Macedon, NY – Standing along the Erie Canal, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, joined by Russ Andrews, Erie Canalway Chairman Chair, Mayor Marie Cramer of Macedon and Mural Mania founder Mark DeCracker, discussed the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Act, legislation that would extend the Canalway’s authorization for the next fifteen years. In addition, Senator Gillibrand is urged the 2016 Global Mural Convention to come to the historic Erie Canal, highlighting a wide range of murals and public art.
“The Erie Canal Corridor is one of America’s richest treasures, and holds enormous potential that we are still unlocking,” Senator Gillibrand said. “From Buffalo, through Wayne County where we stand today, and up to Lake Champlain, the Erie Canal continues to fuel our economy and provide New Yorkers with miles of adventure and endless recreation. As New York’s first Senator from upstate in nearly 40 years, I will always work to preserve the beauty and tradition of the Erie Canal, and the extension of this National Heritage Corridor is an important step to continue garnering the national recognition it deserves.”
The Erie Canal was designated a National Heritage Corridor by Congress in 2000. Through this designation a federally appointed Canalway Commission, in conjunction with the National Park Service and U.S. Department of Interior is tasked with promoting the Corridor as a tourism destination and ensuring that the historical and natural features of the Canal and its communities are preserved. The Commission’s authority is set to expire in 2015.
“Like the original investment in the Erie Canal, the benefits of projects and programs in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor are shared by millions of New Yorkers and visitors, and a nation that can be proud of its nationally significant heritage,” said Erie Canalway Commission Chair Russ Andrews. “The National Heritage Corridor is a vital link that connects communities and reinforces efforts to preserve our heritage and drive economic development.”
Following its completion in 1825, the Erie Canal quickly became recognized as a defining public works and civil engineering achievement with an enormous and lasting impact for New York State and our nation. By connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, the canal facilitated the movement of people and goods in a way that had previously been restricted by the difficult conditions of overland routes.
Today the Erie Canal continues to be an economic driver both from a global perspective and right here in Wayne County New York. Rich with history and natural beauty, the Canal serves as one of New York’s largest tourism magnets providing recreational opportunities, events and telling the story of the Canal’s role in the Underground Railroad. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor works closely with the New York State Canal Corporation and I LOVE NY to promote the 524-mile stretch.
Still the economic reach extends beyond tourism with interconnectivity ranging from industry and agriculture to hydropower and research and development. According to a recent report by the New York State Canal Corporation, the Canal’s non-tourism economic impact is more than $6.2 billion annually, supporting over 8,800 direct and 26,400 indirect jobs.
The Corridor covers 4,834 square miles across 23 counties, extending from Tonawanda to Whitehall at the bottom of Lake Champlain and includes Buffalo, Rochester and the Finger Lakes, Oswego, Syracuse, Albany, Saratoga National Historic Park, and Glens Falls. For more information about what there is to see and do along the Erie Canal visit: www.eriecanalway.org.
In addition Senator Gillibrand urged the 2016 Global Mural Convention to come to the historic Erie Canal, home to a wide range of murals and public art. The Global Mural Conference would bring welcome attention to the wealth of murals along the Erie Canal and showcase our communities and the artists that help to revitalize this region.