New Niagara County Adopt-a-Trail group beautifying Erie Canalway Trailheads

If you’ve been on the Erie Canalway Trail’s Pendleton and Amherst sections this spring you’ve probably noticed some improvements to the trailhead gardens. At many of these trailheads, what were once non-descript trail access points, flowering gardens with repurposed bicycle part sculptures have sprouted up. This beautification project is the work of green-thumbed Lockport resident, Sandy Guzzetti and the 48 volunteers she coordinates as part of the newest Adopt-a-Trail group.

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Sandy Guzzetti’s Adopt-a-Trail group has been installing these pieces of bicycle art and planting flowers along the Erie Canalway Trail in Niagara County this spring.

While many groups provide important regular maintenance for the Canalway Trail, Sandy and her group go above and beyond to ensure that Niagara County is home to a beautiful and welcoming stretch of Canalway Trail. The bicycle art she installs and the flowers she plants contribute to what are surely among the most memorable trailside gardens users encounter.

Sandy’s idea to install the bicycle art came from the fact that many trail users riding from local streets and neighborhoods had trouble finding trailheads along this stretch of trail. The brightly painted sculptures made from old bicycles seemed like an appropriate and unique way to highlight these trailheads.

In addition to the bicycle art and flower gardens, Sandy’s group is working with a local Boy Scout troop to plant eight trees along the trail. Sandy and her team also help keep the trail beautiful by making regular trips out to the trail to pick up trash and debris and report issues such as vandalism to the local Canal Corporation maintenance crew.

Sandy Guzzetti and her team are a great example of how the Erie Canalway Trail is a centerpiece of the community and a source of pride for many of its regular users. The thousands of visitors to the trail in Niagara County this summer will certainly be very appreciative of the hard work of the newest Adopt-a-Trail group.

The Adopt-a-Trail program is managed by Parks & Trails New York with funding from the NYS Canal Corporation. Currently, more than 50 groups participate in regular trail maintenance activities along the NYS Canalway Trail through the Adopt-a-Trail program. Check out the Adopt-a-Trail website to learn more about the program or to join or start a group near you!


No Sitting Around for Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies

The Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies are not your typical lawn chair loungers. In fact, their motto is “Lawn Chair Ladies are the best, they don’t sit like all the rest!” The Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies is a marching and dancing unit made up of Kendall Central School alumni and their friends. The group first convened in 2012 and has participated in several parades and festivals since then. All of their prize money supports Kendall families facing financial hardship.


The Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies are the newest Adopt-a-Trail group in Western New York.

This past winter, one of their members, Carol Peterson, decided to extend the group’s generosity to the Erie Canalway Trail. She found a 1.5-mile stretch of Erie Canalway Trail in Hulberton, Orleans County that the group could adopt. According to Carol, the trail is an especially important place for the Lawn Chair Ladies. “Two are End-to-Enders, so it is particularly close to our hearts,” she said. Carol, a self-proclaimed cycling enthusiast, completed the trail End-to-End in August of 2015.

Carol’s enthusiasm is reflected in the rest of the group too. Before the threat of snow melted away in early spring, the Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies had already planned their first trailside clean-up event.

As the weather heats up, they plan to continue lending a hand to keeping the Erie Canalway Trail free of trash and debris, so if you’re out on the trail in between Hulberton and Telegraph Roads in Hulberton this summer, chances are good that you’ll see the Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies out in full force.

The Canalway Trail Adopt-a-Trail program includes more than 50 community and civic groups who participate in regular clean-up events across the 524-mile NYS Canalway Trail system. Visit the Adopt-a-Trail page for more information on how you can join a group or adopt a section of trail in your area.

Trail Tender Award Recognizes Old Erie Canal State Park Trail Ambassador


Trail Ambassador Dave Kellogg at Cedar Bay Bridge in DeWitt

Congratulations to Canalway Trail Ambassador Dave Kellogg on his recent receipt of the 2016 Trail Tender Award. The Trail Tender Award recognizes the valuable contribution of individuals to promoting, enhancing, and completing the 524-mile New York State Canalway Trail system. Dave has been an active trail user for more than three decades, and over the course of the past two years has ridden hundreds of miles in Old Erie Canal State Park between DeWitt and Rome as a Trail Ambassador. See below for a profile of Dave and his interest in the trail.

  1. How long have you been riding on the Canalway Trail?

We moved here in 1980, and we chose our home partly because of its proximity to the Canal. I ran more in those days and early on marked out a measured mile along the trail using my bike and counting wheel revolutions. Runners used it for years until the markers deteriorated. So to answer your question, 36 years minus the 5 years we lived in Puerto Rico = 31 years. And yes, I took my bike to P.R.

  1. What is your average time/mileage on the trail?

My exercise calendars show I’ve cycled an average of 1,000 miles per year over the past 5 years. Not all of that has been on the Canal, but the vast majority has been Canal-related. One of the PTNY priorities has been to “promote bicycling for … towns and their economic development”.  Showing up at a local store on a bike to let owners know about the Canal and its cyclists helps address that priority. My time spent on the Canal this year (through August) is approaching 50 hours. (See #4 for comments about miles and time.)  I’ve also spoken about the Canal to two small groups.

Occasionally, there’s an opportunity for some Trail maintenance, from branches across the trail to litter to addressing some delinquency.


  1. What do you like best about the Trail and your involvement with the trail?

People react to the Trail and the Canal in different ways. Some ways are obvious, like exercise, training and fitness. Other visitors get caught up in the history or engineering. Some want to experience nature: seeing a Great Blue Heron, a beaver or, less frequently and therefore more exciting, a Bald Eagle. All these people are willing to share their interests and passions if given just a little encouragement. With this encouragement the Canalway Trail is quite possibly the friendliest community in the country. Here’s an example of community, friendliness and impact. A young woman just relocated to the Syracuse area from her native state of Colorado to join her boyfriend who works at Syracuse University. The three of us met along the Trail and started talking about the simple pleasures the Canal offers. Suddenly, the woman changed the topic and burst out with, “I’m on the Erie Canal!”  I guess my reaction was not strong enough, so she brought her face closer to mine and said with emphasis,”I mean I’m on the Erie Canal.  I’m actually on the Erie Canal.”  To me it seemed she was reliving that portion of her childhood when she first learned about the Canal and probably sang the famous Canal song and maybe imagined her ancestors starting on the Erie Canal on their way west. That’s the impact the Canal can have on some.


The Barbershop Quartet:  This certainly wasn’t the first time musical entertainment was incorporated into Cycle the Erie. And it may not have been the first Barbershop group to serenade the cyclists.  However, it may have been the first time actually on the Canalway Trail and in the Dewitt area. It was an idea that seemed to flow from the 1890s song, “Daisy, Daisy, etc.”  Wouldn’t it be neat to ride around a curve on the Canal and encounter a group of singers wearing straw hats and red and white stripped vests? Well, it was pretty neat and possibly the most photographed spot on the ride.


  1. What advice do you have for others considering using the trail or helping “Tend the Trail?

We can count miles on the Canalway Trail or keep track of hours spent but the most revealing information in my mind does not come from metrics but from narratives, the interactions with people.  Without exception each person I’ve encountered is happy to talk and has an interesting and even exciting story to tell.  Some are long distance travelers:
– Several End-to-Enders, Buffalo to Albany
– Peter from Dublin: NYC to Buffalo, then Canada, etc.
– Casey, a retired truck driver who has been to 48 states in an 18-wheeler and is now visiting them on two wheels.

– Dusty and Angie, going Coast to Coast

– A fellow who was on his 17th (that’s right, seventeenth!) cross country trip, this one from Nova Scotia to Seattle.

– And no one will forget Bernice Ende who arrived on horseback on her way from Montana to Maine.

My list is 46 individuals, not including a variety of organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce, the Day Care Kids, several merchants and especially Fleet Feet who sponsor long runs on the Canal.

MV Alpiners Bring Sanctuary to ECT

mv-alpiners-benchMohawk Valley Alpiners, a hiking club based in Herkimer County, spent a day last month giving back to the Erie Canalway Trail. On October 14, members of the club cleared invasive species, such as European Buckthorn, that crowd the edges of the trail, opening up a new trailside refuge area where they also installed a bench. The bench is located in an area just before a large drop off, affording trail users a unique view of the old Erie Canal.

mv-alpinersclearing-the-trailThe Mohawk Valley Alpiners have taken trail maintenance to a new level by showing that they not only want to make the trail a much more ecologically sustainable place, but also a much more enjoyable place for all. If you’re interested in adopting a section of the Canalway Trail near you, visit the Canalway Trail Adopt-a-Trail website.

New Adopt-a-Trail Group Windsor Village Shops Plans to Keep New Lockport Trail Beautiful

As soon as 5.5 miles of Erie Canalway Trail opened in Lockport last fall, Kathy O’Keefe and her business Windsor Village Shops jumped on the opportunity to adopt a one mile segment just outside the village of Lockport. She made her decision to join the Canalway Trail Adopt-a-Trail program long before the pavement dried, however.

9ba64c_9982c6ba7ca24587af3b21812b09134eKathy owns Windsor Village Shops, a collection of what she refers to as “grassroots-minded” small businesses housed in a restored Mid-Nineteenth Century building that includes a greenhouse built with stone cut from the Erie Canal. These businesses include several boutique shops and a cafe. Aside from the building’s historical significance, her investment in the Windsor Village Shops is also linked to the construction of the adjacent segment of Erie Canalway Trail — she saw the new trail as a source for hundreds of potential customers. Once the trail opened, Kathy put out a brightly painted orange bike to welcome trail users as they pass through Lockport.

Building on this welcoming sentiment, Kathy decided to use the Adopt-a-Trail program as a way to keep the trail around her business looking as great as it did the day it opened. Thanks to the manpower associated with Windsor Village Shops, Kathy has assembled a group of about a dozen volunteers to assist in these efforts. In addition to picking up debris and litter, they plan to plant wildflowers adjacent to the trail and raise the profile of their group by hosting Canal Clean Sweep and Canal Splash events.

The Erie Canalway Trail is a 360-mile multi-use trail extending between Buffalo and Albany. It is part of the larger 524-mile New York State Canalway Trail System. More than 50 groups have adopted trail segments throughout the system. Go to Parks & Trails New York’s website to check out which sections of trail are available near you and learn more about how you can participate in the Canalway Trail Adopt-a-Trail program.