Register Now


Finishers!– photo by Kristen Hislop

The 15th Annual Mohawk Towpath Byway Duathlon is coming up on October 15.  Entry fees will increase between now and race day so register now.  This fun race includes a 2 mile run (or walk), a 17 mile biking leg, and a 2 mile run to the finish all from Riverview Orchards in Rexford.  All against a backdrop of beautiful fall foliage on one of our unique America’s Byways®.

If you have already registered you must know about the clinic coming up on Sunday, Sept 24 from 2 to 5 PM at the historic Grooms Tavern.  For more information contact “hislop coaching @ gmail(dot)com.”

Volunteer!  If you would rather not do the “du” you can enjoy the fun and share the goodies by volunteering.  Contact the race director for more details or just show up at the next volunteer meeting on Tuesday, October 10, at 7 PM at historic Grooms Tavern.  Your help would be greatly appreciated

Duathlon Planning

The important facet of Duathlon planning at this time is our sponsors. Our sponsors make the Duathlon a worthwhile effort for the Friends of the Byway and for the Byway Coalition as well. Sponsors so far are:

  • The Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor – returning Gold sponsor…ECNHCCPartner
  • Stewart’s Shops – long time Silver sponsor…StewartsShops
  • Price Chopper/Golub Foundation – returning Bronze sponsor and
  • Halfmoon Family Dental – long time Bronze sponsor

We hope the following sponsors will join in as they have promised:

  • Capital Region Landfils
  • The Hamiltons of Acworth, GA and
  • his employer G E
  • Shenendehowa Rotary
  • Hammer Nutrition

Still working on the possibility of:

  • Brookfield Renewable Power, a long time sponsor
  • and several new possibilities including a local craft brewer, a credit union, a bank, a cycling supplier, a neighborhood general store, and other partners.

If you know of someone who would like to join our prestigious team of sponsors, enjoy the recognition, and share our pride in a job well done please let us know and we will contact them.

The next meeting of the organizing committee is on Tuesday evening, August 15 at the historic Grooms Tavern.  It doesn’t seem possible that the Duathlon is just two months away!  You are welcome to join us.

Canal Fest

MabieCanalFest3Thanks 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. Thanks also to Nancy Papish for these photographs and to her and Maryanne Mackey for help with the booth and visiting with “our public.”MabieCanalFest1

Ready for Summer

Friends of the Byway clean up ready for the summer season.

Friends of the Byway clean up ready for the summer season.

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!

Turtle Talk

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.

SaveTurtlesOn 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

When you see this sign…

experimntlsign7While 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!

Newly Arrived


Here’s a “reach stick” in action.  Only 32 inches long they are ideal for litter pickup, better by far than using your back.  …footwear not included.

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.

Family Moonlight Ski


Sharing marshmallows and hot cider and cocoa after skiing the canal towpaths – photo by Charlie Huff

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.


Bill Koch Youth Ski League skier is king of the mountain – photo by Uwe Wiedmann

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.

High Marks

cropped-NYmohawk-SquireWhippleBridge_m11.jpgDuring 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!