Reimagine the Canals Initiative

Reimagine the Canals Initiative

Reimagine the Canals

In May 2019, a sweeping initiative was announced to examine how the Erie Canal system could be reimagined for the 21st century.

The initiative had five objectives:

  • Identify potential new uses for the Erie Canal aimed at improving the quality of life for New Yorkers;

  • Evaluate how the Erie Canal can support and enhance economic development along the canal corridor;

  • Find new opportunities to enhance recreation and tourism along the Erie Canal;

  • Assess how the Erie Canal can help mitigate impacts from flooding and ice jams to improve resiliency and restore ecosystems in canal communities; and

  • Identify opportunities for using Erie Canal infrastructure to expand irrigation for Western New York farms.

The Reimagine initiative builds on successful efforts by New York State to invest in the Canal corridor, including the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and Taste NY, which have stoked the growth of new industries, businesses and housing in Canal communities.

Building on Success

Plan to Reimagine the Erie Canal System

A blue-ribbon task force was appointed to build on the success of the Reimagine the Canals Competition, which sought out innovative ideas that capitalize on the Canal’s strengths. More information on the task force's findings can be found below.

Project Renderings

Erie Canal Map

An Essential Part of our Past, Present, and Future
A map of the canal system, showing the canal starting in Buffalo marked in blue, Oswego in Orange, toward Schenectady in light blue, and North to Lake Champlain in green

About the Reimagine the Canals

A Catalyst for Economic Development and Environmental Resiliency

Public Meetings

Public meetings were held across the state to get community input. Learn more about these important discussions that will help shape the future of the Erie Canal.