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New York State Canal System will not open in May as planned

Boating season on the New York State Canal could be in question, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on summer scheduling.

“Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the Canal Corporation has suspended all non-essential construction and maintenance activities; therefore, the New York State Canal system will not open for through-navigation of the locks on May 15th as previously announced,” the agency said in a statement this weekend. “To support the canal’s continued use as a prime recreational waterway, the Canal Corporation is currently evaluating operational options to ensure New Yorkers will have access to the canal system, if even potentially on a regional basis, this season. We recognize that this is an extraordinarily difficult time and are sensitive to potential hardships canal stakeholders, as well as many other New Yorkers, may experience. The situation with COVID-19 is ever-evolving and we are trying to adapt our plans accordingly.”

Some figured that a delay was coming one way or another. Enthusiasts had noticed that a number of maintenance projects along the canal were stopped in March, according to the Finger Lakes Times.

A Canal Corporation spokesperson told the FLT in an email Friday afternoon that “as primarily a recreational waterway, the canal system was deemed non-essential. Our operations folks are evaluating options for the season.”