Thanks to the Schenectady County Historical Society for the opportunity to participate in the Canal Fest at the Mabee Farm! With over 500 cyclists coming through during the morning and the hundreds of people to the other attractions and activities during the day there was plenty of interest and excitement for a broad demographic. Our booth’s placement just inside the the Dutch barn, with folk music nearby, local food venders. cooling breezes off the river we had plenty of curious, knowledgeable visitors and much interest in canals and the recreation venues around our area. [pictures coming!]
Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway polished up the three kiosks in Clifton Park in time for the busy summer season. For some reason these three kiosk tend to accumulate a greasy film. We have tried a couple of techniques to minimize the dirt:
- A coating of car wax after cleaning
- An algaecide spray residue on the clean signs
Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.
The three interpretive kiosks take less than an hour to clean including travel between the three sites, with many thanks to those who helped and the mosquitoes that kept us focused on the task at had. It was a fun exercise for those who participated!
Use your cell phone and key in 518-649-9990. These are stops 3, 4 and 5. Visit the Byway today!
For centuries during the first warm days of spring female turtles leave water’s edge and start up the shore to lay their eggs in many places along Riverview Road in Clifton Park to Rexford. Mature turtles of all sizes can be seen crossing the pavement on their way to higher ground with sandy soil, ideal for nurturing turtle eggs until the fry hatch. This can be dangerous for the turtles because drivers don’t always see them even in bright spring sunlight.
On May 25, 2017, Junior Girl Scout Troop 2158, in conjunction with the Town of Clifton Park, ended their very busy year with a Turtle Talk presentation at the Vischer Ferry Historic and Nature Preserve an important part of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway. With the installation of 7 new Turtle Crossing signs in the area of the Vischer Ferry Historic and Nature Preserve, the troop assisted in the unveiling signs along with town officials. The girls presented facts about painted and snapping turtles, both of which inhabit the area and are often seen crossing the roads. The troop helped to alert the public as to the importance of these reptiles and what to do if one is found in a life-threatening location such as the road.
Knowing that the turtles born this year could still be alive in 2047, the girls were enthusiastic about turtle preservation. As part of the initiative to help retain this natural, cultural, and scenic area, Troop 2158 is grateful for the opportunity to be part of it. Besides, the girls loved crossing the Whipple Bridge, walking the towpath, and seeing the turtles in the water!
Look for the new “turtle crossing” signs as you travel the Byway …and watch for the turtles!
-Contributed by Isabel Prescott
While visiting one of the historic sites or other features along the Mohawk Towpath Byway what do you do when you see this sign? Your opinion means a lot to us and to future visitors to the Byway. Please answer the following question by clicking here. We are trying to figure out how to make the Mohawk Towpath Byway’s cell phone tour service more usable and more accessible. The Coalition received a modest, but very helpful grant through the Albany County Convention and Tourism Bureau and the Community Foundation of the Capital Region. How do we use these funds strategically? Your ideas and perspective are appreciated!
The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition has purchased several new “reach sticks” just in time for the spring cleanup along the Byway. These will be in use on the April 22 Canal Clean Sweep events along the Byway.
Ask your municipality highway department if they can let you borrow their similar equipment for the weekend. If they don’t have enough you are welcome to borrow these while supplies last. Contact your representative to the Byway Coalition to make arrangements or leave a message at 518-406-8610 and someone will get back to you especially if you reference “Canal Clean Sweep” in your message.
Moonlight skis are hard to schedule because of changeable weather and even more changeable snow conditions. The trick is to have them several days before the full moon so that the moon is overhead during the evening.
February 9 we had perfect conditions. Not only did we have an excellent moonlit trails and five inches of new snow, we had eight skiers turn out to kick off the Clifton Park Winterfest. We skied along the original 1825 Erie Canal, across the towpath for the 1842 enlarged Erie Canal and back along the now abandoned first town road and the historic reconstructed cast iron Truss Bridge designed by Union College graduate Squire Whipple. The structural members of the bridge were cast in 1862.
To share all that history along with a perfect and memorable moonlit evening reminds us how fortunate we are to have these recreational opportunities right here in our back yard, on the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway.
During the year we took advantage of a tool developed by the National Scenic Byway Foundation to evaluate the effectiveness and strengths of the Mohawk Towpath Byway. The evaluation reviewed our organizational development, capacity and adaptability; our finances, fundraising and sustainability; our outreach, partnerships and advocacy; our recognition, identity, marketing, image and communications; our visitor experience; and our documented impact.
We scored an impressive 84% overall in the evaluation. In the words of the report, we “…achieved an advanced level of sustainable excellence, focus on ensuring that your group’s high level of capacity is maintained while also maintaining your knowledge base and building upon your key strengths.”
Congratulations to all our volunteers and communities that make the Byway a success. May we have another successful year in 2017!
On February 3 the Town of Clifton Park will be hosting a stewardship hike starting from the Ferry Drive entrance to the Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve. This walk led by Jennifer Viggiani often attracts botanists, natural history buffs, birders and other interesting naturalists who share their enthusiasm and their perspectives of what we see on the hikes. This is an excellent opportunity to identify recreational and stewardship needs of the Preserve and get some idea about how wildlife is surviving the winter.
Dress accordingly and bring boots, snowshoes, crampons, cross country skis or whatever improves your winter mobility. Don’t forget the camera!
I would like to see this type of stewardship expanded to other public facilities along the Byway. From time to time…
- the Spindle City Historic Society sponsors walks along the old Erie Canal locks that now line City parks
- the Environmental Clearing House of Schenectady (ECOS) conducts hikes along recreational features in the western part of the Byway corridor; and
- the Waterford Canal Society explores the current and old Erie Canal features in the Town of Waterford.
Let’s work together to establish and annual schedule of these activities and have a calendar of events available to our local residents as well as our Byway visitors. This type of opportunity is what makes a visit to the Mohawk Towpath Byway a memorable experience.
I hope to see you on February 3 at 1 PM overlooking the Mohawk River at the end of Ferry Drive.
The public is invited to our Annual Meeting on December 13 at 7 PM in the community room of the historic Grooms Tavern. The meeting will be brief and to the point. Desert will follow with a great raffle of prizes including a weekend get-away at the new Marriott Courtyard at Mohawk Harbor, a Rotary Red gift basket, a tote of local apples, and other prizes.
Don’t miss you chance to win. Renew your membership and increase your chances; bring a friend who joins and you both increase your chances to win!
Come mingle and jingle on the Mohawk Towpath Byway.
I had the privilege of representing the Mohawk Towpath Byway today as we received a grant from the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region to implement and improve connection to the Byway’s cell phone based self guided tour. Congratulations to all of us who are helping to make this project a success!
We will be seeing more of these signs starting on the eastern end of the Byway. With more signs we are sure to get more use of the self guided tour. With more use we may finally see some meaningful visitor data at least for the demographic that uses personal electronic devises as they tour the Byway.
Curious to hear what is all the fuss? Call 518-649-9990 to hear what this is all about …and you don’t need a cell phone to try it. Stop 10, 11 or stop 12 are the cool ones in Albany County!