By Dave Warner

On Saturday, members of the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Little Falls Rotary Club participated in the 18th annual Canal Clean Sweep. Canal Clean Sweep is an annual clean-up event held across the NYS Canal system and Canalway Trails. More than 140 Canal Clean Sweep events were scheduled across the 400-mile-long Canalway Trail system and the 524-mile-long Canal system, providing opportunities for thousands of residents to give back to their local communities and to show pride in one of New York’s most iconic cultural and recreational resources.

Canal Clean Sweep coincided with New York’s annual Earth Day celebrations, representing one of several events held around the state to recognize the ongoing commitment to improving the health of our natural environment, in addition to being part of a nationwide celebration to encourage people to get outside and enjoy our exceptional trails and trail systems.

Holly Pelzer, with the Girl Scouts, stated, “We had almost 50 people today. We love the canal path cleanup because it keeps the kids off the roadways, and it’s good community service. We use the path a lot, and it teaches them to pick up.”

“This is one event they really seem to enjoy. It’s just so nice that we have the path through Little Falls that we can do it right here and not have to travel,” she said.

Over the last few years, the Canalway Trail system has seen unprecedented use, reflecting 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. Through the efforts of volunteers across the state during Canal Clean Sweep 2023, communities will ensure the Canalway Trail system will remain a pristine recreational resource for locals and visitors alike.

Canal Clean Sweep 2023 was organized by the non-profit Parks & Trails New York in partnership with the New York State Canal Corporation.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “We very much appreciate and cannot thank enough the hundreds of volunteers that are participating in our 18th annual Canal Clean Sweep this weekend. Together, New Yorkers demonstrated their steadfast commitment to helping the Empire State preserve one of its most iconic recreational assets – all while giving back to their local communities.”

“Keeping our Canal system and Canalway Trails clean and healthy is an essential part of ensuring that we will provide another amazing season for thousands of visitors to enjoy,” he stated.