Washington, DC – New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced final passage of the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Extension. The legislation will extend the current authorization to continue access to vital federal dollars for preservation efforts. The Corridor extends 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.
“Passage of this legislation will ensure we can maintain the history of the Erie Canal and the rich character of Upstate New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These federal dollars will go a long way to help preserve the Erie Canal Corridor, promote our natural heritage, and maintain access for our communities and tourists alike.”
“We are thrilled to hear this news,” said Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission Chairman, Joseph Callahan. “This legislation will enable the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission to continue to help the 234 Canal communities in Upstate New York foster economic revitalization through preservation, interpretation and heritage tourism.”
In addition to extending the duration of the Commission for an additional five years, the legislation would:
- Require the Department of Interior to assist the Commission in carrying out its duties.
- Give Members whose Congressional Districts fall within the Corridor the ability to appoint residents to the Commission – establishing a voice from the local community in the preservation and conservation of the region’s history and culture.
- Make the amount authorized to be appropriated for the Corridor in any fiscal year available until expended.
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor was created in 2000 and this legislation would extend it through 2015. The Corridor covers 4,834 square miles across New York over 23 counties.
The legislation passed the Senate last week and the House of Representatives today.