Schenectady County Erie Canal History Events Set

New York State is celebrating the bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s creation this year with a campaign to “Reimagine the Canal.”

A series of conversations focused on economic and environmental sustainability of the historical Mohawk river towns will be held in Schenectady County beginning March 8th.

These events will kick-off with a presentation by some of the region’s leading experts on the Erie Canal, followed by dialogue on how re-imagining the canal and river can help community revitalization and sustainability in the region.

Thurs., March 8, 7 pm, The first speaker will be David Brooks, education director at the Schoharie Crossing Visitors Center. Brooks’s talk “Through the Mire” looks at the environmental factors and impact of constructing the canal. Location: ECOS Headquarters, Niskayuna Community Center, 2682 Aqueduct Rd. The ECOS annual all-member meeting will be held at 5:30 pm to discuss 2018-19 priorities and elect new board members (membership required to vote, but all are welcome).

Wed., March 21, 6 pm, there will be a presentation by Brad Utter, the senior historian and curator for science and technology at the New York State Museum in Albany who curated the museum’s current exhibit, “Enterprising Waters:New York’s Erie Canal.” He will talk about the exhibit and how he put it together, as well as his favorite stories about the canal and those who conceived and built it. Location: McChesney Room, Schenectady County Public Library, 99 Clinton St., Schenectady.

Tues., April 24, 7 pm, Jack Kelly of Ulster County, author of the book Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal (St. Martin’s Press) will speak. Kelly is a journalist, novelist and historian whose book, according to a New York Times review, “engagingly juxtaposes the challenges confronting the dreamers who envisioned a link between the Atlantic, the Great Lakes and the apocalyptic cauldron brewing upstate…. [as] Mormons and Freemasons, joined with Welsh and Irish laborers recruited from Manhattan’s Five Points, carved the canal from rock and mud, thrusting them into a volatile existence.” Location: Schenectady Community College, 78 Washington Ave, Schenectady.

RSVP is encouraged, but not required for the March events. Tickets for the April 24 event will be available for sale on ECOS’ website in April.

These events are part of the Discover the Mohawk initiative sponsored by the City of Schenectady, Schenectady County Metroplex Authority, and LandArt Studio, the Environmental Clearinghouse.

This post originated from the NY History Blog

 

 

 

Plans announced to close gap in Erie Canalway Trail in Onondaga County

 

New York state has released a concept plan that closes the gap in the Erie Canalway Trail System between Camillus and DeWitt. It would extend the recreation trail through an urban area.

From the start, bridging the 14-mile gap has been the most challenging part of creating a seamless trail that closely follows the path of the Erie Canal.

“This segment of the trail goes through the most heavily urbanized areas of Onondaga County,” said Town of DeWitt planner Sam Gordon.

Gordon says there are several elements of the Elevating Erie concept plan that addresses that, but the most visible is arguably a multi-use, landscaped trail and green space running down the center median of Erie boulevard from Syracuse into DeWitt. It’s something that could ultimately change the traffic pattern of a road that was once a main thoroughfare from DeWitt into Syracuse.

“Erie Boulevard itself was designed before 690 was built,” Gordon said.” So there is a lot of excess capacity along Erie Boulevard East. And part of this project will investigate reducing the number of travel lanes.”

Other aspects of what the state is calling the Elevating Erie Concept Plan include a trail bridge over 481 near the Butternut Creek Canal Park and connecting downtown to Onondaga County’s Loop the Lake trail. 

Lawmakers have approved spending almost $22 million to complete the trail as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Trail initiative. The project still needs final approval and there are opportunities for public input. Plans are for construction to begin next year so the trail would be in place by 2020.

Article originally written by Ellen Abbott

 

Buy A Brick Program Baldwinsville

 

The development of the southwest trail, as part of the Canal Corridor Initiative, will include a walk of engraved bricks. This is an important project for our community and we need your help!

There is a contribution of $100.00 per brick for a corporation, $50.00 for an individual.

With an engraved brick, you can pay tribute to a family member, leave a message for future generations to see, or simply include your name among those who invested in the development of you community’s waterfront. Please help us preserve your name or message for future generations to see.

To include your name or message, please fill out the following form. Each brick is 4″ x 8″ and has space for 14 characters (including spacing and punctuation) per line, and 2 lines per brick.

Please make checks payable to the Village of Baldwinsville and mail them to:

Village of Baldwinsville 16 West Genesee Street Baldwinsville, NY 13027

All proceeds will go toward the development cost of completing the southwest trail.

*Please Note: Bricks are ordered annually and put in ground each spring.*

Fees Are Waived For Recreational Boaters On The Erie Canal in 2018

For the second straight year fees for recreational boaters are being waived for all recreational boaters on the Erie Canal Season.  That’s the good news, of course that notice came out right after the notification from the New York State Canal Corporation related to the once again shortened schedule for the 2018 navigation season.  The revised schedule is posted here. 

It is very important that the recreational boaters of the region get out on the water this year,  the only way to the Canal Corporation and it’s parent the NY Power Authority will return to a full navigation season is by the boaters and the communities along the canal getting out on the water, attend the waterfront events, use the locks.  A record is kept of every lock through done on the entire system.  If you’re concerned because the locks in your community are only open to 5, get out and use them.  The amount of locking’s in any specific lock is the only way the Canal Corp. can determine the boat traffic in a particular area. 

 

2018 Navigation Season On The Erie Canal

Dates & Hours of Operation during the 2018 Navigation Season on the Erie Canal

The New York State Canal Corporation announced once again that the navigation season on the Erie Canal will be shortened to a schedule similar to the 2017 season.

Boaters are advised that, conditions permitting, the Eastern Erie Canal (locks E-2 Waterford through E-23 Brewerton will be opened on Tuesday May 15th. at 10:00 

The balance of the New York State Canal System, including the Champlain Canal, Western Erie Canal, Oswego Canal and the Cayuga/Seneca Canal will be opened on  Friday May 18th. at 7:00 a.m. conditions permitting.

The entire Erie Canal System will close for the season on Wed October 10th. at 5 p.m.

The standard hours of operation for the 2018 season are 7 a.m. to 5 pm. with the following locks and lift bridges having extended hours until 10 p.m. from May 18th. to Sept. 12th.

  • Lock C-1, Halfmoon
  • Lock E-7, Niskayuna
  • Lock E-23, Brewerton
  • Lock O-1, Phoenix
  • Lock O-2, Fulton
  • Lock O-3, Fulton
  • Lock E-24, Baldwinsville
  • Main Street Lift Bridge, Fairport
  • Lock E-32, Pittsford
  • Lock E-33, Henrietta
  • Spencerport Lift Bridge
  • Adams Basin Lift Bridge
  • Park Avenue Lift Bridge, Brockport
  • Main Street Lift Bridge, Brockport
  • Holley Lift Bridge
  • Hulberton Lift Bridge
  • Ingersoll Street Lift Bridge, Albion
  • Main Street Lift Bridge, Albion
  • Eagle Harbor Lift Bridge
  • Knowlesville Lift Bridge
  • Medina Lift Bridge
  • Middleport Lift Bridge
  • Gasport Lift Bridge
  • Exchange Street Lift Bridge, Lockport
  • Lock E-34/35, Lockport
  • Lock CS-1, Cayuga
  • Lock CS-2/3, Seneca Falls
  • Lock CS-4, Waterloo

In addition to the structures listed above, Locks E-2 through E-6 and Guard Gate #2 in the Waterford Flight will operate on demand from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. from Thursday through Monday from May 18th to September 12th.  During the same period, the hours of operation for the Waterford Flight will be 7:00 am to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Due to roving operations, some delays may be experienced during certain periods in the Waterford Flight.

Vessels are required to arrive at a lock at least 15 minutes prior to closing to ensure being locked through, and at a lift bridge at least 5 minutes prior to ensure an opening. 

If there is any positive information out of the Canal Corporations continued reduction in the length of the navigational season it’s the fact that they have once again suspended the fees associated with recreational boating.

We welcome your comments on this years schedule.  All comments will be forwarded to the Canal Corporation.

 

 

Art & History Along The Erie Canal

Explore the juxtaposition of art and history along the Oswego and Erie canals in Oswego and Onondaga counties. Experience vibrant arts centers and interesting tours of modern and historical facilities. Take a walk down a quaint historic street, through fascinating museums, shops and a thought-provoking gallery.

 

Begin your tour along the historic Oswego Canal in the Port City. Explore 300 years of maritime history at the H Lee White Maritime Museum, located on a pier overlooking the harbor of America’s oldest freshwater port. Climb aboard the National Historic Landmark “LT-5,” a U.S. Army tugboat and veteran of the Normandy Invasion of World War II; “Lance Knapp,” the last steam-powered vessel on the Barge Canal; and Derrick Barge No. 8, a 1925 NYS Canal boat. View a vast display of artifacts including ship models, navigation equipment and nautical paintings.

 

Continue from the pier along historic West First Street to take in the exquisite architecture of an Underground Railroad site, the Buckhout-Jones Building. Stop into Canal Commons  to find the perfect gift at the artist-owned co-op, Riverside Artisans; browse a fine selection of wines, coffee, or tea at Andrew’s Wine Cellar and Taste the World; or pick up a sweet treat at Man in the Moon Candies.

 

Head over to Fulton for a delectable lunch with views of the historic Oswego Canal at Tavern On The Lock

 

After lunch, walk along the Oswego Canal  to Lock #3. Along the way, view the Salvation Army Building mural by local artist Ben Jerred which depicts the city’s history on the canal and pays tribute to the former L.C. Smith Hunter Arms Company. Enjoy a guided tour of the canal facility, learn what it takes to operate a lock, and possibly see a lock operator in action. (This is a seasonal venue.) Step across the street to the Arts Center  to view assorted artwork in a variety of mediums from local artists. Browse the gallery and add a new piece to your own collection.

 

Make your way to Syracuse to visit the Erie Canal Museum  where you will learn more about the history of this incredible man-made endeavor. Located in the only weigh-lock building still in existence in the U.S., the museum tells the story of the canal through exhibits, prints, photographs, documents and rare books.

 

Floating Homes Along The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal, the eighth wonder of the world is currently celebrating the bi-centennial of its creation. It is one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world and it might be the most underutilized recreational resource within New York State. Organizations such as Canal NY actively work to promote the system as well as the businesses within the Erie Canal Corridor.

Erie Canal Floating homes is a program designed to

                1)Promote increased use of the Canal

                2)Enhance economic impact throughout the communities within the Erie Canal Corridor.

It’s all about the water right, and getting out on the water is the number one way to experience the canal.

People utilize the canal in three ways.

  • Boaters travel the Canal on their own boats, they visit communities along the Canal, on vacations and long weekends,
  •  They spend time on their boats at their home port marinas, or they use their boats as day boats for being out on the lakes, for activities such as fishing, tubing, raft ups at swim areas, or visiting dock & dines
  • People looking to visit the Canal can take advantage of day trips provided by tour operators, or even rent a boat for a week or more and chart their own course on the Canal.

The biggest challenge to boating the canal is time, the time necessary to experience the Canal.

The idea of encouraging the use of floating homes along the Canal system to allow for more tourists to travel to and experience the Canal is exciting.

There are basically two different types of docking opportunities available to transient boaters, the first are from the communities along the Canal System that offer boaters the opportunities to spend the night, visit the community and avail themselves of the resources within these communities.  The second docking opportunity comes from the marinas that are in close proximity to the communities, this dynamic sometimes puts these two entities in direct competition with each other and in some communities has forced the elimination of the amenities normally available to the boater

“House Boat” from Destination Yachts

What if these marinas had the ability to fill their slips, maybe even utilize areas of these facilities that have proved difficult in the past, such as those areas that have access issues or low water depth.

What about marinas located in areas where transient boaters typically have passed them by? What about areas of the Canal that have been totally ignored by companies investing in similar businesses. Are there portions of the Canal that the State would like to see economic impact improvements within? Are there locations which once housed marinas that could be re-opened. These marinas could be much simpler to construct. They wouldn’t need fueling infrastructure, they wouldn’t even need to be constructed with travel lifts, the floating homes could be easily lifted out of the water after the season by the use of a crane hired for a day to lift out all the boats and place them on shore, same process could be done in the spring. Boats could be built with lift points built in place to simplify the process.

These boats could also be placed in areas that have been identified as flood plains and other areas where construction has proved to be challenging!

Sanitation for these boats could be built using a site wide pump out system connected to either a municipal sewer system or onsite treatment plant. The technology even exists to install a system that incinerates all liquid and solid waste and the results are a small amount of sterile ash that can be removed once a week or so for those areas that are truly remote.

Aqua-Lodges available from Catamarine Cruisers

These boats could be purchased by individuals for docking in existing marinas or waterfront campgrounds, or by the marinas themselves to be placed in rental fleets  

The Canal systems could easily accommodate 100 boats or more throughout the 524 miles of waterway. Each of these boats could generate thousands of dollars annually to a marina from docking and storage revenues. Organizations which wanted to own and operate rental units could be placed in systems such as Airbnb or VRBO.  Boats placed in marinas could generate additional revenue such as pontoon or fishing boat rentals, or create opportunities for marinas to update their facilities like adding a workout room or maybe even a pool.

Another version of a floating community is located in Clinton Ohio at a marina just off of Lake Erie, these floating homes are set up a little different and allow each owner the ability to park a boat adjacent to their floating homes as part of their monthly slip fees.

Lakeside Marina in Port Clinton Ohio
Ranch from Eco Sea Cottages

Floating Homes originated on the west coast in cities like Seattle, and a company call eco-sea cottages has created a product that can be delivered to any city or town in the country and will even locate a slip for your boat should you wish to purchase from them.  They too offer outboard engine and steering packages which would allow you to move a boat in limited situations.  For more info visit their web site www.eco-seacottages.com

Art Contest at Schoharie Crossing!

The Friends of Schoharie Crossing are inviting painters residing in New York State to showcase their work in a competitive, juried exhibition. The theme of the exhibition is Lock in the Fun: Recreation at Schoharie Crossing.

To recognize the centennial of the NYS Barge Canal, Schoharie Crossing will be hosting this second annual exhibition of talented artists in the newly renovated Visitor Center. This year the focus will be on paintings only. Jurors have accepted the task of reviewing the artwork and prizes will be awarded to those honored by the jurors. 

The Erie Canal historic site and NYS Park is a great place for recreation such as walking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching, picnics, and more. The site supplies views of nature as well and the historic canal structures are juxtaposed among the natural world of plants and animals along the Schoharie Creek and Mohawk River. The trails along old towpaths of the canal allow for a journey back in time. Flora and fauna thrive within the waterways, wetlands and open spaces of Schoharie Crossing, lending great inspiration for any artist.

Schoharie Crossing encompasses over two hundred acres and spans over three miles in length. From the western end of the site at the Aqueduct boat launch, across the Schoharie Creek and east to Yankee Hill Lock and the Putman Canal Store. The site contains portions of the original 1820’s Erie Canal as well as features two sets of double locks from the Enlarged Era Canal and is adjacent to the Erie Canal of today; the Mohawk River. Lock E12 at Tribes Hill on the river is situated close to the site and provides access to witnessing the newest century old canal of today.

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2018 and submissions can be made online. The exhibit’s opening celebration will take place during the Schoharie Crossing Canal Days festivities, July 14th and 15th, 2018, and artwork will be displayed through August. For more information on how to enter, visit the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site page of the New York State Parks website, call Schoharie Crossing at (518) 829-7518, or email SchoharieCrossing@parks.ny.gov

 

Onondaga Lake Cleanup About To Come To An End

 

A massive cleanup project on Onondaga Lake is about to come to an conclusion. Honeywell’s final work of restoring the shoreline is slated to conclude this month. The company completed dredging 2.2 million cubic yards of lake bottom in 2014 and capping 475 acres of the bottom this year. Honeywell project manager John McAuliffe told the Syracuse Post-Standard that the lake cleanup project will conclude after a dozen trees are planted. The company will also build trails, piers and wildlife habitats as part of a separate federal settlement.

The lake was declared a Superfund site back in 1994. It was a dumping ground for decades by companies, including Allied-Signal which later merged with Honeywell.

Onondaga Lakes boasts the newly built Lakeview Amphitheatre as well as Onondaga Park Marina. Daily cruises on the lake are available through Mid-Lakes Navigations the Emitta II which leaves from their dock in Baldwinsville.

Onondaga Lake connects the inner harbor of Syracuse with the Erie Canal and the world.

Town of Niskayuna Cuts Ribbon on New Bike Hike Trail Extension

 

Town Has Completed Two Extensions in 2017 and Has Three Projects Planned for 2018

Posted on: November 3, 2017 – 5:00pm

Niskayuna Town Supervisor Joe Landry and Town Board Members John Della Ratta, Lisa Weber, and Bill McPartlon cut the ribbon for the new Flower Hill Multi-Use Path Connection, located at the end of Flower Hill Ct off of Pinecrest Drive. The Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail has over 263,757 trips a year in portions of Niskayuna. 

The Mohawk Hudson Bike Hike trail is a regional multi-use trail that traverses the Town and provides an important transportation alternative and recreational resource that connects a number of residential neighbors with parks and work destinations. The Flower Hill Multi-Use Path Connection was identified by Niskayuna Safe Routes Committee as a high priority project