Tag Archives: Champlain Canal

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.

Registration for 5th Canal Splash! Now Open


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The New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Parks & Trails New York have announced that the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! will take place during the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. This year’s Canal Splash! will offer a series of locally organized events designed to highlight the history, beauty, culture and recreational appeal of the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail.

Any Canal Corridor community, business, club or non-profit organization may participate in the Canal Splash! and may register its event at www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html. Examples of local events include, but are not limited to, nature or history walks along the Canal or Canalway Trail; museum gallery features or exhibits; group bicycle rides on the Canalway Trail; rowing regattas; Canalside business or restaurant specials; kayak or canoe tours; cruise boat tours; Canal festivals, concerts and more.

The Canal Corporation encourages those along the Canal to help create awareness and generate additional exposure for their communities, businesses or events by participating in this year’s Canal Splash!. Last year’s Canal Splash! featured more than 120 events and attracted tens of thousands of visitors during the three day, multi-location celebration.

Canal Splash! will be promoted through a printed guide that will be distributed widely during July and August and will drive people to the online listing. In order to gain maximum exposure, it is encouraged that events be registered no later than June 3, 2010 to be included in the printed guide.

For more information about the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! or to register an event, please refer to www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html or contact the New York State Canal Corporation at (518) 436-3055.

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.

History Groups Among Recipients of Canal Grants


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The New York State Canal Corporation has announced the recipients of the 2010 Canal Corporation Tourism Matching Grant Awards Program and the list includes several public history organizations. A total of $30,000 is being awarded to a total of 16 projects for local and regional initiatives to promote the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail as a year-round recreational resource and tourism destination. A full list of the 2010 grant recipients is below, but it includes the Niagara County Historical Society, Schenectady Heritage Area, and Historic Palmyra among other groups whose goals include historical tourism.

The grant program was open to designated Tourism Promotion Agencies (TPAs), Chambers of Commerce, Nonprofit organizations and canal communities in New York State for the development of Canal System promotional material consistent with regional themes set forth in the Canal Recreationway Plan and recommendations contained in the state’s “A Report on the Future of New York State Canals”.

The grants provide up to $2,500 for the development of promotional materials that promote the Canal System and/or Canalway Trail, or specific Canal-related events, festivals or attractions.

Special consideration was given this year to applications that involved collaborative partnerships among several TPAs and/or private industry to create multi-county, regional thematic canal destinations and self-guided tours consistent with historical, cultural, urban and environmental assets and attractions contained along or within the Canal System and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Additionally, all awarded projects incorporated Canal Corporation logos and the New York Canal System’s promotional theme: “Cruise the Past, Unlock the Adventure”. Materials will be made available to the public at no charge.

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 regarding events, recreational and vacation opportunities along the Canal System, visit www.nyscanals.gov or call 1-800-4CANAL4.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority (Authority). Since 1992, following State legislation transferring the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Authority, Canal operating and maintenance activities have been supported by Thruway toll revenue.

2010 CANAL CORPORATION TOURISM MATCHING GRANTS (listed by Canal)

Agency Name – Contact – Grant Award

Canal System-wide

• Canal New York Marketing and Business Alliance, Inc., Victoria Daly, $2,500.00

Erie Canal

• Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition, Inc., Eric Hamilton, $2,500.00

• Schenectady Heritage Area, Maureen Gebert, $2,500.00

• Stockade Association, Lyn Gordon, $800.00

• U.S. Water Ski Show Team, Kara Pangburn, $2,000.00

• Town of Niskayuna, Lori Peretti, $500.00

• Historic Palmyra, Bonnie Hays, $1,050.00

• Fairport Village Partnership, Scott Winner, $2,500.00

• Niagara County Historical Society, Douglas Farley, $1,117.50

• Lockport Main Street, Inc., Heather Peck, $2,400.00

• Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, Joyce Santiago, $2,500.00

Champlain Canal

• Lakes to Locks Passage, Inc., Janet Kennedy, $2,500.00

• Hudson Crossing Park, Inc., Marlene Bissell, $2,500.00

• Rensselaer County, Christine Golden, $1,427.84

Oswego Canal

• Oswego County Dept. of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, Janet Clerkin, $2,500.00

Cayuga Seneca Canal

• Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, Sarah Osterling, $700.00

Historic Vessels Arrive in Plattsburgh For Events


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The historic canal motorship Day Peckinpaugh arrived in Plattsburgh today as it travels the Champlain and Hudson Corridor on its 500-mile Quadricentennial Legacy Voyage. The 259-foot canal boat, built in 1921, will be joined by the replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure and 1901 Tug Urger at the Wilcox Dock in Plattsburgh on August 11-12 and at the Burlington waterfront on August 14-16. The public is invited to step on board free of charge (see tour schedule below for hours). Continue reading

VPR Looks At Historic Lake Champlain Sinkings


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All last week Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has been running a series of reported entitled “History Under the Waves” looking at five historic wrecks that lie at the bottom of Lake Champlain. Over 300 shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Champlain, and VPR looked at what sent five of them to their fates, including a Revolutionary War gunboat, a lake schooner, two steamboats, and a sailing canal boat. The reports also feature a photo gallery.

Much of what is known about the extend of underwater remains of Champlain shipwrecks comes from surveys conducted by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). The LCMM has been instrumental in conducting archeological surveys and persuading New York and Vermont to establish the Lake Champlain Historic Preserve System in order to provide access for divers to some of the Lake’s historic shipwrecks. You can find a list of manning of the Champlain Shipwrecks at the LCMM Shipwrecks site.

3.1 Million For Historic Erie / Champlain Canal Tug Boat


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The New York State Museum has received a $3.1 million federal transportation grant to make mechanical upgrades to the Day Peckinpaugh, paving the way for the historic canal boat’s transformation into a permanent floating museum, dedicated to sharing the history and heritage of the state’s canal system.

As the first motorship of its kind specifically designed for the dimensions of the 20th-century Erie Barge Canal, and the last surviving vessel of its kind remaining afloat, the Peckinpaugh has become an iconic fixture on the state’s waterways. Built in 1921 in Duluth, Minnesota to carry grain from the Midwest to New York City, it was the harbinger for nearly a hundred other canal motorships that were seen everywhere on the waterway until 1950. In 1994, the Peckinpaugh made its final commercial voyage, with communities from Rome to Oswego turning out to wave goodbye.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Peckinpaugh was saved from the scrap heap in 2005 through the efforts of the New York State Museum, in partnership with the New York State (NYS) Canal Corporation; NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission; the National Park Service and the Canal Society of New York State.

The Peckinpaugh is scheduled to have temporary exhibits installed for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain quadricentennial celebration tour in August and September. This was organized by the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, in conjunction with the State Museum, Saratoga National Historical Park and the New York State Canal Corporation. This new federal grant will provide funds for the rehabilitation work necessary before permanent exhibits can be installed and the Peckinpaugh is ready for continuous tours.

The grant was among more than $81 million in federal funding for 59 transportation projects across New York State, announced by Governor David Paterson. Funds will be allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) projects. TEP finances transportation improvements with cultural, aesthetic, historical and environmental significance. It’s hoped the projects will make necessary improvements to local walkways, bicycle paths and other transportation routes while spurring economic development and job creation.

The value of a waterborne traveling exhibition, dedicated to sharing the history of the canal system, became apparent when more than a million visitors turned out to visit the 1976 Bicentennial Barge, which reached several dozen communities over a five-month journey. It is estimated that as much as 85 percent of the state’s population live in regions within a half-hour drive of the state’s waterway network.

The Peckinpaugh will follow a schedule of visits from New York City to Plattsburgh to Buffalo to Ithaca. When it is not touring during the navigation season it will be available for tours at the historic Matton Shipyard at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford. During the winter season it may also be open at its winter berth on the Waterford Flight.

Plans call for the Peckinpaugh’s permanent exhibitions to be installed and ready for visitors by summer 2010. The National Park Service will coordinate the development and operation of the exhibitions in the 130-foot long open cargo hold of the motorship, which at one time carried 160 tons of dry cement. While maintaining the Peckinpaugh’s industrial character, initial plans call for the creation of a gallery that is nearly as large as some gallery spaces in the State Museum. The gallery will be universally accessible and compliant with the American Disabilities Act..

This grant will help to mitigate a decade of neglect that left many of the boat’s mechanical systems in disrepair when it was largely abandoned in Erie, Pa. between 1995 and 2005. It follows a $290,000 grant in 2006 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Environmental Protection Fund that has been used to stabilize the Peckinpaugh. Additional work will include the replacement of fuel tanks, ballast piping and valves, the possible addition of a new ballast tank and the rebuilding of fresh water, sanitary and electrical systems. Plans also include some hull plate replacement, repair and painting.