Fall '12

From the President

By David G. Barber

One of the sections of the internet that is most interesting is Youtube. The movies, that is. Some of the commentary in the background is less that worthless and needs to be ignored. But, if you want to visit canal sites that are a long drive away, it’s very useful.

In northern Florida, you can lock through Buckman lock at the east end of the abandoned Cross Florida Barge Canal or view a 2009 video by Bergman Associates of the proposed construction of a small lock at Inglis at the canal’s west end. If you search carefully, there is also a boat navigating up to the downstream gates of Eureka Lock, although the lock is not identified. Another video takes you on the dry roadway under the Ocklawaha River Bridge at Eureka, which was to span the canal just upstream of the Eureka Lock. That video begins showing (but not identifying) the wooden guide walls under the bridge that were to direct tows into the lock. Views into the lock are obscured by trees. Another video, by Ranger boats, begins at this bridge and goes downstream on the Ocklawaha River to Rodman Lake through many curves at 65 miles per hour. I’m not sure that those who fought the canal had high speed boats in mind. A little upstream of Eureka, you can lock through the Moss Bluff Lock in either kayaks or personal water craft.

In northern Michigan, there are videos locking through the locks at Cheboygan and Alanson as well as the Alanson swing bridge. In Madison, WI, you can lock through the Tenney Lock. In Maine, videos show the operation of the Songo River Lock as well as the swing bridges on either side. Videos also show the Charles River and Mystic River Locks in Boston, MA. In New York, there are videos of the lower of the Saranac River locks, but I haven’t found one of the upper lock.

Of course, the longer waterways such as the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Welland Canal, various locks on the upper Mississippi River have videos. I have also found videos of the Chicago Harbor Lock and of the Thomas J. O'Brien Lock on the Calumet River. There are videos of the Rideau Waterway and the Trent Severn Waterway and especially of the Kirkfield and Peterborough Lift Locks and the Big Chute Marine Railway.

Furthermore, you can also go overseas and cruise on various parts of the English canal system. For those interested in New Jersey’s Morris Canal, there are videos of the inclined planes of Poland’s Elblag Canal, which was modeled after the Morris.

If you are interested in a little disaster, there are several versions of a video showing the bridge and upper works of the ship, Windoc on the Welland Canal striking the vertical lift Bridge #11 at Allanburg on 11 Aug 2001 when the bridge was lowered while the ship was passing below. The ship catches fire after the collision. Apparently, no one was injured. If the bridge had started down just a few moments earlier, the results might have been much worse, especially for the bridge operator.

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