NYS Canalway Water Trail Guide gives paddlers a feel for the Erie Canal

Paddlers on the Erie Canal in Waterford. (Richard Endres/Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor)

When the state Canal System opens on Friday, kayaks and canoes will share the waterway with cruisers and powerboats, thanks to the New York State Canalway Water Trail Guidebook and Navigational Map Set released by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

The complimentary guidebook and maps includes a mile-by-mile description of launch sites, paddler-friendly facilities and amenities, and places of interest for more than 450 miles of the Canal System, including the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champlain canals. The guidebook and maps are available to order ($10 shipping and handling fee) or to download online at eriecanalway.org/watertrail.

“This guidebook is an invitation to paddlers to discover the history, beauty, and adventure of paddling the canals.” said Bob Radliff, executive director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “Paddlers will navigate century-old locks, pass stunning stone aqueducts, and experience narrow flatwater stretches and wide river segments.”

The guidebook includes features to help beginners to seasoned paddlers plan a trip and enjoy the waterway for a few hours or a paddling vacation:

∫ Best bet paddling day trips with mileage charts.

∫ Step-by-step instructions for locking-through.

∫ How to plan and prepare for a paddling trip.

∫ Maps and descriptions of the more than 140 public access points.

∫ Things to do and see on and off the water.

“More people are discovering that New York’s canals are an ideal venue for a fun and leisurely day on the water,” said state Canal Corporation director Brian U. Stratton. “Going through a canal lock in a canoe or kayak is a unique experience and this guidebook will help paddlers get the most out of their trips.”

Paddlers are also encouraged to participate in the Canalway Challenge, a new initiative that invites people to trace history while tracking miles walking, running, cycling or paddling on the Canal System and Canalway Trail. The free program includes a range of mileage options–15 miles, 90 miles, 180 miles and 360 miles–so that people at all fitness levels can choose a mileage goal that suits their ability and participate. Details and signup are available at canalwaychallenge.org.

The NYS Canalway Water Trail Guidebook and Navigational Map Set were funded in part by a grant from Market NY through I LOVE NY, New York’s Division of Tourism, as part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

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