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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