JUNE 2022
NYS Canalway Water Trail Added to National Recreation Trails System  
In celebration of Great Outdoors Month, The New York State Canal System, including the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals, is getting special recognition from the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of the nation's newly designated National Water Trails.
 
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recently announced nine new trails in seven states, adding nearly 600 miles to the National Trails System, with New York State Canalway Water Trail the latest and largest addition. 
World Canals Conference Coming to Buffalo in 2025
A Whipple canal bridge reflected in water, Buffalo
Governor Kathy Hochul announced on June 3rd that New York State has been selected by Inland Waterways International as the host of the 2025 World Canals Conference. The event brings together hundreds of canal and inland waterway enthusiasts, professionals and scholars from around the world to learn about a variety of topics related to canals. The 2025 conference will be held in Buffalo as the State commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal's opening there in 1825.

The NYS Canal Corporation and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, in partnership with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and Visit Buffalo Niagara, are the joint sponsors and will be coordinating all aspects of the conference. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has committed $250,000 to support conference planning, promotion and management.  
(Photo by Joe Cascio)
Canalway Challenge Recognized for Excellence
The Canalway Challenge recently received a 2022 New York State Tourism Excellence Award from the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA). This year's awards in particular acknowledge the work done in contributing to the recovery and resurgence of New York State's tourism industry and the communities that they serve.

Launched in 2019 and now in its fourth year, the Canalway Challenge has achieved broad support and remarkable results. To date, individuals, teams, and organizations have created 4,148 challenges and finishers have logged 607,321 miles. The Challenge has drawn participation from 25 US states and Canada with 20-percent of finishers coming from outside New York. 
360-Degree Canal Tours in the Works
aerial view of Lock 17 in Little Falls
Filming for new virtual 360-degree tours of canal structures and historic sites in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is underway. The project will result in exciting web-based tours of 10 sites, along with companion curriculum for students.

Last week, our partners at Krow Media filmed Lockport's locks, lift bridges in Albion, the Weighlock Building/Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, Lock E17 in Little Falls, the moveable dam at Lock E15 in Fort Plain, Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in Fort Hunter, and the powerhouse and hydroelectric facility at Lock C2 in Mechanicville. Thank you to the NYS Canal Corporation for providing project support. Click the link to see a sample of an interactive 360-tour at Gettysburg National Military Park. 
Remembering Tom Grasso
The Passing of a Legend
Photo of Tom Grasso
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Professor Thomas X. Grasso, President of the Canal Society of New York State (1979-2016), longtime Erie Canalway Commissioner (2002-2019), and friend of all things canals, died on June 6. Tom's enthusiasm and passion for canal history and revitalization were matched by his brilliance and tenacity. When it came to transformative canal projects, "No" was not an option, only "How can we?" and "Let's make it happen."

Tom saw canals as economic engines and tourism magnets and he understood the power of canal regeneration, revitalization, and restoration in transforming urban centers and beyond. Tom was known and respected throughout the world for his leadership, wisdom, humor, and joie de vivre. He received numerous awards and honors including being named President Emeritus of the Canal Society of NYS in 2016. His long legacy includes spearheading the creation of the Port Byron Old Erie Canal Heritage Park, bringing two World Canals Conferences to Rochester, heading Inland Waterways International from 2002 to 2010, leading international canal tours, and passing on his love for canals to generations.

Tom leaves a long legacy and big shoes to fill. As Tom so succinctly stated: the canal is the fastest way to slow down. Please remember Tom as you slow down, enjoy the canals, and consider ways to carry on his legacy. Cheers Perfesser!
ALONG THE TOWPATH: UPDATES, EVENTS, AND HAPPENINGS
a great blue heron gets set to take off from a pier
Sites in the Capital Region and Central-Finger Lakes were recently added to the New York State Birding Trail, offering more great places to watch birds. The trail highlights world-class birding opportunities and provides information on places anyone can go to find birds amid beautiful settings across New York State-- including along the canals.
The Erie Canal Museum and the William Hillcourt Museum/Longhouse Council of the Boy Scouts of America are launching an Erie Canal Historic Trails Award at the Erie Canal Museum on Saturday, 6/18 at 10am. The award is open to any youth group, scout troop, 4H, church groups, as well as individual families and school groups. To earn the medal youth must meet requirements including: traversing 15 miles on the Canalway Trail, visiting a lock, and visiting the museum. Miles also count toward earning a 15 Mile badge for the Canalway Challenge.
JUNE 11 SCHUYLERVILLE, JULY 1 SCHENECTADY, JULY 2 ALBANY
Celebrate the new Empire State Trail with free waterfront concerts and festive arts and recreational events.
JUNE 15, JUNE 22, JULY 1  >>  MONTEZUMA AUDUBON CENTER
Explore the world of birds with leisurely guided hiking, canoeing, and kayaking excursions around the 50,000-acre Montezuma Wetlands Complex. $5/child, $10/adult, $30/family.
JUNE 11  >>  VAN SCHAICK MANSION, COHOES
A daylong series of tours and events along Delaware Avenue's historic corridor, including Van Schaick Mansion, Peebles Island State Park, and points in between.
JUNE 14, 16, 21, 23, 24 >> CANALSIDE, BUFFALO
Tour Buffalo's Canalside and Commercial Slip with Explore Buffalo. Registration required.
FRIDAYS JUNE 17 - AUGUST 26 >> T. SPENCER KNIGHT PARK, NEWARK
This free summer concert series kicks off with an evening of artisan crafts, foods and more, as well as tastings from local wine, spirits, beer and hard cider makers (paid admission).
JUNE 19 KICKOFF >>  FAIRPORT
MEET-UPS: 6/30, 7/21, 8/11 & 8/25 >> FAIRPORT
Try out adaptive and standard cycling and paddling equipment and use the brand-new adaptive kayak launch for an inclusive recreation experience. Continue weekly with a Thursday group paddle/ride. Discount equipment rentals; Rochester Accessible Adventure's CanalPal volunteers will be there to kayak and cycle along as you log your FIRST MILE and NEXT MILE on the Erie Canal!
JUNE 23  >>  C.H. EVANS BREWING COMPANY, ALBANY
JULY 7  >>  LUNKENHEIMER CRAFT BREWING, PORT BYRON
Cycling, history, and beer come together on these fun and engaging guided rides that include a sampling of local craft beer to top off the tour. Hosted by the Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse.
A group of colorful kayaks paddling on the canal
Register now!
Paddle the Canals: ON the Erie

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6
9am to 1pm
Baldwinsville to Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse
Join us at Mercer Memorial Park in Baldwinsville, travel through Lock E24, and explore the Erie Canal/Seneca River as we head to Onondaga Lake. We’ll paddle 5.5 miles on this guided half-day trip and gather for a picnic lunch at the Willow Bay Shelter. Kayak rentals are available through Oswego Expeditions. $30 registration includes shuttle and lunch. Register today at PaddleOntheErie2022.eventbrite.com.
Visit eriecanalway.org for a full calendar of events.
PHOTO CONTEST OPEN
Share your favorite places, views, and people enjoying the canals for our annual photo contest. Submissions due 8/26.
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Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
PO Box 219 | Waterford, NY 12188 
518-237-7000 | erie_canal@nps.gov