Spring - Summer '06
A letter from the PresidentBy David G. Barber
This September 12th through 14th, the World Canals Conference was held in Bethlehem, PA. Since many of our directors and members attend the WCC, we held our annual directors' meeting just before the conference on the morning of September 11th.
For those who have not attended a World Canals Conference, I would like to note that it is the annual meeting of folks who are the career operators of canal parks and those enthusiasts who are actively involved in the canal preservation and restoration effort world wide. In odd numbered years, the conference is in Europe. In even years, it is in North America.
Attending these conferences introduces one to many interesting people involved in canals throughout the world and allows one to network with them. Several interesting news items at this year’s conference were as follows:
The folks from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal were celebrating the launching on the weekend before of the “Charles F. Mercer”, a replica boat at Great Falls, MD. This new steel hulled boat of traditional lines replaces the veteran “Canal Clipper”, which has been unserviceable for a couple years. All of the funds for this boat were procured from private and local government sources. They also are working to rebuild the Catoctin Aqueduct that collapsed many years ago in the Hurricane Agnes floods. The recently restored Monacacy Aqueduct was reported to be capable of holding water, although rewatering is not in the current plans..
Tours at the conference showed the serious damage from three recent fifty year floods along the Delaware Canal. But we also heard the plans and commitment to rebuild. On one tour of the conference, we visited Morris Canal Plane 9 West and saw what the decades of work by one man, Jim Lee, and his family can do to restore and document an historical canal engineering site.
Other talks included discussions of progress and plans at Delphi, IN and Camillus, NY. Both volunteer run and staffed efforts. The added spice of the conference was the inclusion of a group of sixth graders from a charter school in Rochester, NY, who are actively and effectively working to remove a street and restore a section of the enlarged Erie Canal to public navigation including the historic aqueduct over the Genesee River
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