ROCHESTER (WXXI) – Residents from communities along the Erie Canal are protesting tree removal between Medina and Pittsford.
Elizabeth Agte organized a rally for Sunday afternoon saying they are worried about the lack of habitat for animals and lack of shade for those who use the trail.
“We’re concerned about the fact that they’re taking away all of our beautiful, shady, tranquil canal path and replacing it with grass.”
Agte lives near the canal in Perinton, saying she can see the trees the State Canal Corporation plans to cut from her kitchen window.
She hopes to show with the rally that there is push back.
“The canal is loved by so many people, who bike and walk their dogs and run and having that be one long hot stretch with no shade is going to be really unfortunate.”
The Canal Corporation says they are cutting down trees for embankment safety, saying excess roots can lead to faster erosion, but Agte and others protesting say there has to be a better method of management rather than cutting down all of the trees.
She also says meeting held in late November did not give the community enough warning about the project.
But Executive Deputy Director at the State Canal Corporation John Callaghan thinks they have gone above and beyond letting residents know, through social media, by holding public information sessions and contacting local and state elected officials that represent communities throughout the area.
Callaghan says they understand the canal is a fixture in people’s lives the way it is now, but it’s their job to maintain it, and that the tree removal is only focused on high risk areas.
“The portions of the embankment that – were they to fail, could possibly result in a loss of life. This is not the entire canal corridor.”
He says he appreciates the passion people have for the canal, and that the corporation shares that passion as well.
A protest was held Sunday at the Erie Canal Boat Launch on Ayrault Road in Perinton.
Agte says they wanted to get the attention of the Power Authority who oversees the Canal Corporation, before their annual trustees meeting on Tu