Great Lakes Seaway Trail, NY and PA – Saturday, September 29 is New York State’s day to commemorate the War of 1812, much of which took place along the waters of St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River, and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania.
Nine communities along those waters and on the 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway offer 1812-theme self-guided walking tours daily dawn-to-dusk.
The 3.1 and 6.2-mile walks in Ogdensburg, Sackets Harbor, Oswego, Pultneyville, Youngstown, Lewiston, Williamsville, and Buffalo, NY; and Erie, PA, are sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (AVA).
There is no charge to complete the walks. Walkers must register in the Walkbox at each starting point business. Anyone carrying a Volkssport logbook can purchase the official credit for $3.
Those completing the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Walks in any of the nine communities can purchase commemorative pins ($5 each) featuring different symbols of the war, including a sailing ship, cannon, soldier, Fort Ontario and Fort La Presentation, crossed rifles, the burning of Buffalo, a young America’s flag and the battle flag of the USS Brig Niagara.
For more information on the 1812 Walks, contact Great Lakes Seaway Trail Volkssport Association President Daryl Giles at 315-646-1000 x 200, [email protected], www.seawaytrail.com/volkssport.
Visit 1812 Theme Destinations on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Erie, PA: Home to the restored brig Niagara, the ship with which Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British in the strategic Battle of Lake Erie
Dunkirk, NY: Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum, near where some of the first shots of the war were fired
Buffalo, NY: 1812 exhibits and artifacts at Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, Buffalo History Museum, and Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Youngstown, NY: Old Fort Niagara, instrumental in the Americans’ capture of Fort George across the Niagara River
Waterport, NY: Brown’s Berry Patch, a modern farm market today, is where Grandma Brown reportedly stood her ground against the British and routed them back to Lake Ontario
Rochester, NY: Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Bicentennial Peace Garden, site of several British raids
Pultneyville and Sodus Point, NY: Sites of several British raids and battles, visit Williamson-Pultneyville Historical Society, Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum and Bicentennial Peace Garden and 1812 mural
Sterling, NY: named for Revolutionary War General Lord William Stirling, was formed in 1812. Sterling Historical Society records include the 1812 Sterling Militia, known as Divine’s Company.
Oswego, NY: Fort Ontario State Historic Site, focal point of the Battle of Oswego, in which the British captured and largely destroyed the fort; H. Lee White Marine Museum includes a display on the USS Oneida, built in Oswego and instrumental in the naval war
Sackets Harbor, NY: a shipbuilding center during the war, visit Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site and the 1812 exhibit at the Seaway Trail Discovery Center
St. Lawrence County: Site of the future replica of Fort La Presentation; an active group is preserving the local War of 1812 with an annual reenactment of the February Battle of Ogdensburg and other events
Trailwide: 1812 theme Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Outdoor Storyteller” interpretive signs are found across the 518-mile byway.