Thousands attended the 47th annual DeWitt Canal Day over the weekend trying to raise more awareness about the recreation and other advantages the area has for the region. Event supervisor Christine Manchester says the trail system along the canal does draw significant attention.
“We are working now on Parks and Trails New York and every year they do trail counts to determine how many people are actually using the trail. The last time DeWitt did one it was over 200,000 users a year.”
The event held near the DeWitt Town Hall included a family fun walk, carnival games and activities, live music and a balloon build-and-popping party. The purpose of the event was not only to enjoy the festivities, but to build an understanding for the importance of nature within the community. Volunteer Steve Blusk has some ideas about how the canal might connect with other parts of the town if more people supported it.
“More bike paths, more sidewalks, connecting more parts of DeWitt to the city. It would be nice if people want to go shopping, could just get on their bike. Or if they want to go take their kid to the park; they have a direct connection not going through a busy street to a park.”
The Canal Day activities were held in conjunction with a bike ride from between Dewitt and Rome. Some did the 36 miles in one day, others took two days and camped along the corridor. High School student Bryce Nandal helped organize the bike ride and can see it connecting with the rest of the town.
“We do our own things, we just go home and we watch TV, that’s it. Well, here we are all out today just having a great fun time, learning about all different things, our kids are going to have a fun time today.”
The Town is working on “Moving DeWitt” a long-term planning effort to increase the amount of pedestrian friendly walkways, bike paths and other corridors not exclusively for cars.