Also known as Clinton's Ditch, the Erie Canal has had a tremendous impact on our city's development. Though it has been rerouted from its original path, bypassing the city now and cutting a modified route through the suburbs, several of the original Canal Locks still exist. Following its modifications in 1918, the canal was renamed the New York Barge Canal. Legislative action through the 1990's has returned it to its original name and restricted its use to recreation. That was not meant to include lock jumping.
You would have to be an idiot to drink water from the Erie Canal.
In 1974 the bottom of the canal fell out in Bushnell's Basin, destroying and damaging 69 homes with the over 200 million gallons of water spilling forth, comprising one of the notable disasters of the last century. Total damages were estimated at 1.2 million dollars. The collapse occurred due to a sewage tunnel being constructed beneath it.
New York State is working to build a multi-use trail along the entire length of the Erie Canal, called the Erie Canalway Trail. Each year additional segments are built. One of the longest segments currently runs between Lockport and Palmyra, crossing through the southern portion of Rochester. Rich & Sue Freeman, shown here biking the Erie Canalway Trail near Adams Basin, west of Rochester, have written guidebooks that include many of the existing segments of the Erie Canalway Trail between Buffalo and Utica:
-Take Your Bike - Family Rides in the Rochester Area
-Take Your Bike - Family Rides in New York's Finger Lakes Region
See more on these and other local outdoor recreation guidebooks at http://www.footprintpress.com
Tours of the canal are available on The Sam Patch packet boat.