Where to next for tugs?

That was the title of the front-page story in the Sunday issue of the Times Union.

The in-depth article offered more questions than answers - and that's why we still need your help to #SavetheUrger!

Tugboat  Reliable  on barge — stripped and on its way to be scuttled off Long Island. Photo by Will Van Dorp

Tugboat Reliable on barge — stripped and on its way to be scuttled off Long Island. Photo by Will Van Dorp

Here are just a few of the key points raised in the reporting by Brian Nearing:

  • The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has raised alarms over what the state is doing, echoing the concerns that planning was done behind closed doors and that the sinkings and potential land-locking of the Urger are being done too quickly for anyone to object.

  • The Preservation League is urging the state to throw open its planning process on the fates of the other canal vessels that is is planning to sink in the ocean.

In the meantime, the plight of the Erie Canal's historic fleet has raised national — and international — interest.

  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation will picture Tug Urger in the Fall issue of their Preservation magazine as “Threatened” in their Transitions column, which highlights resources restored, saved, threatened, or lost.

  • Andrew Denny, news editor of Waterways World, the United Kingdom's biggest-selling and longest-established inland waterways magazine, also reached out to the League to get more information on our efforts. He's planning to include our story in an upcoming edition of the magazine, but also shared valuable insight and success stories from the UK.

... I think there would be an uproar if what is happening to Urger and the other boats was to happen in the UK. That was one reason the UK National Historic Ships organisation was founded. I have asked them if they had any comment, although of course it's a world away from you.

The Canal & River Trust (our equivalent to the NY State Canals) has a strict policy of selling historic craft to volunteers, charities or deep-pocketed individuals who show a willingness to care for them. Sometimes people will restore a rotting old wooden barge to the extent of almost completely rebuilding it, rather than see it vanish.