There seems to be the prospect of good news for people planning to cruise on the historic Erie Canal this summer. It is scheduled to be open from mid-May to mid-October, according to Gil Quiniones, the president of the New York Power Authority; the Authority has owned the New York State Canal Corporation since 2017.
First opened in 1825, the Erie Canal runs 363 miles from Albany, on the Hudson, to Buffalo, on Lake Erie, a crucial waterway for cruisers on the Great Loop. (Another section runs up to Lake Champlain, leading to Canada, for anyone cruising to the St. Lawrence and beyond.)
Last year, delayed by infrastructure delays and the Covid pandemic, the canal did not even start to open until July.
In a statement, Quiniones said the Canal Corporation is still assessing projects dealing with the system’s “aging infrastructure,” including “efforts to optimize operations of the locks and lift bridges based on usage data when the canal system opens this spring. As in previous years, the canal system is projected to operate mid-May through mid-October and no changes are expected to the normal hours of operation.”
Some people, trying to plan their summer cruises, were worried about the lack of specifics for the starting and ending dates, as well as for the exact hours of operation. Last year, the canal was open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., although some locks and bridges were open on demand from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the high season.
Meanwhile, the border with Canada is still closed to recreational boats, and there’s no word from the Canadian government about when it may be open again.
To keep up to date on the Erie Canal schedule, go to: http://canals.ny.gov