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New York's largest Earth Day celebration kicks off Friday

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Thu, Apr 22nd 2021 04:45 pm

More than 100 Canal Clean Sweep events scheduled across New York

Volunteer groups across New York are making final preparations for the annual Canal Clean Sweep, the spring cleaning of the NYS Canal System and Canalway Trail, with most events scheduled for the upcoming weekend, April 23-25. More than 100 Clean Sweep events have been scheduled across the 524-mile-long Canal System, providing opportunities for residents to give back to their local communities and to show pride in a unique cultural and recreational resource.

Canal Clean Sweep celebrates Earth Day, and volunteer efforts will help to prepare the Canal System for the 2021 navigation season, scheduled to begin May 21.

A press release stated, “The Canalway Trail System saw increased use in 2020, with nearly 3.9 million visits to the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail, a more than 30% increase over 2019. These figures reflect significant investments made as part of the completion of the Empire State Trail, and increased interest and participation in outdoor recreational activities due to COVID-19.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, each Canal Clean Sweep event is limited to 10 participants this year. Clean-up organizers are responsible for ensuring all volunteers wear a mask for the duration of the event, maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet, and encourage use of hand sanitizer. Volunteers who have any signs of illness or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 within the previous two weeks should not participate.

Canal Clean Sweep is organized by the nonprofit Parks & Trails New York in partnership with the New York State Canal Corp. To learn more, visit www.ptny.org/events/canal-clean-sweep.

“The annual Canal Clean Sweep is an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day and ensures our state’s iconic Canal System remains environmentally healthy for future generations,” said Brian U. Stratton, director of the Canal Corp. “In 2020 alone, the Erie Canalway Trail saw nearly 3.9 million visitors and, because of the dedicated New Yorkers who participate in this event, millions more will be able to continue to appreciate the canal’s scenic and historic sites in 2021 and for years to come.”

“Canal Clean Sweep is a great opportunity for thousands of volunteers across the state to give back and enjoy a safe, outdoor activity,” said Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks & Trails New York. “Even in a pandemic, Canal communities are eager to offer their support and participation, proving how much the Canal and Canalway Trail mean to them.”

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