From the President
By David G. Barber
Canal wise, this has been a very
interesting summer. In July, I went on a tour of various Midwestern canal sites.
The trip began with a visit to
Delphi, IN and a
ride on the new replica boat,
then only in service for a couple of weeks. I also saw their new boathouse /
warehouse and the new, masonry guard gate structure. This is a great, volunteer
run canal park.
A couple of days
later, I toured the Illinois
and concluded the visit with a ride on the replica boat
This boat is less than a year old and is enjoying good patronage. At present,
can only go from Lock 14 at LaSalle to just short of the
Aqueduct, but there are plans to extend dredging
eastward. The boat can’t cross the aqueduct either because of the lack of
dredging or because the state wants a structural inspection of the ten year old
aqueduct. Maybe someone doesn’t know that a floating boat puts no additional
load on an aqueduct.
The following day, which was very wet,
I toured the
The Hennepin is watered throughout and retains all of its locks and many movable
bridges of interesting designs. Prior to my visit, I had heard little about the
bridges. Both the I & M and the Hennepin are
state parks and very impressive for their preservation and for the as yet
unrealized potential. The state doesn’t seem to realize the tourist draw that
these canals could be, especially if navigation were restored.
I then went
north, visiting the lock at
IL and the three
locks on the Yahara
This was followed by a tour of the Fox – Wisconsin Waterway in
of which I’ll write about in more detail separately. Included was a visit to the
intact Eureka Lock on the
Upper Fox River. This lock was operated
for a few decades by the Berlin Boat Club after the Upper Fox was closed by the
Corps of Engineers in the 1950’s. But, it has been out of service for four
years. There is hope that the gates will be replaced and the lock returned to
service in 2010. Restoration will reconnect Berlin,
to Lake Winnebago.
A visit to the
Lower Fox River
showed many boats moving through the currently available locks at each end of
the waterway and several of the other locks restored and ready for use. Their
reopening has been delayed by other projects to rebuild or replace bridges over
the waterway. Further lock rebuilding is affected by the availability of
funding. This is probably the most active waterway restoration in the
I then journeyed to southern Indiana
where my attempts to visit two locks were thwarted by inadequate research, a
confusing situation on the ground, and not having a GPS receiver. Lack of street
signs in rural areas didn’t help either. But, I did get to visit the new and old
McAlpine Locks at
The new lock was completed in 2009.
At the southern end of the Ohio and Erie Canal, I not only
visited Lock 50, which has been cleared by local enthusiasts, and got a distant
view of Lock 49 (which is in good condition on private property), but found a
brand new parking lot next to Lock 48. The parking lot was so new, the paint on
the spaces seemed barely dry. Clearance of the canal was also in evidence above
and below the chamber.
I then journeyed
north to Akron to
see the new floating towpath at
Lake, the improvements
underway at Lock 4 north, and the improved towpath trail at the Cascade Locks.
On the way home, I stopped at Lockport,
where planning is progressing to restore the northern set of five combined locks
Lastly, one of the biggest canal
improvements this year is the completion of the restoration of Nine Mile Creek
This structure is now rewatered and boats are travelling over it. Camillus is
another great, volunteer run canal park.