Sunday, March 22, 2020

5 Ways to Spend Your Time at Schoharie Crossing

Maybe you’ve been here before, maybe you haven’t made it yet, or perhaps, you’ve never even heard of Schoharie Crossing?  Whatever the case may be, we’d like to offer up…

5 Ways to Spend Your Time at Schoharie Crossing

1. Exploring the History
Image by Bruce Harvey on behalf of the Preservation League of NYS
   There is so much history to explore at Schoharie Crossing! From the remains of the Erie Canal Aqueduct, to the footprint of the colonial Fort Hunter Blockhouse, and just the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys! The site interprets the Erie Canal from concept to construction, enlargement, improvement, then canalizing the Mohawk River and even the present-day usage.  There is also interpretation on the British Colonial Fort first constructed in 1712 and the Mohawk village that was here too!
   The trails at the site have signage to tell you more of the history and there is a great exhibit in the Visitor Center called, “Pathway to Empire: How the Erie Canal Helped Build America.” Group tours are available by reservation as well. 
Want to know how to get to Schoharie Crossing? Visit this link! Schoharie Crossing Directions

2. Fishing! Paddling!
   Whether it is from along the banks of the Schoharie Creek or the Mohawk River, or maybe from a canoe, kayak or small motor watercraft, fishing from Schoharie Crossing is fun and easy! The west end of the site contains the Aqueduct Boat Launch area just off NYS-Rt 5s (Access across from Karen’s Ice Cream!) The launch has plenty of parting… also grill stations, picnic tables and a small playground.  The concrete ramp and floating dock make the transition off or on the trailer a breeze.  
Launching a kayak or canoe is easy too! Either from the ramp, along the banks of the creek or perhaps another part of the site – like the east end at the Yankee Hill Lock access point. There is a floating dock and you can paddle out into the Erie Canal of today, the Mohawk River.   Explore Lock E12 -Tribes hill and Pepper & Upper Pepper Islands just to the west, or head east past Robb Island toward Lock E11 in Amsterdam.
   If Paddling isn’t your thing, parking at Yankee Hill, the Aqueduct Boat Launch, and even right by the Visitor Center is easily accessible for cyclists wanting to ride the Erie Canalway Trail / Empire State Trail.

3. Picnic Memories with Friends & Family

   There are two great scenic spots on site that also have picnic tables and grilling stations, why not come visit with friends and family for a picnic!? Create memories that will last a lifetime as you recreate or just enjoy the views of natural and manmade beauty!  Take a stroll along the creek or river banks and share the splendor with loved ones.

4. Tuning Into Nature – Walking the Trails
The site offers several nature programs each year, but you don’t have to be a naturalist, bird, plant or wildlife expert to enjoy being outside! Come take a walk, paddle, or bike ride along the site and get tuned into the natural world around you.  Schoharie Crossing features over 3 miles of trails along old towpath routes from the Erie Canal, and the Friends of Schoharie Crossing have adopted a trail along the Mohawk River that connects Yankee Hill Lock to the Southside of Amsterdam – passing Lock E11 and onward to the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge. 
     Dozens of bird species, hundreds of varieties of plants and trees, as well as other small animals are all right here to be witnessed.  Studies have proven that time outdoors is good for the mind and the body! Get Your NatureRx Fix Right Here at Schoharie Crossing! Click here for a map of the site: Schoharie Crossing Map

Natures beauty in the Mohawk Valley will be evident as you travel across the site or along the river.  Dozens of bird species, hundreds of varieties of plants and trees, as well as other small animals are all right here to be witnessed.  Studies have proven that time outdoors is good for the mind and the body! Get Your NatureRx Fix Right Here at Schoharie Crossing! Click here for a map of the site: Schoharie Crossing Map

5. Events, Programs, Special Activities – site or your organization
   Schoharie Crossing also offered dozens of programs on site during the Visitor Season – from the end of April until the beginning of November.  There is a lot to do at the site, with sponsored events and programs ranging from storytelling for all ages (Not Just for Kids Storytelling series), live music jams (Putman Porch Music), guided nature walks, tours of the historic features, lecturers on various topics from history to nature to social interest stories, and so much more!  The site partners with several organizations to bring programs to the site or locally – with such series as the 15 Miles on the Erie Canal Paddle tours in Montgomery County, and outreach programs to schools, libraries, and other cultural institutions.  Find out more and to see a calendar of events, visit the NYS Parks website or like Schoharie Crossing on Facebook (Link Here!).
   On site there are so many programs, opportunities to volunteer, and ways that you can help create bonds, memories, and a lasting impact for the future.  Groups, organizations, and families can also apply for special use permits for such things as fishing tournaments, re-unions, activities and more! To contact the site, visit the website: HERE

We hope you visit Schoharie Crossing and tell us what your favorite thing to do on site is! Leave comments below and let us know!


Sunday, February 16, 2020

5 Things You Might Not Have Known About Schoharie Crossing

So you’re a fan of history, of the Mohawk Valley, maybe you’re a canawler at heart… but we present to you…

5 Things You Might Not Have Known About Schoharie Crossing

    1.  Schoharie Crossing has been a New York State Historic Site since 1966.  We’ll cover a bit more in #4 but hey, just think this site is more than 50 years old! Gov. Nelson Rockafeller was enthusiastic about establishing gems of historic preservation during the mid to late 1960’s in NY – even amidst the gut-wrenching noise of urban renewal. Preservation work began along the site and through the 1970’s and 80’s volunteers assisted visitors and continued to advocate for the site.  During this time, the buildings and canal features were evaluated, conditions planned for, funding grappled, and by the late 80’s and into the 1990’s, rehab work was ongoing.  The Visitor Center opened in 1987 and a small staff was set up to provide interpretation, research, grounds maintenance and services to those coming from all over to learn about the Erie Canal.
2016 Aerial showing some of Schoharie Crossing
2.  It may be bigger than you think.  The site is stretched out over 3 miles and includes grounds on both sides of the Schoharie Creek.  That means the site is within two towns (Town of Glen, Town of Florida) AND the Hamlet of Fort Hunter.  That’s all within Montgomery County – and all the more reason to emphasize that Schoharie Crossing is not in Schoharie, nor Schoharie County, but is were the Erie Canal CROSSED the Schoharie Creek near its confluence with the Mohawk River. On the west end of the site is the Aqueduct Boat Launch (access off NYS Rt-5S) and picnic area. Complete with picnic tables, grilling stations, a small playground, as well as concrete ramp and dock for launching small motorizes or unmotorized craft.  Used by many to enjoy the waters of the Schoharie Creek and Mohawk River, this end of the site also provides a GREAT view of the Aqueduct remains.  
     The east end of the site contains the Putman Canal Store at Yankee Hill Lock off Queen Ann Road.  This location has grill stations, an exhibit on canal stories, a set of locks from the enlarged era Erie Canal and access points to the Towpath Trail, the Eagle Trail, the Empire State Trail, and a floating dock on the Mohawk River.  In the center of the site is Empire Lock and Lock 20 from the original 1820’s canal.  Near the Schoharie Creek is the Visitor Center.  You can find a map and more information by visiting the Schoharie Crossing NYS Parks Webpage: HERE


    3. There’s a GREAT Exhibit in the Visitor Center.  Many visitors explore the site and may not realize there is an exhibit and Visitor Center.  Part of being spread out over three miles and having such ease to access the trails, picnic areas, and boat launch is also potentially missing the chance to welcome people to the site and give them information about its history, the environment, or even the programs and recreational activities available. Be sure to check this out on your visit.  Info can be found on the official Schoharie Crossing Facebook Page by clicking: HERE

      4.  It all started out in the grass.  Grassroot campaigns by the Fort Hunter Canal Society brought about greater advocacy to preserve the wonderful Erie Canal features and create a park to showcase them.  They established themselves and offered tours as well as hundreds of hours of their own time in planning, research, and petitioning for National Register status.  Partnering, networking, and old-fashioned neighborly handshakes meant that NYS would on-board property and create an historic site to preserve the history for future generations.  

    Give a listen to the Daily Traveler with Enoch Squire, For Friday, September 6th, 1957 radio clip hosted on at the bottom of this article…it’s worth the listen!

    5. Networking… The site is connected via trails and roads to so much in the Mohawk Valley and surrounding region.  Easy access from NYS Route 5 or NYS Route 5S, not to mention how close the site is to both Amsterdam Exit 27 and Fultonville Exit 28 off the NYS Thruway. Route 67 from Saratoga is a splendid drive… or coming up NYS Rt 30 along the Schoharie Valley is a scenic experience.  The site is a quick hop from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the shops of Sharon Springs with a nice historic drive traveling east on Rt. 20 to Rt. 30A. From the North, a quick shot down Rt. 30 from the Great Sacandaga Lake and its valley or further north and onward into the Adirondacks.  And really, the site is well connected from the east for Schenectady or Albany.  Schoharie Crossing is centrally located and easy to fit into any cross-state trip or local day of exploration. 

We hope you’ve found these 5 Things You Might Not Have Known About Schoharie Crossing interesting.  Come visit the site, experience the natural and man-made beauty within it and leave with memories that will last a lifetime!