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Reply to We are starting from Buffalo on April 30th

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Reply to We are starting from Buffalo on April 30th
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Brambor from Windham, Maine on 3/31/2021 12:42:17 PM:
Hello, we plan to start our ride from Buffalo at the end of April. I am assuming there is not going to be any snow on the ground (correct me if I am wrong) but there is a chance of minor flooding along the way depending on the level of rain in the past few days. I have seen mentioned on this forum that the locks are closed until June. I am assuming we will still be able to cross the canal where necessary...what does it mean to a cyclist that the locks are closed? Will we still be able to camp at some of the locks as it has been done in the past? Thanks.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 3/31/2021 4:26:01 PM:
Brambor, I think the locks being closed may have to do with boat traffic? Not sure why they would be closed all the way till June though, it’s pretty warm by then. Lots of people do camp at the locks, I would seek out the lock tenders and ask where you should go or if you can’t find anyone just pick a spot at the locks and do it. Look though this forum for a few of the threads on that very topic. I still don’t understand why PTNY doesn’t do a better job of getting the message out about camping locations for cyclists crossing the state. These should be signage saying so and all of their web pages and maps should state where you can camp, even if it is “primitive”. It shouldn’t be this hard to plan out camping spots. As for weather, I think you’re pretty safe by late April. I always bring some layers in case it gets chilly though. I wouldn’t worry about flooding but if it’s rained the trail will be soupy and have puddles. Most of it is crushed limestone/gravel. Just assume you will get a little muddy. It actually makes for a fun adventure!

 
Yankee John from Vermont/Rexford on 3/31/2021 8:14:59 PM:
Brambor: The locks being closed will not affect your trip, other than missing the passage of boat traffic along the canal next to you and watching the boats locking through. Only a few locks allow passage along the closed lock gates from the north to south side, so you'll be crossing the canal on roadway bridges if you choose to do so. The locks have traditionally opened a few days before Memorial Day, with some sections of locks that are being repaired opening later. The weather and trail conditions are unpredictable during April, with gorgeous spring days mixed with cool rainy ones. Flooding is not a concern unless there is a major storm when you wouldn't be riding anyway. Much of the western part of the trail is well packed stone dust. When it is wet it can be a little squirrely with road tires and sprays you and your packs with some fine grit. Have a great trip!

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 3/31/2021 11:26:47 PM:
The locks are planned to open mid-May for 2021. Snow in April in Bflo, Roch or Syr is not uncommon, however, it is typically a light covering and not something that lasts far into the day. BUT... it's Buffalo. LOL Late April should not be an issue. You've camped before on the Canalway so know what's out there. The locks not being open really has little affect on camping and, frankly, make it even more simple. There's noone to tell you what or where! The difference along the entire Canalway will be that any areas where you may have found facilities prior, will not be open (Ft.Plain for instance). I get what John W says above, but I believe that the reason nothing is published is because the NYS Canalway Corp is who runs the show. PTNY is more of a support group for the canal. So, it's the Canal Corp who has not officially designated or maintained specific camping locations along the trail. It just leaves a void. But, at the same time, it offers up the opportunity to wing it and figure out places that work. [Note for others who may read this... the trail is not always right next to the Canal and quite often is a distance apart from it.] It's a fun adventure. Post a trip report after the ride so we know how it goes.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 4/1/2021 5:26:06 AM:
Interesting information WNYBubba....I wasn’t aware of the difference between the NYS Canalway Corp and PTNY. I always thought that Canalway Corp dealt with the canal (water part), locks, boats, etc and PTNY dealt with the actual riding/walking path/recreation stuff. Perhaps we’ve been sending emails to the wrong place asking for things on the trail! : ) John

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 4/7/2021 8:42:36 PM:
John W: I'm pretty sure I have this right! Last year as I was attempting to secure information about Lock camping, etc. I spoke with an individual at the Canal Corp who gave me some great information. Part of that was that the person (female name that I can't recall) whose job was coordinating the pathway and camping information. A few calls lead me to think that the Canalway Corp. is a heads-up organization and very open and easy to deal with.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 4/7/2021 11:01:39 PM:
WNYBubba, We’ll have to try and find her name so we know who to contact to get inside info on all things the Erie Canal! :-). That makes me feel good knowing that Canal Corp is trying to organize things, especially camping matters. I truly hope they add more from start to finish, the would be a welcome addition.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 4/8/2021 12:49:22 AM:
John W: I'm pretty sure I have this right! Last year as I was attempting to secure information about Lock camping, etc. I spoke with an individual at the Canal Corp who gave me some great information. Part of that was that the person (female name that I can't recall) whose job was coordinating the pathway and camping information. A few calls lead me to think that the Canalway Corp. is a heads-up organization and very open and easy to deal with.