Richmond Aqueduct

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

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Spare Seat Picnic at the Richmond Aqueduct, May 5, 2012

Clouds gave way to warm sunshine as our  UK visitors rowed into the park arriving from their stay over in Lyons, NY. We enjoyed talking with them over a relaxing picnic lunch on the Richmond Aqueduct.  I couldn't help but contrast the day to an earlier picnic at this historic location. Built in 1854, the aqueduct had 31 arches. Today there are seven remaining arches left after the Erie Canal was rerouted and dredged out in the Seneca River in 1917. You might also notice our picnic was a bit more informal.

Their journey started on the Erie Canal in Buffalo and will end traveling down the Hudson River to New York City.  Traveling the Erie Canal must seem like a kiddie pool to both Richard Harpham and Glenn Charles who have kayaked in some amazing challenging waters.

The event's main sponsor was I Love New York, and Cayuga County's tourism executive director Meg Vanek helped me to coordinate the day's event.  Lori Solomon-Duell, the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor's director of tourism helped to organize it,  and is traveling to each community along the way to keep the trip on schedule and running smoothly. The event is bringing awareness to many upstate communities along the Erie Canal that are proud of our heritage, and to give visitors a chance to experience the rich natural and historic resources in our canal communities.

Called the Spare Seat Expedition, they are being accompanied on part of their journey in one of the spare seats by smiling Rosie Fuller who is an editor with UK’s Adventure Travel Magazine.  Others have been invited to join them for a ride along the route. Mark DeCracker traveled the 22-mile ride from Lyons to Montezuma. Taking the next twelve-mile stretch was Mike Riley, Trail boss for the Montezuma Heritage Park and canal historian took the spare seat to Weedsport.  (Although I will say, he was somewhat reluctant, but by the time he got to Weedsport he was very glad he went along for the ride.) From there Jeanne Baker opened the Old Brutus Historical Museum to visit the canal displays and exhibits there. They dined at Devaney's in Weedsport before heading to Seneca Falls for the rest of the weekend. Then it's back on the canal at Weedsport to continue their journey. You can follow the rest of their trip on their blog at: Spare Seat Blog

Thank you to everyone who helped to make it possible, those who came out to welcome our guests, and to Richard and Glenn for sharing this amazing journey with us. They told us they would be back again, this time cycling the Canalway Trail. We look forward to their return.

Mark your calendar to visit two National Historic Register sites at our next event on August 11, 2012, starting at 9:00 AM in Montezuma. Mike Riley will be back on land (Yes, he survived it!) to guide us with his popular Cayuga County canal site tour, "Following the Flow; A Tale of Two Erie Canals." . As Trail Boss for the Montezuma Heritage Park, Mike knows first hand plans for the development the park, and will lead a 1.6 mile walking tour sharing highlights of historic canal sites and new trails now open in the park. Mike will also meet anyone that wants to drive on to Port Byron to visit the Erie House with updates on the Canal Society's Erie Canal Heritage Park at the site of Lock 52. The Old Brutus Historical Society Museum will be open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM with displays of canal history. For more information on the tour, details on the sites and photos, visit our blog at  Cayuga County Canals Tour

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The Canal Clean Sweep was another huge success this year in the Montezuma Heritage Park thanks to some wonderful volunteers that came out on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 29.  This year's two events helped to ready the park for the arrival of visitors this week traveling from Buffalo across state on the Erie Canal and then down the Hudson River to New York City.  Richard Harpham and Glenn Charles are two experienced adventurers who have covered over 19,500 human powered miles between them by kayak, canoe and bike and have a passion for inspiring young people and communities through their challenges. They will be sharing their experiences by giving talks about their adventures and documenting life and interviewing people they meet on their travels. They started their adventure this morning in Buffalo (May 1, 2012), and are expected to stop in Montezuma for lunch at the Richmond Aqueduct on Saturday, May 5th.  You can follow them on their adventure through their blog:

Chef Paul Baker removes the trash cans to reveal two turkeys for lunch.

The April 21 event,  one of the more cold and rainy spring days, didn't dampen the enthusiasm for getting the job done. Volunteers pitched in to accomplish two major goals set by the Design Committee for the day. Paul Baker, our Master Chef, cooked Trash Can Turkey for lunch while workers set out for trail work.  Maybe it was the smell roasting turkey that led our work teams to finish their jobs quickly.

Bench placed at the entrance to the Lock 62 Trail
One crew worked on installing four new benches (water to set the cement provided by Mother Nature) were placed along the Byron Lapp Memorial Trail and the Aqueduct Trail.  Extensive brush clearing work was done to reveal the well-intact Lock 11 remains on the Cayuga Seneca Canal.

Brush clearing at Lock 11 on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal

Volunteers created a clear view on the west side of Lock 11 on the C & S Canal

By noon the work was done, and we abandoned the idea of a trailgate lunch to head for dryer and warmer ground at the town hall.

Sunny skies on Sunday, April 29 greeted volunteer Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Boy Scouts with their leaders and parents from Montezuma, Port Byron and Bloomfield to help in the park for this year's second Clean Sweep event. Before getting started a Bike Rodeo was held for youth from the area teaching hands-on bike safety and were given brand new helmets conducted by Joe Mushock and his volunteers for the Cayuga County Governor's Traffic Safety program.

Amy Barra, Cornell Cooperative Extension Environmental Educator gives us a lesson on how the garlic mustard plant is a very invasive specie that spreads, and is damaging the ecosystem. It's roots have toxins that are harmful to other more beneficial plants. It didn't take much convincing for the youth to start scouting out the plant that Amy helped them identify, and pulling it up by its root on the Aqueduct Trail on our way back to the parking lot.  Their enthusiasm for wanting to help is so encouraging for the future of our Mother Earth. The adult leaders and parents are to be commended for teaching them the importance of protecting our natural resources. Every root pulled helped to stop further invasion.