As the weather warms and days stay brighter longer, the New York State Canal Corporation is preparing for another great season of summer recreation in Upstate New York. Boaters, paddlers, and individuals looking to exercise both mind and body will soon be able to enjoy the bucolic landscapes that adjoin our Canals and trails in all their summer glory.
Canal Corporation crews are busy readying the locks and lift bridges on the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals, with most opening by July 4th. On the eastern Erie Canal, locks between Niskayuna and Utica in the Mohawk Valley will open in a staggered fashion between July 20th and August 10th as maintenance projects are completed. In addition, Lock C-12 in Whitehall on the Champlain Canal, Lock O-7 in Oswego on the Oswego Canal, and Lock CS-2/3 in Seneca Falls on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal will open in early August once work at those locations is finished.
In addition to preparing the Canal system for the navigation season, the Canal Corporation continues to advance projects along the Empire State Trail, which includes building out new trail segments and access points to provide New Yorkers with accessible and safe outdoor recreation.
In the Mohawk Valley, three trail construction projects continue as part of the Empire State Trail, stretching from German Flats to Utica. When completed by the end of this year, these projects between Lock E-18 to Route 167, Frankfort to Ilion, and Utica to Dyke Road will close a nearly 20 mile gap in the Erie Canalway Trail and offer users a safe and sturdy 10 foot wide asphalt path along the Erie Canal and Mohawk River.
New connections along the Champlain Canalway Trail also occurring this construction season with the completion of a five mile stretch of new trail running between Broad Street (Route 32) in Waterford to its current ending point at Upper Newtown Road in Halfmoon. This section includes the newly completed Champlain Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail section behind the Momentive Plant, which opened late last fall.
Further north, the Canal Corporation is connecting the Feeder Canal Trail in the Village of Fort Edward to Fort Ann by constructing 10 miles of new trail that will include two pedestrian bridges and a tunnel under Route 196. From Route 196, bikers and hikers can take Towpath Road, before transitioning to New Swamp Road and up to Fort Ann. Construction on these two projects began in the fall of 2019 and are anticipated to be completed later this year.
All users of the Canal system and adjacent Empire State Trail are encouraged to engage in smart and safe recreation this year as we collectively continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. Please protect yourself and others by practicing social distancing, wash your hands, and wear a mask if you cannot maintain social distancing, especially at marinas along the water or at crowded areas on the Canalway Trails.