In celebration of Great Outdoors Month, The New York State Canal System, including the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals, is getting special recognition from the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of the nation’s newly designated National Water Trails.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recently announced nine new trails in seven states, adding nearly 600 miles to the National Trails System, with the New York State Canalway Water Trail the latest and largest addition.
“The National Trails System, which includes national scenic, historic and recreation trails, offers an abundance of opportunities to experience the breathtaking landscapes of our country, all while supporting outdoor recreation activities and boosting local economies,” said Secretary Haaland. “These new trails will help expand community connections to green spaces where children can play, families can connect, and a love and appreciation for the outdoors can be nurtured.”
New York State Canalway Water Trail is comprised of over 450 miles of land cut canals, and interconnected lakes and rivers with more than 150 public access points for paddlers. The water trail follows the New York State Canal System across the full expanse of upstate New York, offering visitors a wealth of places to visit and sights to see.
“The New York State Canalway Water Trail is a national treasure that provides a unique paddling experience. This honor brings significant recognition to the work that has been accomplished to make the NYS Canal System a welcome and safe destination for paddlers– from signage to launch sites to amenities and visitor information,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
The newly designated trails join a network of more than 1,300 existing national recreation trails, which can be found in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Paddlers explore the Erie Canal at the site of the historic Richmond Aqueduct in Montezuma
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “With its abundant access points across upstate New York and endless opportunities for recreation and adventure nestled alongside exceptional landscapes – the Canalway Water Trail represents some of the very best the Empire State has to offer. This designation further cements the Canal System’s legacy on a national stage.”
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “New York State’s trail network is unparalleled. This new designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as one of New York’s greatest recreational resources and will encourage both local residents and visitors to get out and explore the state’s extraordinary experiences, people, and places along our scenic and historic waterways.”
The NYS Water Trail is managed by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the NYS Canal Corporation. The National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program provided technical assistance for the initial trail vision and subsequent development.
For more information on the NYS Canalway Water Trail, visit eriecanalway.org/watertrail.