Free Recreational Activities Sponsored Through the Reimagine the Canals Initiative
New Website Helps New Yorkers Plan Their Summer Adventures
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the New York Power Authority and Canal Corporation's "On the Canals" excursions, a free, recreational program offering unique opportunities to experience the outdoors on the New York State Canal system and the adjoining Empire State Trail. As part of Governor Cuomo's Reimagine the Canals initiative, "On the Canals" excursions will highlight six, free outdoor excursions in the five canalside communities of Medina, Macedon, Waterloo, Savannah, and Amsterdam in summer 2021. The program will also support and promote local businesses through a comprehensive marketing effort, increasing visitation to villages, towns, and cities along the Canal system.
"As New York continues to reopen and New Yorkers get outside to enjoy everything our State has to offer, we are pleased to provide free recreational opportunities to explore our State in a way that has never been done before," said Governor Cuomo. "The 'On the Canals' excursion program, part of our Reimagine the Canals initiative, will breathe new life into the Canal system, inviting both residents and visitors to kayak, bike, and fish along our historic waterways. I encourage all New Yorkers to come out and celebrate the natural beauty of our State's Canals and support our local canalside communities and economies."
"As an upstate New Yorker who lives near the Erie Canal and is a frequent visitor to canal communities, I know how vital the Erie Canal is to generating economic activity for local businesses and creating jobs," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "With the free "On the Canals" excursion program, many New Yorkers will be able to experience the Erie Canal for the first time, while visiting the many charming communities along the Canal and providing a tourism boost for local businesses. There is no better time to explore what New York State has to offer."
Building on last year's successful "NY Canal Staycations" program, which featured kayaking on the Canal system and cycling on the Empire State Trail, this year's "On the Canals" itineraries will expand the types of activities offered to also include birding tours, hydrobiking, and fishing. The "On the Canals" locations and itineraries include:
- Cruise the Canal by Kayak & Hydrobike in Medina: Free guided kayak and hydrobike tours on the Erie Canal at the Medina Canal Basin
- Fish & Kayak at Medina Falls: Guided fishing excursions on Glenwood Lake to see Medina Falls and the historic aqueduct
- Off Road, On the Water: Bike & Kayak in Palmyra-Macedon: Paddling on the Erie Canal and pedaling along the Empire State Trail
- Biking & Boating in the Finger Lakes Wine Country: Bike and water taxi loop via the Cayuga-Seneca Trail and Cayuga-Seneca Canal
- Montezuma Wetlands: In Search of the Bald Eagle: Guided birding tour via kayak in the Montezuma Wetlands
- Travel a Lock: A Kayak & Bike Adventure in Amsterdam: A trip between Port Jackson and the historic Yankee Hill Lock
New York Power Authority Board of Trustees Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "Since the launch of Governor Cuomo's Reimagine the Canals initiative, NYPA has been committed to revitalizing the Erie Canal through local programs that showcase the storied waterway's uniqueness and versatility. 'On the Canals' is an exciting program that will mutually benefit canalside communities and visitors being welcomed back to the state, and one we are proud to support as it reinvigorates Upstate New York's economy."
New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "This is an exciting moment, tying together our efforts to reopen New York for business and to continue the incredible investment made possible by the Reimagine the Canals initiative. We are exceptionally grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued leadership and support of New York's Canal system, not only through the ongoing Reimagine program, but through strategic investments in the Canal's infrastructure to ensure it remains a driver of economic activity for generations to come."
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "The 'On the Canals' excursions program is an innovative, new use for New York's Canal system, and one that is sure to entice travelers to visit and experience it for what it really is - scenic water and trailways steeped in rich history offering boundless opportunities for exploration and recreation. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for continuing to invest in our Canals through the groundbreaking Reimagine the Canals program, and am certain that these excursions, combined with other Reimagine investments, will once again make New York's Canals a force for economic growth and recreation."
In addition to the free "On the Canals" excursions being offered this summer, the New York State Canal system opened for its 197th season in May. All locks and lift bridges on the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals will operate through Wednesday, October 13th. Boaters seeking information on lock hours and locations should visit the Canal Corporation's website. In addition, all Canal system users and stakeholders are encouraged to register to receive updates through the "Notice to Mariners" notification program.
Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, Governor Cuomo and NYPA committed $300 million over five years to revitalize the Erie Canal corridor as a tourism and recreation destination while simultaneously boosting economic development and improving the resiliency of canalside communities.