Richmond Aqueduct

Richmond Aqueduct
Second Largest Aqueduct Built on the Enlarged Erie Canal (1856-1917)

Sunday, March 27, 2011


It's been a long winter here in Central New York. I think we all are more than ready to welcome Spring and appreciate the warmer weather. Sadly, one of the first signs of Spring is the garbage and debris we see along the highways, parks and trails as the melted snow reveals what has collected over the winter. One way to celebrate Spring and honor Mother Earth is by volunteering to help clean our parks and trails through a multi-community event sponsored in connection with the New York State Canal Corporation, Parks & Trails New York, and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation.

The Town of Montezuma is planning its second year of participation in the New York State Canal Clean Sweep program to organize clean-up activities on canal historic sites within the Heritage Park area.  The clean up day will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Plans are to meet at the at 9:00 AM at the parking area on Erie Street, off Route 90 near the fire house.  Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and supplies, and to wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks and Trails New York, said, “The growth of the Canal Clean Sweep in recent years clearly shows that local pride in the Canal and the Canalway Trail is high and the spirit of volunteerism is flourishing across the state. Especially in such challenging economic times, the canal system and Canalway Trail, which are growing in prominence as a world-class tourism destination, become even more important as close-to-home recreational resources for local residents and all New Yorkers. We are pleased to again join community groups and citizens in cleaning up the canal corridor in advance of the summer season.”

Site near the towpath and main trail leading to Heritage Park.
This event also coincides with the celebration of Earth Day on April 22,  which began in 1970 launching the modern environmental movement. The Earth Day Network encourages Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. In recognition of the power of millions of individual actions, Earth Day 2011 has initiated a campaign to inspire and reward commitments both small and large to better sustain and support our environment. The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the Earth Summit in Rio in 2012.  A Billion Acts of Green® website quantifies acts of green through an easy-to-use online registration tool at:  

Unfortunately, we can't always stop this kind of illegal dumping, but we can help by being the change we want to see in others. Through our efforts in participating we can take pride knowing we are doing are part with cleanup and beautification activities on April 16th that will help the environment and protect the beauty of our historic canal and natural resources for years to come. Come enjoy the great outdoors and join the Clean Up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Heritage Park Design Committee Meeting

There will be a meeting of the Heritage Design Committee on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be that the Montezuma Town Hall. Nancy Sumner of Bush Bow Consulting will moderate a discussion on plans for park development.  Anyone interested in attending the meeting is welcome. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Engaging With the Power of Place

For centuries, visitors have traveled to historical places to understand the impact of past generations. In the past decade, the cultural heritage tourism movement in the US has been gaining recognition and momentum with an impact on the economy and quality experiences for tourists. This week I had the pleasure of attending a symposium produced by the New York State Cultural Heritage Tourism Network and the Upstate Institute at Colgate University entitled "Bridges to the Future, Empowerment through Collaboration."

Cheryl Hargrove, keynote speaker, termed cultural heritage tourism "as a mosaic of places, traditions, art forms, celebrations and experiences that define this nation and its people reflecting the diversity and character of the U.S." She spoke about sustaining cultural heritage tourism through increased local benefit and value to its residents, long-term impact, opportunities for collaboration, and expanding partnerships that demand authentic experiences for visitors. Historic, cultural and natural attractions are experienced through the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.

There were five guiding principles that were stressed throughout this program: 1) collaboration; 2) preserving and protecting resources; 3) making sites and programs come alive; 4) find the fit between community and tourism; and 5) focusing on authenticity and quality.

The program was a wonderful opportunity to network with other cultural heritage museums and sites from New York State, share experiences, identify future needs for networking, and learn about the resources available to help communities wanting to showcase their unique "Place." Spike Herzig lead the wrap up session that identified advocacy by participants as important future topic for discussion to ensure this part of the growing tourism industry is understood, recognized and supported.

The "new" cultural heritage traveler is preferring leisure travel that is educational, they want to engage with locals and will travel farther to get that experience.  Once again, I'm reminded that it's through the Power of Place and the people telling their unique and authentic stories, that is of most interest to visitors to our area.

Visit the New York Heritage Culture Tourism website at: