Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor was established on December 21, 2000 (P.L. 106-554, Title VIII, Sec. 801). The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor covers 524 miles in Upstate New York, including four navigable waterways: Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca; sections of the first Erie Canal; and over 200 municipalities adjacent to the canals. On June 17th, 2002, the National Park Service, in partnership with the State of New York, formalized the 27-member Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission. The purpose of this commission is to work with federal, state, and local authorities in creating and implementing a Canalway Plan for the corridor that fosters the integration of canal-related historical, cultural, recreational, scenic, economic and community development initiatives. The New York State Canal System is the most commercially enduring and historically significant canalway in the United States. This waterway played a key role in turning New York City into a preeminent center for commerce, industry, and finance. Besides being a catalyst for growth in the Mohawk and Hudson valleys, these canals helped open up western America for settlement and for many years transported much of the Midwest's agricultural and industrial products to domestic and international markets.
Seasonality / Weather
Weather along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor can vary greatly from one end of the Corridor to the other. Lake effect snows in winter from Buffalo to Syracuse may only be flurries by Utica, and merely cloudy skies in Albany. Clearing skies in Rochester may be the wake of a heavy thunderstorm that has moved on to Saratoga Springs.
Up-to-date weather information can be obtained from a few sources. If you know your destination, try: the Weather Channel. If you are not sure yet where you might go, and need more general New York State weather information, try: the National Weather Service.
Several interstate highways cross the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. The New York State Thruway (I-90) roughly parallels the Erie Canalway route from Albany to Buffalo.
Perhaps the best way to explore canal country by car is along state and county roads that hug the water more closely and thread through the hamlets, villages, and cities that grew along the waterways. These are:
NY Rt. 31 in western New York
NY Rt. 5 and 5S in the east
NY Rt. 481 along the Oswego
...and a host of smaller roads in between them.
The Lakes to Locks Passage along the Champlain Canal and the Mohawk Towpath along the eastern end of Lake Erie have been designated National Scenic Byways.
By rail: Amtrak provides passenger rail service through the Canalway Corridor with several stops each day in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Rome, Utica, Schenectady, and Albany (the Maple Leaf line), and daily service along the Champlain Canal with stops in Fort Edward and Whitehall (the Adirondack line).