Cleared Farmer’s Bridge South Abutment – photo by Paul Olund
The Friends had a very successful and fun work detail on the Byway on Saturday, November 8. This was a great first step in the project to improve recreational access to the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve one of the key assets on the Mohawk Towpath Byway. Eight volunteers spent over two dozen hours clearing brush from the historic farmers bridge abutment just east of Clutes Dry Dock. This will make it easier for the design team to obtain access to the site to begin detailed design of a replacement bridge.
I was only able to help out for an hour and a half. But I was totally amazed at just how much work got done between 9am and 10:30 when I left. There was a huge pile of cut brush and limbs at the north side abutment and I think Paul, et al were just getting warmed-up!
I can’t wait to get back down there and see what it all looks like. Maybe we can plan another one in the spring.
- Bill Gutelius
Clearing for a car top boat launch into the Mohawk River. Stony Creek enters the Mohawk in the closest cove. Kayak and canoe access will be in the foreground. Photo by Paul Olund.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the Preserve another crew was clearing an access from the end of Ferry Drive for a car top boat launch into the Mohawk River. A crew of five volunteers devoted 11 hours to this portion of the project.
These two efforts made a significant contribution and an early start to a project to improve recreational access on the Mohawk Towpath Byway. The volunteer effort becomes a part of the local match for a Federal Highway Administration Byway Grant administered by the New York State Scenic Byways Program at NYSDOT.
The best way to see the Byway is at a slower pace. No matter what time of the year, you always see something that you would not normally see through the windshield.
One such opportunity occurred recently with the Bike the Byway event. This year it was a short casual ride focusing on the eastern end of the Byway. Seven riders led by Jerry Burr with John Scherer providing historic interpretation and Carol Burr providing culinary support made a memorable experience with beautiful weather conditions.
Bike the Byway crew at Cohoes Falls.
Key stops on the ride included the fight of locks, the harbor and Peebles Island in Waterford; historic Van Schaik Mansion and the Falls in Cohoes; and the Church Hill Historic District in Halfmoon.
I think Carol Burr’s recipe for oatmeal cookies should have it’s own page in the Mohawk Towpath Byway cookbook. She says they are easy. “Start with a mix, but add an extra cup of oatmeal, cranberries, and white chocolate chips.” I think her secret is a bit of cinnamon and cloves to make them so special for the Byway.
On Sunday, June 8, you are invited on a very casual bike ride along the Mohawk Towpath Byway and the Trails in the Vischer Ferry Preserve. Meet at the Vischer Ferry Fire House at 360 Riverview Road and make sure your bicycle is in top shape. This ride will include stops at several scenic and historic points of interest such as old Erie Canal features. Historian John Scherer will provide commentary. Rain at start cancels ride. For more information call Clifton Park Town Hall at 371-6667Check the online listing the day before the ride to see if there have been any changes or cancellations. Cell 518-225-1041 on the weekend.
“This ride is not only a fun and informative way to celebrate National Trails Day, but historically it has included some of the best home backed treats available on the Byway,” reports Eric Hamilton.
A Shenendehowa High School graphic arts class wrapped up their fascinating and exciting experience learning about the Erie Canal and the historic waterway west. They submitted their ideas for a new logo for the Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway today. The Friends have nearly two dozen fresh ideas to choose from that reflect diverse, yet passionate understanding of the Byway. – photographs by Sallie Way and Eric Hamilton.
We will all have a tough time picking out a new logo from all of the fantastic ideas. The suggestions by the Shenendehowa High School students can be viewed in an on-line slide show. The selection process will involve the whole Friends community. Stay tuned for more on this in the near future.
This weekend is an active one for all of us on the Mohawk Towpath Byway. There are many local festivals, local events and local businesses are putting their best face forward. Mother Nature is starting to put on her annual show as the seasons change.
We also have many visitors to the Byway as evidenced by the number of cell phone calls to our audio tour. The Friends tried something new as well. The Clifton Park kiosks have, over the last three years, developed a grimy coating that made it harder to see the detail in the presented images.Enter the Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway and the kiosk panels look brand new with a wash and wax job. Thanks goes to Maryanne Mackey, Sue Lasker, Barb Hamilton, Ann Gutleius, Bill and Will Gutelius, and Eric Hamilton. The results pictured above, speaks for itself. And any bigger mob we would have been getting in each others way?
The Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway are creating a vision and an action plan. Make sure you are a part of that vision. The next session is on September 26 at the Historic Grooms Tavern at 7 PM. Be there. The public is invited.
The Mohawk Towpath Byway will be officially rolling out the new audio tour service this coming weekend. It is a part of the Canal Splash! a celebration of hundreds of events along the Canal system. The roll out will be Saturday, August 10. Call 649-9990 to try it yourself.
On Sunday, August 11 we will be hosting a “Bike the Byway” starting at 1 PM at the Vischer Ferry Fire House at 360 Riverview Road, Rexford. Join us for a 28 mile ride that loops through the central portion of the Byway corridor and visits nine of the audio tour stops. If you don’t want to do the whole ride, join us for the first 5 or 6 miles and visit 4 or 5 stops.