Canal paddling stewardship program launched  

The New York State Canalway Water Trail Stewardship Program has been launched to help ensure the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Champlain, and Oswego canals are welcoming and safe for paddlers. Individuals, families, groups, and organizations are invited to adopt a section of the 450-mile NYS Canalway Water Trail from May through October.

“As we invite more paddlers to use the (state) Canal System, we are providing resources, improving access, and now promoting good stewardship to ensure that paddling here is a world class experience,” said Bob Radliff, executive director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “We are thrilled that outdoor enthusiasts, including boaters, cyclists, nature lovers, and paddlers, are enjoying this National Historic Landmark. With that comes the need for good stewardship to protect the waterway.”

The canal system opens for the season on May 21.

Volunteer stewards will perform light maintenance at launch sites, observe and report issues, and act as friendly ambassadors for paddlers using the waterway. Volunteers will steward a section of approximately 10 miles of the Water Trail, contributing about 4 to 6 hours a month. All volunteers will complete a virtual orientation, be provided T-shirts and supplies, and have access to additional training. All volunteers must be at least 12 years old (with adult supervision).

“New York’s Canals helped to build the nation and the Empire State, and we are excited to partner with like-minded organizations and individuals to help maintain these incredible and historic waterways," New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said. "This new initiative ensures our waterways will be safe and clean for visitors from across New York and beyond, and underscores our commitment to maintaining the canals’ status as a tremendous resource and economic driver for generations to come.”

To learn more and sign up, visit www.eriecanalway.org/watertrail or contact program manager Mona Caron at mona_caron@partner.nps.gov or (518) 237-7000, extension 204.

The NYS Canalway Water Trail is comprised of 450 miles of canals and interconnected lakes and rivers, with more than 140 access sites, numerous paddling rentals locations, and several boater-biker-hiker facilities that allow overnight camping at canal parks. A comprehensive Guidebook and Map Set for paddlers is available at www.eriecanalway.org.

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