When it came time to name the first Erie Canal Ambassadors, New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton knew exactly where to look.
He named Camillus Erie Canal Park founders and co-directors Liz and Dave Beebe Canal Ambassadors during a press conference today at 11:30 a.m.
“This morning we recognize the valuable hands-on contributions to our canals made by dedicated volunteers by launching a new Canal Ambassador program,” Stratton said. “And there could be no more fitting place to launch this program … than right here at the Camillus Erie Canal Park, where service above self is the enduring hallmark. What you see around you here in this wonderful Erie Canal Park represents years of dedication from Dave and Liz as well as countless other volunteers and Camillus Park board members.”
Stratton noted the Beebes’ efforts to spearhead the restoration of the 1842 Nine Mile Creek stone aqueduct, the only navigable aqueduct in the state. The structure was abandoned in the early 1900s and fully restored by park volunteers two years ago.
“Their Herculean effort involved many volunteers, both individuals and organizations, even a lot of snakes, but it was the Beebes who provided the vision, the drive and the can-do spirit over the years, and the results are simply amazing,” he said. “Dedication like this is exactly what the Cuomo administration wants to see all along our present day and historic Erie Canal Corridor.”
In accepting the designation, Dave Beebe cited a study done by the Canal Corporation that showed that in 2011, 207,000 people visited the park’s Sims Store, and 198,000 people visited the aqueduct.
“This is all due to the volunteer hours that were put in last year, which did amount to 25,800 volunteer hours for those who remembered to sign in,” he said. “So that’s a minimum number of hours that have been spent.”