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.
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!
As we wrap up the details of this year’s duathlon I can’t help but be grateful to all our volunteers for what they do to make the event a success. It all starts with a term that we don’t use enough, “stewardship,” continues with a mantra of “safety,” under laid by a sense of “fun,” with a lot of “teamwork” thrown in, and wrapped up with “satisfaction”. In many ways the event, meant to be a fund raising event, just reflects what goes on every day on the Byway.
Stewardship is what we all do, day to day, to make our communities in the best shape for our visitors whether from next door or from the other side of the earth. It may be keeping ourselves and our homes in the best of shape, working with friends to improve our communities recreational assets, or a roadside cleanup to make it easier for highway maintenance and safety.
Safety means we had done our homework and field work to make sure we had clean roadways (other than the plethora of “political speak” and one porcupine carrion in an unused travel lane). We had sufficient volunteers to keep normal highway traffic civil, participants on course, and EMTs on standby in case of an incident.
Teamwork was amazing from roadside cleanups, to packet stuffing, communication efforts, policing and marshaling, results posting, post race feed crews, and cleanup crews.
The more analytical of us insist on numbers to help define our success. We had 121 participants registered, 53 of them were “serious athletes”, 18 of them in teams, and an amazing 47.6 % female. A total of 105 people started, one biker was successfully returned to the start after a tire blew, and 104 victorious. We had a record 11 paid event sponsors. One of these sponsors has employees scooping 200 generous victory scoops of ice cream for competitors and volunteers over the next few weeks. When the books are finally closed we will have raised over $5,700 for the Byway Coalition and Friends of the Byway.
No matter how you look at it we all had a good time, can share and celebrate the success, and rest peacefully on our satisfaction.
Sara Foss in her Tuesday, October 4 column in the Gazette is so correct, “spot-on” with her conclusion that we all have to work together to make this Capital Region a world class destination. Right now the international traveller may venture out of the New York Metropolitan area to visit the New York State Museum or “the track”. But then they’re to the airport and gone. If it’s a nice day they might notice the expansive grey rock outcrops or an unnaturally straight ribbon of reflected sky as they look out the plane’s porthole and wonder what else they missed. But they are gone.
The expansive grey rock outcrop, of course, mark the northern edge of the Helderbergs. The unnaturally straight ribbon of reflected sky is the old Erie Canal through the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve. No matter where you go on this earth you can find a person who has a perception of the Erie Canal as well as the Pyramids or the Great Wall. She or he might not speak your language, but the words are international.
By working together we, no matter which county we call home, can share our varied heritage, show off our changing seasons, draw them to our unique recreational resources, and share our “sense of place”. Who knows, the international traveller might even come back for another discovery. We in turn might learn more of the story of our guests and where they call home.
An interesting sound as we recreate within the Mohawk Towpath Byway corridor is the song of the Catbird. Audubon publications say that the bird got its name because it sounds like an cat’s, “Meow.” It’s a unique sound in trees and low brush, and, usually, has two very distinct syllables, like “me-ow”. If it were a cat making that sound it would certainly be in distress, and from a bird, I first wondered if there were something wrong with it’s voice mechanism. The sound is so gravelly.
The bird is hard to spot because of it’s drab grey or brown coloration. To find the source of the call, one needs to stop and wait for the bird to move.
What is really curious is, in this area, the Catbird’s call can even take on a sound like, “Er-ie.” When I have heard a Catbird in other areas of the northeast, I have never heard “Er-ie,” just the distinct, “Me-ow.”
What do you think? [Other than the fact that I am an Erie Canal fanatic and have “really gone to the birds.” …and further I apologize to former fans of Red Barber.] Whatever you’re thinking get out and take your observations now. The Catbird seems to be one of the last species to arrive in the spring and one of the first to migrate to warmer climes when the nesting season is over.
The Byway provides unique experiences, and as I have said many times before, exhibits change daily.