The New York State Canal System, which closed Nov. 15, saw higher traffic numbers during 2007 with a nearly 30 percent increase in lockings from May to September compared to the same period in 2006, said Canal Corporation spokesperson Erin Agans.
Each time a boat goes through a lock, it is considered a locking.
When compared to the same time period in 2005, one of the better seasons along the Canal, this year's traffic figures were up roughly two percent, Agans said, adding that final boat traffic numbers for the 2007 season will not be available until mid to late December. However, 132,838 boats were counted as having passed through the locks for the season up through September. This compares with 129,699 vessels for the entire 2005 Season.
Canal Corporation Director Carmella Mantello termed 2007 as "truly a banner year," with businesses along the canals reporting one of the best years in decades. This is especially good news when considering the 2006 season, which saw severe flooding that forced six- to eight-week periods of closings along portions of the system during the height of the season. In addition to an increase in traffic this year, there were twice as many events and festivals happening throughout the canal compared with 2006, with more than 150 events occurring in canal side communities, including Baldwinsville and nearby Phoenix.
"Major, statewide events such as the Canal Clean Sweep, Canalway Trail Celebration, Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour and the Canal Splash attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the canal system," Mantello said.
The Canal Corporation also worked in partnership with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to sponsor The Grand Canal Journey of the Lois McClure. More than 30,000 people visited the historic vessel to learn about the significant role the waterway played in shaping our state and nation during the vessel's 1,000-mile, 100-day voyage to more than 25 communities throughout the Canal corridor.