Stewardship program launched for Canal System

Stock photo.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, along with the New York State Canal Corporation, recently launched the NYS Canalway Water Trail Stewardship program to help ensure the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Champlain and Oswego canals are welcoming and safe for paddlers. 

Individuals, families, groups and organizations are invited to adopt a section of the 450-mile trail from May through October.

“As we invite more paddlers to use the NYS Canal System, we are providing resources, improving access and now promoting good stewardship to ensure that paddling here is a world class experience,” said Bob Radliff, executive director of the Erie Canalway Corridor. “We are thrilled that outdoor enthusiasts, including boaters, cyclists, nature lovers and paddlers, are enjoying this National Historic Landmark. With that comes the need for good stewardship to protect the waterway.” 

The Canal System opens for the season on May 21.

Volunteer stewards will perform light maintenance at launch sites, observe and report issues, and act as friendly ambassadors for paddlers using the waterway. Volunteers will steward a section of approximately 10 miles of the Water Trail, contributing about four to six hours a month. All volunteers will complete a virtual orientation, receive T-shirts and supplies, and have access to additional training. All volunteers must be ages 12 and older, with adult supervision.

“New York’s canals helped to build the nation and the Empire State, and we are excited to partner with like-minded organizations and individuals to help maintain these incredible and historic waterways,” said Brian Stratton, director of the Canal Corporation. “As we continue to make investments in our canals and neighboring communities through Gov. Cuomo’s Reimagine the Canals program, this new initiative ensures our waterways will be safe and clean for visitors from across New York and beyond, and underscores our commitment to maintaining the canals’ status as a tremendous resource and economic driver for generations to come.”

Visit to sign up, or call 518-237-7000, ext. 204 or email for information.