Canal Corp. cuts back

Lost in the deluge of dismal news over the past couple weeks is the sudden announcement that not only is the Canal Corp. reinstating tolls on the Erie Canal system, but daily operating hours are being rather savagely curtailed. I suppose it was inevitable with the economic downturn, but I think more people are upset about the cut in hours rather than the reinstatement of tolls. I think businesses along the canal would have been fine with an increase in tolls, if it meant that boaters could start off at 7 a.m. Operating hours are now changed to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. — that is just crazy. If you’re going out for a day on the canal, especially if you’re trying to travel through the system, you’ve got to start early in the morning — 9 a.m. is too late. (See discussions at

No, it’s not a huge matter in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still disheartening (and one wonders how long Carmella Mantello – a Pataki appointee – is going to stay on). It also makes you wonder if the system is even going to make it to its 200th birthday.

Although, life on the canal goes on. Howard Ohlhous, a guy who knows everything there is to know about the Eastern Section, has now starting shooting videos: here’s one of lock gates being transported for the spring, being escorted by a large entourage of police and safety vehicles. Kind of cool.