Something about this article by Christopher Maag made me smile. I had no idea that the Erie Canal was still in use. I love that our old system of canals is being used again. Well, not the system, most of them are no longer navigable, but apparently, the Erie Canal still is, and it is regaining popularity in these days of high fuel prices. Once a route that made New York City the major port it is today, it was replaced by railroads which were later largely replaced by trucking years later. Now the canal seems like it’s ready to make a major comeback:
The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by canal barge, Ms. Mantello* said. A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.
I don’t know why this is so appealing to me. Maybe it’s my awe at the manpower, engineering and hyper-ambitious vision that made the canals possible back in 1825. Maybe it was working on a site in Valley Forge that had only remnants and hints of the canal, towpath and lovely crumbling old walls left. Maybe I’ve always wanted to take a really slow ride on a barge, or that tugboats are cute. Perhaps it was checking off “Modern Transit” as one of the tags for this post and grinning! Whatever it is, I love it!
*Carmella R. Mantello is director of the New York State Canal Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority that operates the Erie and three other canals.
images by Sung Park for The New York Times