Town of Pittsford NY

Erie Canal Nature Preserve Dedicated on Earth Day

April 22, 2021
A new Town park protects and preserves a unique ecology
in the heart of Pittsford
Town Supervisor Bill Smith was joined by Town Board members, project partners and local dignitaries today for the official ribbon cutting at the Town’s new Erie Canal Nature Preserve.  The 20 acre Nature Preserve, located along the Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, encompasses natural wetlands, woodlands and meadows on the north side of the Erie Canal near the western Town-Village line. Together with the adjoining property owned by the Village, it is part of 30 contiguous acres of natural habitat that have now been permanently preserved.  
“We chose to create a new park in the heart of our community that serves not only the residents of our community but also the wild creatures and plants that reside here,” said Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith.  “Most importantly, we chose to permanently protect this area, to allow future generations of people, plants and wildlife to thrive here.”
One of the Town’s most ambitious projects in recent years, the Erie Canal Nature Preserve protects and conserves unspoiled land with a unique ecology in the heart of Pittsford. Located between the Erie Canal and the Auburn Trail on Town-owned land in the Village, it includes a thriving and healthy frog breeding habitat with four ponds and adjacent wetlands. The Town made significant, but low-impact, improvements to the area that make the site accessible to the public, including handicapped accessibility. The Preserve offers a creekside rest area, with overlooks of the frog ponds and meadows, and includes an elevated boardwalk trail allowing minimal-impact access to the wetlands. The newly created trail connects the Canal Towpath with the Auburn Trail.
The project was funded in part by a New York State Department of State grant in the amount of $177,250, which covered half of the project cost.  The balance of the $354,500 project was covered by a local match/in-kind services by the Town.  Town Public Works Commissioner Paul Schenkel and Town Parks Foreman Jess Neal worked with landscape architect Sue Steele to design the project.
“From the grant application process, to the onsite work, to today’s ribbon cutting, there has been a team of highly dedicated and creative individuals working many, many hours to make our Nature Preserve a reality,” said Smith. “This unique open space will serve, for generations to come, as an inspiring respite for people and a thriving, healthy natural habitat for the variety of plants and wildlife that call it home.”  
The Town announced today as well plans for a native plants and pollinator garden at the site, as part of a larger plan for pollinator-friendly sites using native species throughout the Town.  The garden will provide information about the benefits of native plantings and will serve as a model for residents who wish to create their own native planting garden to support pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds and other insects.
The Town of Pittsford’s Erie Canal Nature Preserve entrance is located along the Erie Canalway (Towpath) Trail – a short walk east from the Monroe Avenue Bridge or west from the North Main Street Bridge. See a map and information here. Access to the Nature Preserve also is available via the section of the Auburn Trail behind the Old Pickle Factory building at 1 Grove Street.  Adjacent to Pittsford Village's recently established 10-acre Robert C. Corby Arboretum and Wildlife Sanctuary, the Town’s Erie Canal Nature Preserve is part of a 30-acre natural habitat permanently preserved for the benefit of wildlife and residents alike. 


(Click on the image below for more information)

Erie Canal Nature Preserve Map