Tag Archives: Erie Canalway Heritage Corridor

Grants Available for Canal-Related History Projects


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Main Street and Canal StreetThe Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is accepting applications through Friday, October 25, 2013 for 2013-2014 Canalway Grants. Grants ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 will be awarded for projects that serve to advance the goals of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan.

Proposals related to historic preservation, conservation, recreation, interpretation, tourism, and community development will be considered. Awards must be matched dollar for dollar. Continue reading

Erie Canalway Executive Director Stepping Down


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7After eight years with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Executive Director Beth Sciumeca has announced that she will be transitioning out of her position as executive director over the next six months to pursue other professional opportunities.

Sciumeca has worked for the Erie Canalway since 2005. She led the organization during the early stages of implementing its Preservation and Management Plan. An announcement that appeared in the Canalway’s newsletter said “She has been instrumental in raising the stature of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor both nationally and statewide.” Continue reading

Canalway Closures: Flooding Hits Erie Canal Communities


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04_Trail20130628-DSC_4087-452x299Just as the eastern section of the Erie Canal was set to reopen from previously flooding closures, heavy rain fell onto already saturated ground late Thursday night and into Friday, causing creeks to rage out of their banks throughout the Mohawk Valley.

The torrent flooded several canal communities from Little Falls to Fort Plain, leaving a path of destruction, closing an Eastern portion of the Canal and some sections of the Erie Canalway Trail, and halted the replica canal boat Lois McClure. Continue reading

Erie Canalway Heritage Excellence Recognized


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MACEDON-LOCK60_TrailsGroup2013The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission has announced the recipient of the 2013 Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence: Enlarged Erie Lock 60 and Gallup’s Change Bridge #39 in Macedon, Monroe County. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Bushnell’s Basin Boat Dock and Canal Amenity Center in the Town of Perinton and the Trail of Hope in Lyons.

The Heritage Award honors significant places of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and recognizes excellence in advancing the goals of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan. A five-person independent jury selected award recipients based on a written application and site visit, which included meetings with officials at each site, as well as community leaders, municipal representatives, and other stakeholders. Continue reading

Report: Progress in Closing Erie Canal Trail Gaps


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Erie Canal Trail Status 2012Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) have released their third annual report, Closing the Gaps: A Progress Report on the Erie Canalway Trail 2012. “Since PTNY and CTANY launched their “Closing the Gaps Campaign” in 2010 in conjunction with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, interest in completing the Erie Canalway Trail among citizens, community leaders, and local, state and federal government officials has reached an all-time high,” the groups said in a press release announcing the annual report.

The report notes efforts in 2012 to close the remaining 84 miles of gaps in the 361-mile trail that extends from Buffalo to Albany: Continue reading

Grants to Bring Students to Historic Canal Sites


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The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor recently received an $8,000 grant from the National Park Foundation that will enable 1,472 students from 27 schools in eight school districts across New York State to participate in educational field trips along the Erie Canal this fall.

“We have tremendous canal historic sites from Buffalo to Albany, but the cost of bringing students to them has become prohibitive for many districts. This grant removes that barrier so that students can experience firsthand the innovation and impact of the Erie Canal,” said Beth Sciumeca, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
In addition to Ticket To Ride funding, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor secured an additional $5,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to enhance the field trip program. These funds are being used to enlist the assistance of the Albany Institute of History & Art, which is developing a web-based curriculum guide and conducting teacher training and post-visit evaluations.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is one of 35 national parks and heritage areas to receive a grant from the National Park Foundation, the national charitable partner of America’s National Parks. With support from Disney, the Ticket To Ride program provides financial resources for transportation and in-park educational programming that make field trips to national parks and heritage areas possible for schools across the country.

Looking for funding? This competitive grant program makes awards ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 and is aimed at funding projects that serve to advance the goals and strategies of the Erie Canalway Preservation and Management Plan.

Proposals related to historic preservation, conservation, recreation, interpretation, tourism, and community development will be considered. Eligible organizations and requested projects must be based within Corridor boundaries and include nonprofits, municipalities, and federally recognized Native American tribes.

The application deadline is Friday, October 12, 2012. A full grant description and application can be found online: www.eriecanalway.org/get-involved_grants-fund.htm. Awards will be announced in January 2013.

The program is administered by the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, in partnership with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission.

For more information contact: Andy Kitzmann, Project Manager, 518-237-7000, ext. 201.

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.

Group to Study Economic Impact of Erie Canalway Trail


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Visitors to the Erie Canalway Trail this summer may encounter students wanting to know more about their visit as part of a an economic impact study being conducted by the statewide not-for-profit advocacy group, Parks & Trails New York (PTNY). Paul Scipione, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Business and Director of the Survey/Research Center at SUNY Geneseo is leading the eight-month effort.

Throughout July and August, Dr. Scipione and his team will survey 600-800 current trail users to gather data on demographics, trail usage and spending patterns, and overall trail experience. Approximately 30 SUNY Geneseo undergraduates who live within the Canalway Trail corridor will administer the survey to persons selected randomly at multiple points along the trail. In addition, students will be noting the number and nature of trail users as part of an expansion of the annual Erie Canalway Trail count.

Students will also survey local business owners and government, economic development and tourism officials. The information obtained from the surveys will be used to ascertain current and potential economic impacts of the Erie Canalway Trail on New York’s economy, in terms of dollars as well as jobs generated and sustained. Study results will be published in early 2013.

“We are certain the Erie Canalway Trail has a positive effect on the economy of hundreds of local communities, but we don’t presently have statistically valid data to back that up. We look forward to receiving the survey results and sharing them with business owners, elected officials, and community residents,” said PTNY Executive Director Robin Dropkin.

Dr. Scipione has directed more than 1,000 research studies, a number of which have dealt with travel and tourism, recreational venues and the measurement of quality-of-life issues.

Parks & Trails New York is the leading nonprofit organization, working since 1985, to expand, protect and promote a network of parks, trails and open space throughout New York State through advocacy, outreach, technical assistance to communities, and promotion of bicycle tourism. For more than a decade, PTNY has actively promoted the Canalway Trail through its annual Cycling the Erie Canal tours; popular guidebook, Cycling the Erie Canal: A guide to 400 miles of adventure and history along the Erie Canalway Trail; and interactive on line version of its guidebook. PTNY has also worked with local business people and elected officials to attract and meet the needs of bicycle tourists in their communities through its Bicyclists Bring Business workshops and guidebook, Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicyclists to New York’s Canal Communities. For more information, go to www.ptny.org.

The study is funded in part by the New York State Canal Corporation and the 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)

New Erie Canalway Map and Guide Issued


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The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission has released its 2012 Erie Canalway Map & Guide to introduce residents and visitors to the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Copies can be obtained at 150 sites, including visitor centers, libraries, cultural heritage sites, and canal locks all along the New York State Canal System, and online.

The eight page newspaper-style guide includes a map of the National Heritage Corridor, as well as a list of canal-related cultural heritage sites, boat rental and tour companies, places to cycle on the Erie Canalway Trail, and more.


The map and guide, along with the website www.eriecanalway.org, are among the efforts by the heritage corridor commission to increase awareness about the waterway, trail, and national significance of the Erie Canal.

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.

New York Heritage Weekend, May 19 and 20th


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Organizations throughout the state will celebrate New York history during this year’s New York Heritage Weekend on May 19th & 20th. Now in its 3rd year, the weekend will offer special programs, discounted or free admission to sites and events that celebrate national, state or local heritage.

Guided hikes, local history festivals, historic garden events, open historic houses, and events that explore all kinds of New York culture and history are on tap. Last year Heritage Weekend hosted 166 Heritage Weekend events with 143 federal, state, and private organizations. For a full searchable listing of events, and maps see www.heritageweekend.org .

Not only does this Heritage Weekend celebrate New York’s rich history, but it also boosts local economies. According to recent studies, tourism generates 81 billion dollars and sustains over 670,000 jobs in New York. According to a recent study recent commissioned by the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce, 78% of US domestic travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities.

“Heritage Weekend opens the door to so many of New York’s great historic and cultural treasures,” said Beth Sciumeca, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “Once that door is open, people will find that there is a lifetime of places to experience throughout the state.”

New York Heritage Weekend 2012 is funded in part by The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and sponsored by I Love NY, National Park Service, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and participating event partners.

Handy Guide to Cycling the Erie Canal Updated


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The outstanding bicycling and sightseeing waiting for visitors along the legendary Erie Canal is highlighted in the newly revised edition of Cycling the Erie Canal: A guide to 400 miles of adventure and history along the Erie Canalway Trail. The book, which features new sections of trail and up-to-date listings of lodging, bike shops, and other services, is published by Parks & Trails New York (PTNY), the statewide non-profit parks and trails advocacy organization.

Cycling the Erie Canal is a resource for cyclists planning to bike the entire route as well as for riders looking to enjoy an afternoon on the trail. It is also useful for walkers, hikers, in-line skaters, boaters, and auto travelers who want to enjoy the trail and some of the historic and cultural sights along the route.

The 144-page guidebook includes 42 full-color maps and more than 100 color photos that detail the trail route, as well as the things to see and do along the way. In addition to parks, museums, historic sites, and visitor centers, the maps indicate lodging and bike shops. Services such as restaurants, convenience stores, ATMs, pharmacies, post offices, hardware stores, and parking areas are also shown.

Cycling the Erie Canal includes interpretive information about the history of the canal, plus tips on cycling, travel, and trip preparation. A spiral binding, and 5” by 9” size make the guide convenient to carry.

The Erie Canalway Trail route runs east-west between Buffalo and Albany and follows both active and historic sections of the Erie Canal.

The guidebook is the outgrowth of Parks & Trails New York’s many years of involvement with the Canalway Trail. PTNY runs an annual cross-state bicycle ride along the Erie Canal which draws 500 participants from across New York, the U.S. and the world.

“Over the years, more and more requests have come in from cyclists who want to ride the route on their own and are looking for a resource to show them what to see and do along the way, where to find a B&B, and how to locate a bike shop, pharmacy, or ATM. Cycling the Erie Canal provides this critical information,” says Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York and co-author of the guidebook.

Cycling the Erie Canal retails for $23.95. Parks & Trails New York members enjoy a special discount price. It is available from Parks & Trails New York by visiting the Parks & Trails New York website at www.ptny.org or calling 518-434-1583. The guide is also available at bookstores, bike shops and museum and gift shops.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.

The Status of Heritage Area Reform Legislation


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The National Heritage Areas Act of 2012 (H.R. 4099) introduced to Congress on February 29, 2012 is expected to support the work of four National Heritage Areas in New York State. U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (NY-21) and Charlie Dent (PA-15), co-chairs of the Congressional National Heritage Area Caucus, introduced H.R. 4099, a bill to reform and modernize the nation’s National Heritage Areas (NHA). The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on March 1.

Six U.S. Representatives from New York joined Congressman Tonko (NY-21) as an original sponsor on the bill that would affect the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, and Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.

U.S. Representatives from New York signing onto the legislation as original sponsors were Eliot Engel (NY-17), Richard Hanna (NY- 24), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Chris Gibson (NY-20), Nan Hayworth (NY-19), and Nita Lowey (NY-18).

“The heritage-rich 21st Congressional District helped write our nation’s history,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “A sense of place stands as a persuasive tool in the very competitive sweepstakes for jobs. Business decision makers are often attracted to a region that expresses significance, including its historical fabric. Therefore, by deepening heritage awareness and understanding a sense of place we are more marketable for jobs. A more defined sense of place provides an important tool in the tool kit for economic recovery.”

The National Heritage Area Program is an initiative of the Department of the Interior which relys on a public-private partnership; federal dollars are matched with an average of $5.50 in other public and private funding. “Heritage areas have a proven record of fostering job creation and advancing economic, cultural, historic, environmental, and community development,” according to a prepared statement issued by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. “In addition to creating jobs, NHAs generate valuable revenue for local governments and sustain communities through revitalization and heritage tourism.”

The legislation takes a new approach to heritage areas by establishing for the first time a standardized set of criteria for the designation of new NHAs and the review of those previously authorized. “Having a clearly defined structure to oversee the management of heritage areas will allow these popular public-private partnerships to better preserve the nation’s heritage and spur economic growth with minimal federal support,” the statement said.

Similar proposals to reform and modernize the program had been recommended by both the Bush and Obama administrations.