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2023 NYS Tourism Conference Workshop: On The Canals - How To Work With NYPA to Build Business Success

Apr 4, 2023

In this informative session presented by NYS Canal Corporation's Darby Racey and Oswego Expeditions' Jennifer Mays, you'll learn about NYS Canal Corporation’s On the Canals program, a free recreational program offering unique opportunities to experience the Canal system and the adjoining Empire State Trail!

Why you should attend this session:

  • The On the Canals program, now in its 4th year, is continuing to draw people to the Canal system – year-round and to all four Canals.
  • The On the Canals program is a great way for people to be introduced to a particular activity to which they otherwise would not have access.
  • The On the Canals program makes it possible for people of all abilities to recreate together!

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn about the growth of the program and how you can take advantage
  • Learn, through a local case study, about the impact on small businesses and communities as a result of the program


About the Presenters:

Darby Racey, Program Manager

Darby Racey joined the New York Power Authority in November 2020 as Program Manager for Reimagine the Canals, a New York State initiative to promote the use of its Canal system. In this role, she oversees the On the Canals (OTC) program. Before joining NYPA, Darby spent more than three years as a contractor for the New York State Canal Corporation, serving in a wide variety of capacities including change management, budgeting and policy/procedure development.

Prior to her work at NYPA/Canals, Darby was a consultant in the telecommunications industry in the areas of process improvement, program/project management and change management. This followed a 20-plus-year career in Operations and program/project management, which included 10 years as a member of the executive management team at Contec Corporation in Schenectady.

Jennifer Mays, CEO, Oswego Expeditions


The New York State Canal system is operated, maintained and promoted by the New York State Canal Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York Power Authority. New York’s Canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524-miles, the canal waterways link the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain.

Following much of the original towpaths, the Canal system also includes the 365-mile Canalway Trail, which runs from Albany to Buffalo and from Albany to Whitehall, and is all part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail—the nation’s longest multi-use recreational trail network.

New York State’s Reimagine the Canals initiative is transforming the iconic Canal system into a viable ecotourism destination while simultaneously enhancing economic development and improving the resiliency of canalside communities.