Canal Trails Mean More Business For Local Merchants

May 17, 2006

New York is home to wonderful resources such as the majestic Adirondack Mountains, the beautiful Finger Lakes and numerous bays and inlets off Lake Ontario. But one of the most unique attractions to both natives and visitors alike is the Erie Canal, a waterway that once again has the potential to boost business for many local merchants.

The Erie Canal played a large role in our region’s history and the development of New York as the “Empire State.” Numerous communities, locally and across the state, grew and prospered due to the canal. Over the years, the canal has served multiple purposes, from originally transporting people and goods more rapidly between New York City and the Great Lakes, to its more recent use for recreational boating and leisure activities.

The state’s Canalway Trail system is being expanded and marketed as an attractive and exciting place for cycling and mountain biking enthusiasts to spend their vacations and tourist dollars. A section of the trail is being completed between Palmyra and Newark this year and ultimately the trail will stretch all the way from Albany to Buffalo.

According to the Canal Corporation, studies show bicyclists visiting an area can each spend about $300 per day while pedaling their way along the trail. Coupled with our serene natural beauty, upstate New York is a wonderful vacation spot for vacationers interested in our extensive trail system.

I am proud to join the Canal Corporation in urging the waterway be promoted to touring bicyclists. Villages and cities along the canal are hosting special meetings to assist local municipalities and businesses in understanding what must happen to attract these tourists to their communities. In fact, the Canal Corporation recently held a round table forum in Palmyra to discuss ideas with area business owners and municipal representatives on how they can better market local communities to bicyclers who utilize the canal trail.

Tourism already plays a large role in the success of our community’s economy. Expanding the ways the canal can be utilized for tourism is one more opportunity to grow local businesses. As your state legislator, I will continue working to help businesses succeed so they can create the jobs we need for the benefit of our entire region.