford Harbor on the Erie Canal has been canceled because of the impacts from Tropical Storm Irene.

High waters and flood damage have hampered navigation along the New York State Canal system. The Hudson River also has high waters.



The Erie Canal remains closed to navigation between Lock 2 in Waterford, Saratoga County, and Lock 19 in Frankfort, Montgomery County. The Champlain Canal remains closed for its entire length. No date has been established on when these canal sections might re-open.

For updates and information monitor 1-800-4CANAL4 and www.canals.ny.gov.

Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep, April 15-17


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In recognition of Earth Day 2011 and in preparation for the upcoming 187th consecutive navigation season on the New York State Canal System, the New York State Canal Corporation is partnering with Parks & Trails New York, and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to sponsor the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep during the weekend of April 15th-17th, 2011.

The Canal Clean Sweep highlights the growing significance of the Canal System and the Canalway Trail System as a recreational and tourism destination across the state by encouraging communities, not-for-profit organizations and volunteers to engage in cleanup and beautification activities along the Canal System and the Canalway Trail.

More than 90 communities, service groups, and businesses across the New York State Canal System are participating in the Canal Clean Sweep by hosting local clean up activities in Canal parks, along public promenades and on Canalway Trail segments in their region.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

For more information on the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep or to help coordinate an event in your community, please visit www.ptny.org or contact Wally Elton with Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583 or welton@ptny.org.

Champlain Canalway Trail Plan Unveiled


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At the Historic Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson Partnership meeting yesterday, Hudson Crossing Park announced the release of the Champlain Canalway Trail Action Plan for the 62-mile corridor between Waterford and Whitehall in Saratoga and Washington
Counties.

The Action Plan is intended to help focus and coordinate locally-based efforts to complete the Champlain Canalway Trail. It uses narrative, maps and photographs to describe the existing conditions, issues and opportunities along the proposed trail route. Each segment of the Action Plan can be used as a stand-alone by an individual community, to help focus attention and prompt constructive dialog.

The 62-mile Champlain Canalway Trail, together with the 9-mile Glens Falls Feeder Canal Trail, comprise one leg of the planned statewide Canalway Trail system. The 348-mile Erie Canalway Trail between Albany and Buffalo is the longest trail in the system. Now more than three-fourths complete, it is actively used by people in local communities, and is rapidly becoming a world-class recreational trail, attracting visitors from across the country as well as from abroad.

In the Champlain Canal corridor, about 17 miles of trail are complete, and another 14 miles are either in planning stages or expected to be completed within the next few years. Similar to the Erie Canalway Trail, the Champlain Canalway Trail is envisioned as an off-road trail wherever possible, with some on-road linkages. Once completed, the trail will provide connectivity between residential areas, business districts,
schools, parks and communities while reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

The Champlain Canalway Trail will be used by bicyclists, walkers, historical tourists, cross-country skiers and others. Sections will also be used seasonally by snowmobilers.

The completed Action Plan was produced by the LA Group of Saratoga Springs. It was funded by a grant awarded to Schuylerville-based Hudson Crossing Park, Inc, (www.hudsoncrossingpark.org) from the Rails to Trails Conservancy, a national organization that supports trail development.
Planning assistance was provided by the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service.

For further information contact:

Southern Champlain Canalway Trail representative:
Nelson Ronsvalle – nronsvalle@townofhalfmoon.org

Central Champlain Canalway Trail representative:
Marlene Bissell – info@hudsoncrossingpark.org

Northern Champlain Canalway Trail representative:
Jeanne Williams – jpw.fca@gmail.com

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History


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The eastern edge of the Adirondack Park stretches into the middle of Lake Champlain, that great river-lake 120 miles long, four times the size of Lake George. Standing between the states of New York and Vermont, it’s the largest body of water in the Adirondacks, one that connects Whitehall and (via the Champlain Canal and Hudson River) New York City to Quebec’s Richelieu River and the St. Lawrence River.

Two routes inland from the Atlantic Ocean that have had a historic impact on the entire North County, New York and Vermont. The book Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History celebrates what is unquestionably America’s most historic lake. Continue reading

Canal Society Symposium Announced


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The Canal Society of New York State’s (CSNY) daylong 2011 Winter Symposium, will be held March 5th, 2011 at the Monroe Community College campus in Rochester, New York. The Symposium covers topics that are directly or indirectly related to historic or operating New York State Canals, canals and inland waterways worldwide, and the communities through which they run.

This year’s symposium will include a presentation, “Clinton’s Ditch and Enlarged Erie Aqueduct Survey” by Capt. Rob Mangold, Vice President, CSNY; “An Exploration of the Burlington and Desjardins Canals by Robert W. Sears, of the Canadian Canal Society; “Managing NYS Canal Infrastructure in Difficult Economic Times” by Carmella R. Mantello, Director of the NYS Canal Corporation; “Geographic Resources for the Erie Canal”; “Three Generations on the Erie Barge Canal: A Photographic Chronicle” by “High Canals and Deep Rivers—Southern Germany Waterways Tour” and more.

CSNYS membership is not a requirement to attend. Pre-registration cost prior to February 23rd is $40 per person.

Contact:

David L. Kipp
61 Thistledown Drive
Rochester, NY 14617

The $40 per person cost covers a continental breakfast, coffee break, lunch, parking and speaker fees. Provide Davd Kipp with the names of the attendees and a telephone number. A check for $40 should be made payable to: Canal Society of New York State

Registration can be made on the day of the seminar at $50 per person.

A downloadable program can be found at the society’s website.

Snowmobilers Partner to Help Save Historic Bridge


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On a chilly Sunday morning, January 23rd, the Washington County Association of Snowmobile Clubs presented Hudson Crossing Park with a check of $4000 as their contribution towards the local match of the transportation enhancement grant awarded to rehabilitate Dix Bridge, a centerpiece of the park that connects Saratoga and Washington Counties.

Hudson Crossing Park has been leading the charge to rehabilitate the historic bridge since it was closed in 1999. Marlene Bissell, president of Hudson Crossing Park said, “The Washington County Association of Snowmobile Clubs, with Dave Perkins at the helm have been exceptionally supportive of Hudson Crossing Park and rehabilitating the Dix Bridge. We are so grateful!”

The clubs of the Association value the opportunity to put in place a safe, non-ice trail crossing from Washington County into Saratoga County. With the restored Dix Bridge providing the trail connection, snowmobilers will finally be able to ride from many parts of New York State into Washington County and access the excellent trail systems of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The clubs that donated $500 from their own fund-raising efforts include Battenkill Snowdrifters, Granville Border Riders, Greenwich Trail Blazers, Hartford Ridge Riders, Hoosic Trail Masters, Kingsbury Barnstormers, Sno-Kats and Northern Washington County Trails Blazers.

The Board of Directors of Hudson Crossing Park undertook the challenge to preserve the Dix Bridge over ten years ago. In a pro-active intermuniciapal effort, Saratoga and Washington Counties, the Towns of Saratoga, Northumberland, and Greenwich, and the Historic Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson Partnership have come together to preserve a significant piece of history and provide safe passage over the Hudson River for hundreds of pedestrians, bicyclists, and snowmobilers. Funding for this significant project will be acquired primarily through a federal transportaion enhancement program. Local organizations and agencies are coming together to provide the remaining funds necessary.

Engineers from Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. have begun work on plans to rehabilitate the historic Dix Bridge. Extensive structural inspections have taken place to ensure proper stabilization of the bridge. Work on the Dix Bridge will commence in 2011. It is hoped the Bridge will re-open as a shared use recreational trail late in 2012. The bridge will not be open to automobiles.

In addition to providing safe passage across the Hudson River for snowmobilers, the Dix Bridge will serve as the link between Saratoga and Washington Counties for the NYS Canalway Trail. In the near future, a 67 mile-long Champlain Canalway Trail will link communities from Whitehall to Waterford and join the Erie Canalway Trail leading to Buffalo. The economic benefit of the Canalway Trail statewide was estimated in 2007 to be $27,705,731. The new Champlain Canalway Trail will help bring a portion of those dollars to our local communities.

For more information about the Hudson Crossing Bi-County Park, call Marlene Bissell at 518.859.1462 or visit: www.hudsoncrossingpark.org. Hudson Crossing is a bi-county educational park project centered on and near the Champlain Canal Lock 5 Island of the Hudson River.

Photo: Above, closed Dix Bridge. Below, attending the ceremony from left to right are: Dave Linendoll, WCASC President; Claudia Irwin, Hartford Ridge Riders; Mike Irwin, Hartford Ridge Riders; Sara Idleman, Supervisor, Town of Greenwich; Tom Richardson, Supervisor, City of Mechanicville; George Morrow, Battenkill Snow Drifters; Judy Dashnaw, Kingsbury Barnstormers; Doug Brownell, Sno-Kats; Marlene Bissell, President, Hudson Crossing; Cliff Howard, Greenwich Trail Blazers; Hank Dashnaw, Kingsbury Barnstormers; Dave Perkins, WCASC; Ben Gaines, Hoosick Trail Masters; Ed Leonard, Kingsbury Barnstormers; Jason Hammond, Greenwich Trail Blazers.

Glens Falls Feeder Canal and Towpath Trail Improvements


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State and local officials have announced completion of connection improvements to the Glens Falls Feeder Canal and Towpath Trail, and officially opened the improved waterfront.

The “Warren County – Improving Feeder Canal Community Connections Project” has expanded community connections along the Glens Falls Feeder Canal and the Towpath Trail with $140,585 funded by the New York State Canal Corporation through the Erie Canal Greenway Grant Program.

Warren County partnered with the Canal Corporation, the City of Glens Falls, the Town of Queensbury and the Feeder Canal Alliance, a not-for-profit entity whose mission includes preserving and expanding public use of the Feeder Canal Towpath and associated structures.

Work has been completed in both the Overlook Park in the Town of Queensbury and Haviland Cove in the City of Glens Falls. Site improvements to both parks included resurfacing of the roadways, trailways and parking areas, including Haviland Cove, where school buses park. Electrical services were also installed in both parks, including the pavilion in Haviland Cove. Benches, tables, grills, and a covered pavilion were installed in Overlook Park. Additionally, 3.6 miles of towpath trail was resurfaced by county work forces with stonedust for use as a bike and pedestrian trail.

In addition, the Canal Corporation provided $9,000 to complete signage along the seven-mile Feeder Canal Trail in both Warren and Washington Counties. Weathered signs were refurbished and replaced, and obsolete signs were replaced with new interpretive signs.

The Erie Canal Greenway Grant Program, administered by the Canal Corporation, was created to help spur community revitalization along the 524-mile Canal System. Fifty-four Greenway grants were awarded on a competitive basis to communities and non-profit organizations for capital projects that enhance and promote tourism, recreation, historic interpretation, and community revitalization in 19 counties along the New York State Canal System. All grants require a 50-percent match in local funds or in-kind services.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. In 1992 State legislation transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.

Photo: Glens Falls Feeder Canal Lock 1. Photo Courtesy of Tug44.org.