The Capital Region Maritime Center, Inc. (CRMC) and the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition (MTSB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formalizes and documents mutual benefits and interests between the two organizations in working together to improve public awareness of the opportunities connected to the Erie Canal/Mohawk River, and create a joint tourism project that is already attracting tourists to the Capital Region from outside the area.
The MOU expresses the organizations’ desires to provide an authentic and experiential educational program on the waterway west and the Erie Canal history and heritage. This includes, but is not limited to providing opportunities for members and the general public to study the history of the Erie Canal and its impact and value in the Capital Region and beyond. The organizations will be exploring the historic use of the lands along the Mohawk River on and near the CRMC offices to formally document the Canal’s and towpath’s location, usage and impact.
CRMC and MTSB have created the Erie Canalway Experience, a one- or two-day travel experience to learn about and experience the Erie Canal from land and by water that includes the history of the Erie Canal, local lore, traveling through a lock, hiking on towpath trails and views of spectacular Canal landmarks such as the Cohoes Falls. The two groups intend to develop additional experiential tourism opportunities connected to the Erie Canal/Mohawk River including the Mohawk Towpath National Byway based at the CRMC facility and facilitated by Coalition talent.
“I am very pleased to sign this MOU with the Capital Region Maritime Center,” said Lawrence Syzdek, MTSB Chairman of the Board. “Through this agreement we have demonstrated our firm commitment to work together to build awareness of the Byway and Canal by creating educational and tourism programs the public will enjoy. The Coalition and Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway look forward to a long and successful relationship with the Maritime Center in support of our collective missions.”
“We are excited about working with the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition,” said CRMC’s Board President Chet Watson. “The Maritime Center is newly focused on creating programs to serve the community while it continues its commitment to educate our area’s youth. What better way to accomplish our goals than to create programs that will attract attention to the natural resource so many of us living in the Capital Region take for granted, namely the Mohawk River/Erie Canal.”
The two organizations intend to seek funding, including grants, as well as corporate and private donations to support the creation of these programs which will be offered to youth, seniors, schools, businesses and the general public.
“Our vision to create programs that will attract visitors to the Canal and River from within and outside the Capital Region exemplifies our commitment to educating people about the historic role the Capital Region has played in the United States history and its connection to the Tech Valley for which it is known today,” said Deborah Sturm Rausch, CRMC’s Executive Director. “We intend to make that history come alive and preserve it for generations to come. I can’t think of a better partner to achieve our goals than the Byway Coalition, which has already achieved a national reputation for excellence for its work.”
“As one travels the Byway you unlock the story of the Mohawk River, Erie Canal, the waterway west and the part our communities played in the westward expansion of the country and the Industrial Revolution,” said Eric Hamilton, MTSB’s Director. “The Maritime Center is located right on the banks of this historic waterway and is the only nonprofit maritime center in the area, so it is a perfect partner to advance our mission. Our organizations have agreed to explore, develop and implement further joint programming and grant submissions to facilitate and support our work. We look forward to working together.”
The MTSB provides a map to locate attractions and services along the Byway route. Further information about the Byway Coalition may be found at www.mohawktowpath.org. CRMC is the home of the Saratoga Academy for Leadership and Maritime Programs at the Capital Region Maritime Center, a private middle school offering unique experiential education for Capital Region students in the 5-8 grades. Information about the Maritime Center can be found at www.themaritimecenter.org.