Our view: Port Byron canal park needs help to succeed

Our view: Port Byron canal park needs help to succeed

Old Erie Canal Heritage Park (copy)

The Old Erie Canal Heritage Park opened in September 2016 at the site of Lock 52 in Port Byron. 

It's been 200 years since construction began on the Erie Canal, and there is now a need locally for people to help tell the story of America's transformative man-made waterway.

The Old Erie Canal Heritage Park is the fruition of decades of work that began with the notion of creating a pull-off and parking area along the state Thruway so that travelers could stop and check out the uncovered remains of the former Lock 52 in Port Byron.

The park, which will open this month for its first full season, now includes a visitor center with historic artifacts and interactive displays, and a grouping of renovated structures. The park is accessible from the eastbound side of the Thruway and from the village of Port Byron and is expected to host tens of thousands of people a year.

But the work isn't finished yet, because in addition to some paid positions, the park is going to need a small army of volunteers to make sure that visitors have the best experience possible. People are needed to give tours, answer phones and give visitors directions, among other things.

This park is a big opportunity for this area. It has real potential to become a starting point for an increase in tourism all over Cayuga County. We encourage anyone interested to learn more about it. And if there is anything you can do to help, find out more about a paid or volunteer position by contacting (315) 776-4582 or canals.ny.gov.

The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Rob Forcey, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.


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