The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor recently installed new signs to mark the NYS Canalway Water Trail at more than 140 launch sites along the Erie, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca, and Oswego canals. The blue and yellow signs are intended to help paddlers identify safe put-in and take-out sites from the water and assist with wayfinding to launch sites from land. The new signs are a visible invitation to the increasing number of people bringing their kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to explore the Canal System. Water trail signs are designed to work in tandem with the NYS Canalway Water Trail Guidebook and Navigational Map Set and the online www.nycanalmap.com. Paddlers can use these resources to plan a day trip, weekend adventure, or multi-day thru-paddle. www.eriecanalway.org/watertrail.
This project was prepared with funding provided by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund, as part of Montgomery County’s Kayak Share Project, and by the NYS Canal Corporation, both as part of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. In addition, critical support was provided by the National Park Service.
Covid-19’s Respite: Canalway Trail and Canalway Challenge
The Canalway Trail is a much sought-after place for respite, recreation, and fitness, especially during this extraordinarily difficult year. One measure of the trail’s value is the number of people of all ages and abilities who are tracing history and tracking their miles for the Canalway Challenge. Individuals, teams, and organizations have undertaken more than 2,600 challenges and completed a whopping 358,900 miles walking, running, cycling and paddling since the Challenge began in 2019.
Judging from feedback from finishers, being out on the trail and participating in the challenge has helped people improve their mental and physical health, combat cabin-fever, and have a goal to work towards. Here are a few inspiring words from participants:
“The pandemic left me and many of my colleagues out of work since our places of work are non-essential…It was great to escape for a while and immerse myself in history; biking along and imagining myself on the tow path as mules and bullheads pass by. Started my journey by visiting Chittenango Landing to get out of the house, and just had to bike one more mile, one more mile, okay just one more mile!” – Chris, 90 Miler
“In the year of COVID-19, what a joy it is to get out on our bicycles and share new adventures together. The Erie Canal is a treasure that everyone should take the opportunity to explore.” – Janet, 90 Miler
“Visited areas while cycling that I have never been to and likely would not have, had it not been for the Challenge! Trying to bike different sections along the whole length of the Canal. This has made me very excited about cycling and helping me to lead a healthy lifestyle.” – Karen, 90 Miler