Richmond Aqueduct

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012


At the February 23rd Heritage Park Committee meeting, Mike Riley accepted the volunteer position as Trail Boss for the park project. When it comes to natural resources, trails and canal history, I can think of no one better qualified than Mike for the job. I'm so grateful he accepted it on top of all the other many activities he is involved in.

Mike Riley describes the workings of the Richmond Aqueduct 
Mike's by-day "real" job is foreman at Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation. His overall experience working to enhance and protect natural resources will be a valuable asset to the environmentally sensitive areas in the park. His knowledge of canal history is responsible for helping me to learn and understand the different stages and mechanics of canal building.  Through his study, he's uncovered little known facts and stories that contribute to Montezuma's unique part of Erie and Cayuga-Seneca Canal history.  Ten years ago, he wrote a book, "Twelve and a Half Miles: The Erie Canal in Cayuga County,"  and recently posted a web edition, free of charge on the Cayuga County Canals website, he helped to create with full color photos and maps.

He serves as a director with the West Onondaga-Cayuga Regional Trail Group of the Canalway Association. The Association is helping communities plan, develop and manage trail segments of the  524-mile continuous trail along New York's historic canals. He serves as a director with the Canal Society of New York, a non-profit educational organization that brings together canal enthusiasts from across the state. The Erie Canal Camillus Park has also benefited from his expertise on many projects, as well as conducting boat tours for them.  In his hometown, he serves as president of the Lock 52 Historical Society of Port Byron, Town of Mentz Planning Board member, and Town Historian. Here in Montezuma, the Town has benefited from his leading our yearly historic walking tours that has now expanded as part the Canal Splash Following The Flow Driving and Walking Tour and writes for the Cayuga County Canal Tours blog.  He attends monthly meetings of the Park Design Committee and gives valuable input.  

Mike and his wife Mary, along with their son, Shane, and daughter Kate, have enjoyed many camping trips that usually involve visiting a canal site. He is always learning more about trails and canal history that he is willing to share.  There's a saying, "If you want to get something done, just ask a busy person."  Thankfully, Mike's the man for this job!


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