NYS Canal System Hand-Launch Facility Design Guide Available
Jan. 20 2022

NYS Canal System Hand-Launch Facility Design Guide Available

In response to a dramatic increase in canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards on the NYS Canal System, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has published the New York State Canal System Hand-Launch Facility Design Guide. The free guide shares best practices for communities, businesses, and organizations looking to install or improve hand-launch facilities for paddlers. It is available for free download at www.eriecanalway.org/watertrail.

“We are excited to welcome an increasing number of paddlers on the canals, but some amenities designed for motorized vessels don’t work well for paddlecraft, which sit lower on the water,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “This guide will streamline the planning process for businesses and municipalities and help to ensure that new docks and points of access accommodate paddlers.”

The guide specifically addresses the uniqueness of the NYS Canal System, accounting for its structures, bank and channel features, and hydrological characteristics. The guide includes diagrams and photos, permitting information, reference materials, checklists and more for a potential launch project. A range of options is presented, from minimum standards to universal design.

NYS Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “These new guidelines for hand-launch facilities will expand the use and accessibility of New York’s Canals by providing comprehensive design best practices for communities and organizations along the Canal System. I am confident this modernization effort will attract a greater number of recreational users, paddlers, and outdoor enthusiasts to the waterway, further cementing the Erie Canal and its adjoining canals as 21st century hubs of recreation.”

The new guide builds on efforts undertaken by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the NYS Canal Corporation to attract a greater diversity of recreational users to the canals. The NYS Canalway Water Trail Guidebook, published by Erie Canalway in 2019, the NYS Canal Corporation’s On the Canals program, along with a variety of paddling events have introduced a growing number of paddlers to the waterway.

Financial support for the Guide was provided by the National Park Service, New York State Canal Corporation, Montgomery County, and the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

Nearly 200 years after its construction, the Erie Canal remains an iconic symbol of American ingenuity and determination. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor preserves our extraordinary canal heritage, promotes the Corridor as a world-class tourism destination, and fosters vibrant communities connected by more than 500 miles of waterway. It achieves its mission in partnership with the National Park Service, New York State agencies, non-profit organizations, local residents, and more than 200 communities across the full expanse of upstate New York.