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.
Kathy 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.
Congratulations to Jean Beaudoin, one of the newest Erie Canalway Trail End-to-Enders! Beaudoin, co-owner of a Montreal brewpub, Benelux Brasserie Artisanale, boxed his bike and traveled by train to Toronto, before cycling 100 miles to reach Niagara Falls and the official start of the Erie Canalway Trail, Canalside in Buffalo. After riding the trail 360 miles across the state from Buffalo to Albany, he checked in at PTNY to relay his impressions of a memorable trip.
For Jean, October was the perfect month to take a relaxing trip along the Erie Canalway Trail, a peaceful week after a busy summer in Montreal. Jean found many of the towns along the canal charming, but Little Falls made an strong impression on him, with the Gansevoort House Inn and Little Falls’ newest restaurant, the Copper Moose Ale House, as highlights. Jean’s trip was his first fully-loaded tour and the Erie Canalway Trail gave him the experience he needed to plan future bicycle vacations around the world!
Jean’s stories and excitement for the Erie Canalway Trail inspire us in our daily work, and we hope they make you want to get out on the Erie Canalway Trail or any trail within New York’s great trail network.
The End-to-Ender recognition program, administered by PTNY in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, recognizes anyone who has completed the entire Erie Canalway Trail, on a bicycle or on foot, whether in one multi-day through-trip or in segments over a long period of time. PTNY sends a special decal and a certificate of achievement to each person who registers as an End-to-Ender through the online form, as well as publishing a list of End-to-Enders in the yearly program report. If you have completed the Erie Canalway Trail this year, remember to register as an End-to-Ender so we can record and celebrate your achievement!
There is no better way to see the history and beautiful scenery New York has to offer than traveling by bike. This year PTNY hosted more than 500 bicyclists on the 16th annual Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour July 13-20. Representatives from the New York State Canal Corporation, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, and many other agencies and groups working to promote, interpret and support this amazing resource also joined the riders for part of the eight-day event.
A big thanks to everyone who rode along and came out to welcome the cyclists to their community. We hope to see you all on the trail with us next year!
Check out the great photos below and find more photos at the Canalway Trails Association New York Facebook or at PTNY’s Instagram.
Cycling the Erie Canal