Why isn't there skating on the Erie Canal?

January 03, 2018 06:27 PM

Eight straight days of 20 degrees or below. It made a lot of the things we need to do every day tougher. But it was perfect weather for outdoor skating. So News10NBC wondered, why isn't there more skating on the Erie Canal?

Every town and village on the canal gave us the same reasons why they can't organize skating on the canal. But there's no state law against it.
Every year Tyler Sullivan and his friends and family clear off a rink on the Erie Canal behind his grandparent's home.

Advertisement – Content Continues Below

Tyler Sullivan, Fairport: "Everyone always says hockey's greatest pastime is coming out here when the weather is cold, shoveling off as much snow as you can to get a big enough rink for all your friends when you're home to skate as much as you can."

So I contacted a handful of canal villages and towns. The mayors, town supervisors and managers all said they've considered canal skating but the cost of insurance, access to the ice when the canal is drained and unpredictable weather basically make it impossible.

But the City of Buffalo has canal skating and for two years, the Village of Fairport had a pond hockey tournament on the canal and the Fairport village manager says they're considering the idea for next year's winter.

Bryan White, Fairport Village Manager: "It's a pretty big project. I'm going to need a lot of volunteers to set this up. I think the biggest thing is that if the community really wants it people will come together to do that."

A notice on the canal in Fairport says "no climbing, swimming and diving." When I asked the New York State Canal Corporation if skating is illegal, it said in an email, "The Canal Corporation does not specifically prohibit skating on the Erie Canal, but there are no areas that are designated safe for skating. People skate on the Erie Canal at their own risk."

Tyler Sullivan, Fairport: "So I think towns with canal throughout them should expose the idea of having people skate on it or the village helping to clear the ice to help people have a more recreational activity out there."

Each town or village would have to build a staircase down to the ice. They're all concerned about liability, but the biggest problem is weather. The last time we had eight straight days of 20 degrees or colder was 1979.


Berkeley Brean

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Relay Media Amp

We no longer have Facebook comments on this site. Please visit our Facebook Page to join the conversation.