In The News

Press Release – Friends of The Byway

Clifton Park, N Y – November 6, 2020: Standby. We are working on a dedication and ribbon cutting on the new recreational access to the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve at Clute’s Dry Dock.

Clifton Park, N Y – April 27, 2020: A popular birding trail in the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve has recently received recognition by the National Scenic Byway Foundation.  The trail was developed through a partnership between the Audubon Society of the Capital Region and the Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway, to introduce the public to the important birding area within the popular recreation area along the Mohawk River.

The National Scenic Byway Foundation announced the winners of its awards program earlier this week.  Every other year the Foundation recognizes recent projects completed by scenic byway organizations across the the country in eight categories.   The Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway is awarded an honorable mention in the innovation category. 

“We are quite proud to receive this recognition,” announced Paul Olund, president of the Friends organization.  “Actually it was a three way partnership that brought the project to life.  The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition maintains a self-guided tour of the Byway.  John Loz of the Audubon Society of the Capital Region provided the expertise, content and narration.   The Friends of the Byway coordinated the installation of the tour and the small sign posts in the Preserve.”

Larry Syzdek, Chairman of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition added that use of the self-guided cell phone tour dramatically increased when we added the stops on the birding trail.  “Not only did the number of calls almost doubled last year, but users of the tour actually listen to the entire recording of the bird tour stops.”  Timing of the award and recognition could not be better added Syzdek: this is when hundreds of species of birds return to nest in the preserve or are migrating through to nest in the north.  At the same time  the demand for unique recreational experiences is at an all time high with the current health crisis.

“One in five New Yorkers has an interest in birds,” reports John Loz, of the local Audubon Society.  “It is obvious that this interest carries over to our recreational pursuits.”  He added that visitors as well as local residents enjoy this resource right in our own backyard. Anyone can access the birding trail just across the Whipple Bridge entrance to the Preserve.  The trail is about a mile long and passes open water, cattail marsh, river front and wooded upland habitats.

 The Mohawk Towpath Byway is a series of local, county and state highways that follow the historic route of the Erie Canal between Schenectady and Waterford/Cohoes in upstate New York. As one travels the Byway you unlock the story of the Mohawk River, Erie Canal, the waterway west and the part our communities played in the westward expansion of the country and the Industrial Revolution.  The Byway is one of a network of 150 America’s Byways.  The self-guided tour is available by scanning QR codes on the byway or on the birding trail or by keying in 518-649-9990.


Clifton Park, NY (November 16, 2019) – The Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway is a membership organization which is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and with the New York State Charities Registration Bureau. To increase the organization’s transparency it has also gained the prestigious platinum seal of approval…

This makes it easier for donors contribute with confidence and full knowledge of what the organization is all about and that their donation will be used in a responsible fashion.

“This announcement could not be better timed,” announced President Paul Olund. “Tuesday, December 3, 2019, is Giving Tuesday. What better way to start off the holiday season than with a gift to your favorite charity, one dedicated to improving our communities and preserving our natural, recreational, cultural, and scenic qualities.”

For more information click on the platinum seal above.


Press Release – Friends of The Byway

Clifton Park, NY (December 12, 2012) – A new chapter of the Byways history is unfolding.  The Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway is having organizational meetings at the historic Grooms Tavern in Rexford.  Interim officers were elected and bylaws have been adopted.  The new organization opens a number of possibilities that were not available previously including  advocacy, social, recreational, and fundraising opportunities.  Membership in the organization is now open and anyone joining between now and December 31, 2012, will be a charter member.

Congratulations to Bill Gutelius who was elected President; Paul Olund, Vice President; Sandy Rohner, Secretary; and Mary MacDonald, Treasurer.

You are invited to the next meeting of the Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway which will be held at 7:00 p. m., Monday, January 14 at the historic Grooms Tavern where Sugar Hill Road intersects Grooms Road east of Rexford.  Memberships, good through 2013, are $25 for individual, $40 for family, $100 sustaining, and $500 corporate.

The Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway is a membership organization of individuals with a common interest of maintaining and preserving the natural, cultural, agricultural, recreational and historic resources of, and serve as stewards of the Mohawk Towpath Byway. They will write grant proposals and undertake fund raising events for these purposes and advise in development and oversight of policies and procedures governing public and private partnerships and use of public resources, scheduling events, publicizing the Byway and communicating the Byway stories.

“This is an excellent opportunity for those who live along the byway corridor between Schenectady and Waterford/Cohoes to have a say in Byway matters and to assist in preserving the historic character of our communities,” says Larry Syzdek, a resident along the Byway.

“Membership in the organization will help sustain the many ongoing community projects and efforts to proudly exhibit the importance of the Byway.  One such example is the historical informational kiosks you find along the Byway in Halfmoon and in Clifton Park,” added Henrietta O’Grady a Halfmoon resident on the Byway.  “Another example is the mural displayed on the wall in the visitor center area of Proctors.”

“We at the Capital Region Maritime Center are pleased to be working with Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway and the Coalition to enhance access to and awareness of the Erie Canal and the vast contributions it has made to our country and this region,” noted Executive Director Deborah Rausch.  “The Mohawk River of today offers tremendous lessons from the past that are important to know in order to build a better tomorrow. We congratulate the Friends of the Towpath Byway, and wish them much success.”

Additional information on membership in the organization can be found on the website under “Membership”.


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