The Erie Canalway Trail receives 1.6 million visits each year. Many of these visits consist of people spending a couple of hours enjoying short segments of the 360-mile trail. For a smaller group of people, these visits involve completing the entire trail between Albany and Buffalo, either in segments or on a through trip. The people in this group are referred to as End-to-Enders. This year, 535 people registered as End-to-Enders, bringing the total number since 2012 to almost 2,000. Of the 535 people who registered in 2014, 494 were first time End-to-Enders.
Since 2012, Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation have been learning more from the people who register as End-to-Enders, such as demographics, comments about their journey, and suggestions for improving the trail user experience. For instance, of the people who did not complete the ECT as part of the Cycle the Erie Canal Tour, 37% traveled alone and 8% traveled in groups of six or more. The oldest End-to Ender in 2014 was 90 years old, while the youngest was nine years old. End-to-Enders resided in 35 states, three Canadian provinces, and the countries of Australia, Denmark, India, Israel, and Japan.
While most End-to-Enders complete the journey by bicycle, for the first time since since PTNY initiated the End-toEnd program, a four persons completed the trail on foot. Of these four hikers, two finished the trip in stages and two through-hiked the trail. One of the through-hikers, Scott “Atlas” Benjamin of Medina, New York, completed the trail in 29 days. Based on his experience he commented that the ECT is “the perfect trail for distance hikers of all ages and abilities.”
Most End-to-Enders say they enjoy the amenities and history offered by canalside communities. Many also comment that the friendliness of residents made the 360-mile trip a memorable experience.
All registered End-to-Enders receive a decal and certificate to commemorate their achievement. To view the complete list of End-to-Enders, or to register yourself, visit PTNY’s End-to-End website.