Members of the governor’s cabinet and executive staff will be among 500 cyclists traveling stretches of a 400-mile Erie Canal route starting this weekend.
Staffers on the eight-day trek, an event in its 14th year that begins in Buffalo Sunday, aren’t riding solely for exercise. They plan to announce upcoming economic development initiatives in communities along the way.
The tour, sponsored by the state Canal Corporation, concludes at the Corning Preserve in Albany July 15.
“The beauty, history and richness of the iconic Erie Canal make it a popular destination for residents and visitors alike and a vitally important economic development engine for canal communities in upstate New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release Friday.
“Team New York” will join participants from 35 states and international representatives from as far away as England. State agency heads who plan to ride include Joseph Martens, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation; Rose Harvey, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; Courtney Burke, Commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities; and Kenneth Adams, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, among others.
The Erie Canalway Trail is a multi-use trail, designed to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers. According to a 2011 report prepared by Parks & Trails New York, an estimated 1,733,504 people use the Erie Canalway Trail each year, contributing to the Canal System’s overall annual economic impact of nearly $380 million.