For Immediate Release: 09/24/18
Steven Gosset | Steven.Gosset@nypa.gov
Media Relations | (914) 390-8192
BICYCLISTS BRING BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE, EVENTS TO HELP CAPITAL REGION ATTRACT CYCLISTS TO CANAL NETWORK
ALBANY--Two events that aim to help Canalway Trail communities take advantage of the growing bicycle tourist market will be held in Waterford and Cohoes, at the juncture of the historic Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.
On Monday, September 24, the New York State Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) present "Bicyclists Bring Business: Canalway Trail Tourism for Your Downtown!" Thepresentation, which begins at 5:30 PM at the Waterford Harbor Visitors Center, 1 Tugboat Alley, will focus on the demographics and needs of the bicycle tourist, as well as offering tips for making communities and businesses in the Waterford/Cohoes area and the larger Capital Region more bike-friendly and attractive to outdoor recreationists.
Representatives from the Canal Corporation, PTNY and the Champlain Canalway Trail Working Group will provide updates on the Capital Region’s growing cycling network, opportunities presented by the creation of the Empire State Trail, and strategies for realizing the full economic potential of trail tourism. There will also be time for networking and light refreshments, as well as time for general discussion and brainstorming.
Local business owners, elected officials, chambers of commerce, tourism promotion agencies, and interested citizens are invited to attend. Attendees will receive a copy of the handbook, Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicyclists to New York’s Canal Communities, which was produced by the Canal Corporation and PTNY.
As a follow up to the roundtable, PTNY will host a community Bike-a-Round on Tuesday, September 25. Participants will bring their bikes and meet at 9 AM in the parking lot of the Peebles Island State Park Visitor’s Center. They’ll take a relaxed ride through Cohoes and Waterford and on stretches of the Erie Canalway and Champlain Canalway Trails, experiencing it all from the perspective of a cycling tourist. Afterward, they’ll discuss their observations and suggestions over lunch at Peebles Island State Park, catered by LePage’s Market in Cohoes. All bicyclists must wear a helmet.
2018 Bicyclists Bring Business events are presented by the Canal Corporation, Parks & Trails New York and sponsored by the Town of Waterford, Village of Waterford, City of Cohoes, Empire State Trail, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Capital District Transportation Committee, Bike Barn Cycling and Fitness, Albany Bicycle Coalition, and Upstate Kayak Rentals.
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "The number of visitors on the Canalway Trail who come here to ride and explore our historic Canal System continues to grow. We have made closing the gaps in the trail a top priority. The Canalway Trail will be a key piece of Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail, which will become that nation’s largest state multi-use trail network. It will attract more riders, help fuel local economies and enable cyclists to explore the many towns and villages eager to show off their rich canal heritage.”
Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York, said, “Cohoes and Waterford have always been a crossroads for New York. Located at the intersection between the Erie Canalway Trail and the Champlain Canalway Trail, amenities in this area are an important asset to cyclists around the state. As the completion of the Empire State Trail ushers in a new golden age of cycling in New York, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the impact that cyclists have on local economies and develop strategies that local communities can use to attract more cycling visitors.”
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “Expanding opportunities for cyclists and boosting tourism are both laudable goals and I thank the Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails New York for hosting these events. I look forward to the attendees learning about all that our area has to offer and the support and resources that our Capital Region offers to bicyclists.”
The statewide Canalway Trail System attracts cyclists from near and far, and communities along the trail are becoming increasingly aware of the economic opportunities that these visitors provide. According to a 2014 study, the Erie Canalway Trail, the backbone of the statewide network, experiences more than 1.58 million visits per year.
Spending by ECT visitors annually generates $253 million in economic impact and $28.5 million in sales and income taxes and supports 3,440 jobs. Trail visits and cycling tourism generally received a significant boost in 2017 with the announcement of $200 million in funding to complete the Erie Canalway Trail, and to connect it to New York City and the Canadian border through construction of the Empire State Trail. The new trail system will be the nation’s largest.
To learn more about the New York State Canal and Canalway Trail System or to obtain a free map, please call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit the Canal Corporation’s website at www.nyscanals.gov.
Parks & Trails New York is the state’s leading advocate for parks and trails. Since 1998, PTNY has been working in partnership with the New York State Canal Corporation to help canal communities plan, develop and promote the Canalway Trail. Learn more at www.ptny.org.
About the New York State Canal Corporation
New York’s canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2018, New York is celebrating the bicentennial of the start of the Erie Canal’s construction.
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