Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has announced the 2017 Legacy Tour of Schooner Lois McClure. The tour will pay tribute to the legacy of the canals, which celebrate 200 years in 2017, and the legacy of the Northern Forest trees, which built the thousands of wooden boats that plied our waterways.
The World Canals Conference, which celebrates canals as “agents of transformation,” inspired both the theme and destination for the 2017 “Legacy Tour” of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM)’s replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure.
Construction of the famed Erie and Champlain Canals began on July 4, 1817 in Rome, NY. The task took nearly a decade to complete, and when finished the commercial success of the canals exceeded all expectations. During the tour, project co-director and LCMM historian Art Cohn will be “Searching for History.” With support from communities along the canal, Cohn will comb area archives to uncover documents that reflect the amazing story of this massive civil engineering project that shaped the new nation.
During the Legacy Tour the schooner crew will share with community members and students a maritime perspective on the relationship between waterways and trees, canal boats and forests through an initiative called Stem to Stern.
The transformation also brought some unintended consequences. Stem to Stern is designed to spark insight into the impact of deforestation: eroded soil, silted waterways, loss of habitat for fish and wildlife, and the arrival of invasive species. Marking the transition to an era of sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship, the schooner will transport a cargo of white oak and white pine seedlings provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tributaries Program, to be planted in communities along the canal.
Further information and the itinerary of the 2017 Legacy Tour can be found on the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s website. Travel conditions for this traditional wooden vessel are weather dependent, so the schedule is subject to change. Specific locations and hours of public boarding will be announced.
Planning for this tour, which reaches 38 ports between July 1 and October 15, is being made possible through a grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) through the National Park Service and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP)/New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).
Photo: Replica 1862 Canal Schooner Lois McClure on the Champlain Canal – Bow, courtesy Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.