- Teresa Mitchell, Seaway Trail, Inc., 315-646-1000;
- Jay Boak, Board of Cooperative Education Services, 315-779-7012
- Dave White, New York Sea Grant, 315-312.3042
Sackets Harbor, NY, September 30, 2009 - Where did the first battle of the War of 1812 take place? Who sold Irondequoit Bay to the English? How did early travelers navigate around Niagara Falls?
Are there really one thousand 1,000 Islands? Which Oswego County waterbody is also named Heh-Hah-Wa-Gah? What were the top commodities shipping into Little Sodus Bay in 1891? What role did Lake Erie play in the early maritime history of New York and Pennsylvania?
The new fact-filled, 17 inch x 44 inch, color, illustrated Great Lakes Seaway Trail Maritime Heritage poster has the answers. Ten thousand (10,000) of the posters are now in public schools and BOCES systems in the 11 counties along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in NY and PA.
St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Oswego, Cayuga, Wayne, Monroe, Orleans, Niagara, Erie and Chautauqua counties in New York state and Erie County, PA, comprise the 518-mile coastal region of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
The leisure driving, and boating, route is one of America’s Byways, a National Recreation Trail, a state byway in New York and Pennsylvania, and a New York State Bicycle Route.
The Federal Highway Administration and a New York State Scenic Byway grants administered by the New York State Department of Transportation provided funding for the posters that are an adjunct to the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Shipwrecks Project that recently received a 2009 National Scenic Byway Award for resource interpretation. (The project earned a New York State Governor’s Adventure Tourism Award and an Upstate History Alliance commendation in 2008.)
U.S. Congressman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28th District), who represents the Rochester, Niagara Falls and Buffalo areas of the 518-mile-long byway, says, “The Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway provides diverse resources to students, families and travelers for experiencing the singular historic, natural and recreational resources that are found only along New York’s freshwater shoreline. Placing this maritime heritage poster in our schools is a great way to encourage learning and, as families explore along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, our communities from Rochester to Niagara Falls and Buffalo and beyond will realize the economic benefit of educational tourism.”
The posters have been distributed to public schools and Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) systems. The region’s homeschoolers may request a copy of the poster by visiting the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor, NY, or the Lake Erie Seaway Trail Visitor Center in Hamburg, NY.
Jefferson-Lewis BOCES District Superintendent Jack J. Boak says, “The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage poster is a great new learning resource that not only excites our students about history but has the added value of informing them that the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway is a road to learning adventures in their own backyard.”
Keli M. DiRisio of One Smart Cookie Productions in Victor, NY, (in the Great Lakes Seaway Trail’s Monroe County) developed and designed the poster.
"This poster was a great project to work on as I learned so much about our area and its history. I think this poster will be a worthwhile learning tool to post in classrooms as students will gain a new appreciation for the area in which they live. I am excited to hear feedback from both teachers and students!" DiRisio says.
Great Lakes Seaway Trail President and CEO Teresa Mitchell adds that travelers will discover more facts on the more than 100 Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Outdoor Storyteller” interpretive panels located at significant destination point on the byway. She says, “The new Great Lakes Seaway Trail Maritime Heritage poster promotes travel along the 518-mile length of the byway to significant waterfront destinations. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail Outdoor Storytellers at those sites form a fresh air ‘24/7 museum’ that provides travelers and youth with fun educational facts, the legends and lore associated with our coastal region’s historic, maritime, cultural and natural resources.”
Learn more at www.seawaytrail.com or call 315-646-1000.
Poster part of award-winning project
The “2007 Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Project” that put a spotlight on the maritime heritage resources of the 518-mile coastal region of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania received a 2009 Scenic Byway Award for Interpretation during the 2009 National Scenic Byways Conference in Denver, Colorado, in August. The award, sponsored by the America’s Byways Resource Center, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO, was presented to project partners: the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, New York Sea Grant and New York State Scenic Byways Program.
Diving the Seaway Trail encourages maritime theme travel
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail Maritime Heritage project includes Dive the Seaway Trail program that encourage divers, history buffs and travelers to explore the full length of the freshwater byway to discover “only-found-here” shipwrecks, 28 historic lighthouses and maritime museums. The Dive the Seaway Trail project, coordinated by New York Sea Grant, Oswego, NY, involves local community-based stewardship of historic dive sites and underwater landscapes accessed from the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway. Scuba divers represent an annual economic impact of more than $108 million to NY’s Great Lakes Seaway Trail region (New York Sea Grant). Dive the Seaway Trail is part of the New York State Blueway Trail project that is linking submerged heritage preserves with recreational opportunities, local heritage attractions, greenways and byways statewide.
Notable Ships & Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Among the notable shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail are:
- David W. Mills - New York State’s first Submerged Cultural Preserve in Lake Ontario, a 202-foot steambarge that sank in 1919, Oswego, NY
- Hundreds of shipwrecks in Lake Erie’s Eastern Basin – begin at Dunkirk, NY
- Islander – 1871 wooden sidewheel steamer burned & sank near Alexandria Bay
- St. Peter – 135-foot, three-masted schooner rests (since 1898) intact and upright in the deep water of Lake Ontario, Pultneyville, NY
- HMS Ontario, British sloop-of-war sank in Lake Ontario on October 31, 1780, during the Revolutionary War.
Among the notable ships still cruising the waters of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail:
- Maid of the Mist taking tourists to see Niagara Falls since 1854 (started in 1846 as U.S.-Canada ferry service), Niagara Falls, NY
- World War II military vessels at Buffalo Erie County Military & Naval Park, Buffalo, NY
- LT-5 Tugboat “Nash” - one of the last remaining tugboats from the WWII Normandy Invasion, now dockside at H. Lee White Marine Museum, Oswego, NY
- The Flagship Niagara – historic replica War of 1812 tall ship whose home harbor is Erie, PA (Seaway Trail Pennsylvania)
- A world-class collection of antique raceboats and classic watercraft at The Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, NY