August 9, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Commemorates Bicentennial of New York’s Champlain Canal

Governor Hochul Commemorates Bicentennial of New York’s Champlain Canal

Historic Waterway Connecting Hudson River to Lake Champlain Opened in 1823

Locks between Waterford and Whitehall Support the Region’s Economy; Aggregate Stone is Actively Shipped Through Locks to New York City for Construction Projects

Canal is Also a Top Destination for Recreational Boating and Tourism

Commemorative Plaque Unveiled Today at Visitors Center in Schuylerville

Video Available Here and Photos Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the bicentennial of the Champlain Canal was commemorated during a ceremony at the Champlain Canal Region Gateway Visitors Center in Schuylerville. As part of the 524-mile New York State Canal system, the 60-mile Champlain Canal that connects the Hudson River to Lake Champlain first opened in 1823, two years earlier than the completion of the Erie Canal. New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll and New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton presented Historic Hudson Hoosic Rivers Partnership Chairman Tom Richardson with a commemorative plaque that will be displayed at the Visitors Center to mark the occasion.

“200 years after it opened, the historic Champlain Canal continues to serve as a vital waterway transportation route between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain, attracting tourists and contributing to the region’s economy,” Governor Hochul said. “As we celebrate its bicentennial, I look forward to helping ensure the canal’s future remains vibrant and resilient so that it continues to support local communities for generations to come.”

Officially opened in September of 1823, the Champlain Canal allowed the region’s economy to flourish as residents and farmers were able to ship products inexpensively on the new waterway to bustling ports. Stone, iron, and agricultural products such as apples, butter, cheese, grain, and potatoes all moved aboard canal boats to be sold.

Today, the 11 locks on the Champlain Canal between Waterford and Whitehall are still utilized for commercial shipping of local products. Currently, aggregate stone from the Adirondacks is being moved by tugboats and barges to the greater New York City area to support construction projects.

In addition, the Champlain Canal is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts interested in boating on the waterway or taking in the area’s rich landscapes while walking, hiking or cycling on the Champlain Canalway Trail, now part of the Empire State Trail, that follows sections of the canal’s original towpath. The Champlain Canal is also home to several free excursions through the New York Power Authority and Canal Corporation’s “On the Canals” program.

New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “For 200 years, the Champlain Canal has been a driver of economic activity and an invaluable channel for shipping commercial goods as well as a destination for recreation. As we note this moment in the Champlain Canal’s history, looking ahead, we at the Power Authority and Canal Corporation envision a Canal system that both celebrates its iconic past and is revitalized for the next 100 years.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “From Waterford to Whitehall, the Champlain Canal serves as a multifaceted waterway for New Yorkers and visitors alike to experience and enjoy. As the stewards of the Canal system, we at the Canal Corporation work hard each day to ensure the Champlain Canal, as well as the Erie, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals maintain their economic and recreational significance for the next generation of users.”

Senator Chuck Schumer said, “For two centuries, the Champlain Canal has been a vital economic and natural resource, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars in value to Upstate New York each year. From the Hudson River all the way to Lake Champlain, the historic waterway has helped sustain strong communities with priceless recreation and 60 miles of adventure for residents and tourists alike. I will always fight to preserve the canal’s critical resources and history – serving as a champion in the Senate to conserve its natural beauty for generations to come.”

Representative Paul D. Tonko said, “For two centuries, the Champlain Canal has played a key role in our region’s history and heritage, connecting our communities and serving as a vital economic driver. The protection and preservation of our waterways is essential to promoting growth in our region, and I’ve made it a priority in Congress to support these resources for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. I’m honored to join in commemorating 200 years of the Champlain Canal serving and bettering our community. Here’s to 200 more years!”

State Senator James Tedisco said, "Saratoga County and Schuylerville are known for their history as the turning point of the American Revolution and as part of the Champlain Canal which connects Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the Hudson River and New York City. As we celebrate the bicentennial of the Champlain Canal, I look forward to working together with my state, local and federal colleagues to ensure this historic and beautiful waterway continues to be available for New Yorkers and visitors for generations to come.”

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, "In commemoration of this historical milestone, the New York State Assembly passed a Legislative Resolution earlier this year recognizing the significance of the Champlain Canal’s Bicentennial Anniversary. The tremendous economic impact of this 60-mile waterway between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain helped build New York State and make it truly thrive. I’m thrilled to join the Canal Recreationway Commission in celebration of the waterway that was instrumental in establishing Forts Ticonderoga and Edward and connecting the Adirondacks to Quebec, and to New York City.”

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Executive Director Bob Radliff said, “The Champlain Canal was fully operational from Troy to Lake Champlain in 1823, two years earlier than the opening of the Erie Canal. Today, the Champlain Canal, in addition to being a critical part of a National Heritage Corridor and a National Water Trail, is also recognized as National Historic Landmark, placing it among the nation's most premiere historic sites. We are honored to gift a bronze plaque to be installed at Lock C5 to the Champlain community to commemorate its bicentennial."

Historic Hudson Hoosic Rivers Partnership Chairman Tom Richardson said, “Today is a very special day throughout the Champlain Canal corridor as we celebrate this milestone. For two centuries, our villages, towns, and cities have thrived along this canal as its waters have supported our farms, industries, and local livelihoods. Generations have grown up with the Champlain Canal in their backyard and as the we promote the canal and region through the work of the Partnership, we know the very best is yet to come and look forward to the next 200 years.”

In 2025, to coincide with the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, New York State will host the World Canals Conference in Buffalo. The event will bring together hundreds of canal and inland waterway enthusiasts, professionals and scholars from around the world to learn about a variety of topics related to canals.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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