Erie Canal – UNESCO World Heritage Site designation needs to be pursued.

On July 4, 1817 construction of the 363 mile long Erie Canal and its 83 locks began at the city of Rome, New York.

The 200th anniversary of that historic construction start arrives on July 4, 2017.

New York State Gov. DeWitt Clinton’s project was constructed without the help, financial or otherwise, of the national government in Washington, DC. The $7,100,000 construction cost was paid off in 7 years, proof of it’ssuccess. The maximum anticipated capacity of the canal was 1.5 million tons. Traffic on the canal was at that level almost immediately. In 1834 expansion plans were being made.

The Erie Canal transformed the United States. The wedding of the fresh waters of the Great Lakes with the salt waters of the world’s oceans saw hundreds of thousands of people, timber, agricultural products, manufactured products, flour, chemicals, ores, etc move not only across United States but also to and from the world at-large.

Sadly, this early 19th century engineering marvel goes unrecognized. There is no move underway to have the Erie Canal declared a UNESCO “World Heritage Site” in recognition of its role in making the world smaller and more interconnected. It does not appear among the U.S. sites being recommended by the United States to UNESCO. It is time for Washington to step up to the plate by asking for consideration as a World Heritage Site.

The clock is ticking.

Some great people are participating in “Cycling the Erie Canal.”

Fifteen years ago the 400 mile 8 day “Cycling the Erie Canal” event got off the ground.  It was the brain child of Parks and Trails New York.  I had the opportunity to come across slightly more than 300 of the 400 riders participating in this tour.  They were at the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises on Market St. in Lockport.  The riders had a box lunch and took the one hour forty-five minute narrated cruise upon the Erie Canal and through Locks 34 and 35.

This was not a group  composed of only hardcore, technically equipped cyclists.  They came in all sizes, men and women, regional residents, from across the nation, several Europeans and a good number of our Canadian friends and neighbors.  I surprised  to see old dudes like me and children who seemed to be in the are area of 8 years of age.

What a pleasant experience it was getting to speak with a number of this adventurous travelers.

But like all things, this is just not a get on your bike and ride event.  Parks and Trails New York has a guidebook telling everyone how to get ready and what to expect.  I’ve read it and now I am wondering is this something I need to put on my bucket list of things to do.  This group has 5 days left on their journey, I hope they continue to have a great time.

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No change to USA UNESCO World Heritage Site nominations.

"Flight of Five" (1825) Lockport, NY - Source: Wikimedia

“Flight of Five” (1825) Lockport, NY – Source: Wikimedia

It has been 5 years since the USA released its list.   No change to USA UNESCO World Heritage Site nominations.  As far as is known, Western New York elected official on the local, state, national level and the public seem uninterested in supporting a nomination for the Erie Canal or Buffalo’s Frank Lloyd Wright “Darwin Martin House.”

About one year ago I even posted the idea on Linkedin.com to the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise groups under the heading “An effort to have the Erie Canal designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site might lead to business development.”  Received only one like from its 1000 group members.

Here is the list of USA nominated locations.

 Last Revision:  1/30/2008

 

I don’t have any political connections.  No one has responded to me these past 2 years.  If you do, send the official you know this form.  It will download to you as an MS Word document.:

This is the link to the official UNESCO World Heritage Site Operational Guidelines

Some interesting facts about the Erie Canal.

Some interesting facts about the Erie Canal include the fact it impacted America and America did not construct it.

1.  President Thomas Jefferson ( of Virginia) would not aid in the construction of the canal and called it nothing short of madness.

2.  President James Monroe (of Virginia)  vetoed legislation that would help in the construction of the canal saying it was unconstitutional.

3.  When the Erie Canal opened in 1825 it  cost $7,000,000 to construct (about $4,000,000,000 today) and was paid off in less than 10 years.

4.  The United States paid $7,200,000 for the  586,000 sq. miles that is Alaska in 1867.

5.  Dirt and Rubble removed during the construction of the canal was used as land fill around New York City.

6.  At the end of its first full year of operation, 13000 canal boats transported 40,000 settlers westward from Albany.

7.  At the end of its first full year of operation – 562,000 bushels of wheat – 221,000 bushels of flour – 435,000 gallons of  whiskey – 32 million board feet of lumber – totally about 185,000 tons of cargo moved eastward towards Albany on the Canal.

8.  The terminus of the Erie Canal in Buffalo was called the Erie Basin.  The terminus of the Erie Canal in Red Hook Brooklyn was a man-made harbor for canal boats called the Erie Basin.

9. By the time tolls were removed from the canal in 1882,  $121 million dollars in revenue went to the New York State  treasury.

10.  Dewitt Clinton, father of the Erie Canal, died in 1828.  He left his family in financial trouble.  He managed Erie Canal finances extremely well and he was unable to match that astuteness in his personal life.

Incidentally, the Erie Canal, renamed the New York State Barge Canal, is the only major inland waterway in the United States that has never been  maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the taxpayers of the United States.

Finally, according to the  2007 Internal Revenue Services spending statistics, the Commonwealth of Virginia is the beneficiary of more U.S. government spending than 46 U.S. states.  But, why hold a 200 year old grudge?

Erie Canalway is holding a 2013 Photo Contest

Who doesn’t have a camera?  Get yours and take a Shot at Erie Canalway 2013 Photo Contest.

2013 Calendar CoverCapture the unique character of the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain Canals and their surrounding communities for the 2013 Erie Canalways Photo Contest. We’ll feature winning entries in the 2014 Erie Canalways calendar. Judges will select winning images in the following contest categories:

  • Bridges, Buildings, and Locks
  • For the Fun of It
  • On the Water
  • The Nature of the Canal

Deadline  for  submissions: September 6, 2013. Download official contest rules and an entry form: www.eriecanalway.org

2013 Map & Guide Available

The 2013 Erie Canalway Map & Guide is now available at visitor centers, locks, libraries, and cultural heritage sites all along the New York State Canal System. Whether you like boating, cycling, history, nature, or simply spending time with friends and relatives, you’ll find things to do and places to discover all summer long. The eight-page guide includes a map of the National Heritage Corridor, as well as a list of boat rental and tour companies, places to cycle on the Canalway Trail, Corridor-wide events and more.

Submitted by Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises.

Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises continues to grow.

IMG_20130504_134457Mike and Sharon Murphy’s “Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises” continues to grow as a third boat is added to their fleet.  This family business began offering Erie Canal tours in 1988 in the City of Lockport, NY using two pontoon boats. It was a time when not too many people had faith in local tourism and its potential.  Over these past 25 years their operation has grown into a substantial business.  In addition to regularly schedule canal cruises and charters they offer a renovated factory with indoor/outdoor facilities that hosts weddings, banquets, meetings. There is a circa 1845 “free stone” (taken from the rubble produce by local canal lock construction) building  that is used for 4th & 5th Grade Erie Canal history education as part of their cruise experience.  Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises even has been featured as part of the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels – The Erie Canal” presentation.

IMG_20130504_141727Earlier this week, Capt. Mike and his crew began their trip from the Thousands Islands to Lockport via Lake Ontario, the Oswego Canal and the Erie Canal (NYS Barge Canal) with their newest acquisition the 76 foot diesel-powered dual paddle-wheel boat  Bonnie Belle.   Conversion of the vessel to meet the needs of Canal service began en-route and continued once moored at the Lockport Locks Canalside Landing. Conversion will continue over the next couple of months.   When completed, The boat will be christened “Lockview VI” and become part of the wedding/charter business along with its partners the 68 foot “Lockview V” and 46 foot “Lockview IV.”

IMG_20130504_134412Congratulations are in order to Mike & Sharon for the growth of their business and their continued faith in the local tourism industry.




Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises add a paddle-wheel boat to its canal fleet.

Mike and Sharon Murphy, the owner operators of Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises have added a paddle-wheel boat to their canal fleet.   They have purchased a 76 foot long, 150 passenger paddle-wheel boat from Uncle Sam Boat Tours  in Alexandria Bay, NY.   Uncle Sam is a major player in the 1000 Islands – St. Lawrence River tourism business.

This investment is another in a series over the past several years that have transformed their business into a major local attraction.   Within in the next few days Capt. Mike will leave for Alexandria Bay with a crew to bring the boat to the area.  The sailing route will take them across Lake Ontario, Welland Canal, Lake Erie and the Niagara River.  The boats are to be refurbished for service on the Erie Canal at Smith Boys on Tonawanda Island.

 

Bring in Bruce Springsteen for the grand opening of “Canalside” in Buffalo, NY

Bring in Bruce Springsteen for the grand opening of Buffalo’s “Canalside” project if for no other reason than the have him sing his ragtime version of Erie Canal.  Maybe Amusements of America could also be scheduled to provides more family fun.

Buffalo’s Canal Harbor development has been ongoing since 1998, actually the late 1970′s if you consider the Erie Basin Marina Pier, and is in its last years of  construction.  The last piece of the 26 acre project, a part of a 1 mile long redevelopment on the north side of the Buffalo River, most likely will be the  Explore & More Children’s Museum in 2015-16.

Canalside in winter

Canalside in winter

Canalside in summer

Canalside in summer

 

A public gathering to celebrate the grand opening would be a marketing tool to not only attract visitors but also a well deserved thank-you to all who have made it possible.