With the Genesee River still volatile from last winter’s snowfall and this spring’s prolonged rains, the opening of the east side of the Erie Canal is not expected for at least two and a half weeks.
Although the target opening date is May 1, the actual opening for the canal system is based on weather conditions. Some years, it has come as early as April 1; other years, it’s been as late as June 5.
“We have had some record highs of water and some issues with flooding that is obviously out of our control, so we have to ensure safety first before anything else,” said Brian Stratton, the former Schenectady mayor who was appointed last month to run the State Canal Corp.
Last Sunday, the Canal Corp. opened the locks from Rochester west to Tonawanda, as planned, continuing a tradition that dates to 1825.
“We know how important the canal is to communities, especially since New York has done a great job developing the areas around the canal,” Stratton said. “It is a working marine highway for barges and just as splendid for recreation.”
Erie canal in Monroe County