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Legislation introduced to reauthorize Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

BUFFALO - Standing along the western terminus of the Erie Canal, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins (D, NY26) announced introduction of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Act, a bill to extend the Canalway’s authorization for the next fifteen years. 

“The Erie Canal Corridor is one of America’s richest treasures, and holds enormous potential that we are still unlocking,” Senator Gillibrand said. “From the waterfront in Buffalo where we stand today through the Finger Lakes 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.”

“In Western New York we are finally starting to realize the true value that comes with our proximity to the Erie Canal,” said Congressman Higgins.  “Continuation of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is vital to sustaining the momentum.  By embracing, maintaining and promoting the unique history we have here in New York we provide limitless opportunities for our region’s future.” 

Congressman Chris Gibson is also a lead co-sponsor in the House of Representatives.

“Tourism is the second biggest economic driver in New York’s 19th Congressional District and our two National Heritage Areas are major contributors to this economic engine,” said Congressman Chris Gibson (R, NY19).

“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 Western 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.