Get Active, Give Back, and Go Explore: Volunteer on the Erie Canalway Trail

At the end of the calendar year most of us dream up an ambitious new year’s resolution to set a positive precedent for the upcoming year. If your resolution is to be a healthier, more philanthropic, adventurous person, this is your year to become a volunteer along the Erie Canalway Trail.

While the winter weather doesn’t necessarily motivate the average person to volunteer their time and energy outside; you can still make a commitment now, and hit the ground running in April beginning with the 18th annual Canal Clean Sweep event.

The Canalway Trail system spans over 520 miles along the Erie, Champlain, Seneca-Cayuga, and Oswego Canals. Without the support from state agencies, municipalities, civic and social groups, and individuals, maintaining this expansive network wouldn’t be possible.

With financial support from the New York State Canal Corporation, Parks & Trails New York is able to administer two stewardship programs along the corridor. In eight counties (Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Oneida, Herkimer, Washington, and Warren) 25 Adopt-A-Trail groups take on various maintenance needs along the Erie Canalway Trail throughout the year, including picking up litter, mowing, trimming brush, removing fallen branches, raking and patching the trail surface, maintaining signs, painting, and landscaping. In Onondaga, Madison, and Schenectady counties Ambassadors maintain a “presence” on the trail by providing assistance to, and a welcoming atmosphere for, trail users riding or walking their local trail sections.

Get involved!

While each individual has a different motivation for joining these programs, they all share one thing in common – a dedication to their community and their local trail.

Whether you want to start your own group, or join an existing one, let 2023 be the year you get active, give back, and go explore the Erie Canalway Trail as a trail steward.

Your new adventure could be just around the bend, with new an unexpected partnerships on either end.

Niagara County

Have the pleasure of adjoining with neighboring Adopt-A-Trail group, the Trail Keepers – Our Erie Canalway Trail Gardens. Sandy and her green-thumbed group have beautified seven miles along the Erie Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail, but the stretch of trail northeast of Lockport is up for adoption!

Monroe County

Join the growing movement in Village of Brockport, the first Empire State Trail Town, by adopting a stretch of trail north of the canal. Your group will certainly receive a warm welcome from Walk!Bike!Brockport and the Welcome Center, and benefit from adjacent Adopters, the Brockport Rotary – a great collaborative awaits. With stretches available for adoption both to the east and west of Brockport’s Main Street, there’s plenty of opportunity to get involved.

If you’re a Rochester native, there’s a stretch of trail waiting for you. Join forces with the group that keeps on giving, the Rotary Club of Rochester-Southwest by either joining their crew or adopting your own stretch of trail!

Wayne County

Make new friends with the Macedon Historical Society and Gananda Rotary by adopting a stretch of trail in Palmyra.

For additional questions about the program (including roles and responsibilities) visit For information about joining an existing group, or starting your own, please email

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