LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Nearing 200 years of history, the Erie Canal is not just part of WNY history, but is a pivotal achievement in American history.
The man-made waterway overcomes a geographic obstacle in Lockport. The "flight of five" is a series of canal locks that form a stairway for boats as they pass up and down the Niagara Escarpment, a natural hill or cliff that extends across New York and Ontario for hundreds of miles.
This weekend, the original locks in Lockport are open for viewing again. They have weekly demonstrations and daily tours. There is a museum, which details the canal's history in Lockport.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday the official opening of the 2023 navigation season for the entire 524-mile canal system that spans across the state.
"The historic waterways of the Erie Canal and canals across the state have been an integral part of New York's story that continues to support our local communities, small businesses, and tourism," Governor Hochul said in a press release. "The Canal system is a hub of recreation and tourism, and as a longtime boater, I encourage all New Yorkers to explore the endless recreational opportunities and adventure available throughout the canal system."
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Executive Director Bob Radliff said, "We welcome New Yorkers and people from around the world to experience the canals that transformed America. The canals belong to all of us. They speak to our history of perseverance and innovation in pursuit of big ideas; of working through struggles to create a brighter future; and of forward-thinking planning and investments that ensure the canal system not only endures but serves present and future generations."
Locks and lift bridges on the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals will operate daily today through October 11th, providing opportunities for boating, fishing, and sightseeing to tourists, canal enthusiasts, and all New Yorkers.
For information on this weekend's celebration in Lockport, visit www.discoverlockport.com