Navigation season opens for Erie Canal

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ALBANY — It was smooth sailing over the weekend for boaters seeking to navigate the Erie Canal, following the reopening of the historic waterway this weekend.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the opening of the 2022 navigation season along the 524-mile New York State Canal system, kicking off the 198th consecutive opening of the waterway and celebrating the ongoing bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s construction and completion, which spanned from 1817 to 1825.

As part of the kickoff of the new boating season, the New York Power Authority, New York State Canal Corporation, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, joined officials in the Village of Fairport, Monroe County to unveil the completion of recent infrastructure improvement projects along the Erie Canal.

“The Erie Canal is an integral part of New York’s history and, as a longtime boater myself, it is a favorite summertime destination of mine, one that I invite all New Yorkers to experience and enjoy,” Governor Hochul said. “The canal system is a hub of recreation and tourism in local communities along the canalway and we look forward to another successful summer of economic growth and adventures.”

The $1.3 million in improvements along the northwest bank of the Erie Canal in Fairport include all new docks and dock utilities, lighting, a new non-motorized small craft boat launch, and ADA accessible features throughout, including an accessible kayak launch. In addition, the village opened Liftbridge Lane West, a pedestrian promenade and gathering space for residents and visitors that features conversational seating arrangements, state of the art sound system, decorative lighting and signage, plus a designated bike lane for the Empire State Trail.

“The opening of navigation season on New York’s Canals is a sure sign that summer is upon us, and we look forward to welcoming everyone that plans to recreate on our network of waterways and trails this year,” said state Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton.

“The New York State Canal system is one of our nation’s unparalleled recreational resources, and the opening of the canal means the peak season for outdoor recreation is here,” said Erik Kulleseid, commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “The improvements being celebrated today will enhance the experience of both residents and visitors who come from all over to explore this scenic and historic destination. State Parks is grateful to NYPA, the Canal Corporation and the Village of Fairport for their work on this project.”

The canal system operates daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Wednesday, Oct. 12 — with some locks and lift bridges operating until 10 p.m. throughout the summer. To view the full schedule and learn more about the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals, visit:  https://www.canals.ny.gov.

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