The Canal Forest Restoration Project (CFRP) is on a mission to restore the presence of white oak and white pine trees in New York State’s Canal Regions.

The forested landscape of New York State was significantly changed with the construction of canals. Forests were felled for excavation of the canals and grading of their towpaths, which subsequently increased the amount of forested land that was converted into farmlands, industrial sites, and cities. This left the region devoid of forested landscapes, but white oak and white pine trees were of special importance to the canal system because they produced lumber ideal for ship and barrel building.

Certain areas along the canals have begun their return towards a natural state, providing aesthetic value, environmental benefits, and habitat for plants and animals. As this natural succession progresses, CFRP is working to ensure the regeneration of white oaks (white oak, swamp white oak, burr oak) and white pines.

Annual Arbor Day Webinar Conference

Visit our conference page for more information and links to webinar recordings!

How to Help

Volunteer

CFRP volunteers help identify areas and trees for seed collection, collect seeds, care for trees, and/or represent our organization at outreach events. We could not operate without their hard work.

Become a CFRP Volunteer

Plant a Tree

Choose a free tree species to plant and enter your contact information. CFRP staff can provide details about these species or advice on what tree might be best suited for your situation.

Request a Tree

Donate

We are currently funded solely by the generosity of individual donations. Monetary gifts can be made through the Oswego College Foundation specifying the Canal Forest project, by phone, mailed check, or online.

donate now

Project Goals

  1. To replenish the region with a future of white oak and white pine trees of ecological proportion and cultural significance
  2. To foster strong awareness and appreciation of the unique characteristics and indispensable value of white oaks and white pines among residents and visitors of the canal region
  3. To collect seeds, produce seedlings for plantings, and engage the support and collaboration of individuals and organizations in the canal region
  4. To foster a new generation of long-lived tree species that will store carbon and mitigate the effects of climate change, ensuring a brighter future for New York State and the planet

Partnership with RCFS and SUNY Oswego

Last winter (2019) I was contacted by Dr. George Pauk, a retired physician. George and his wife Jane were using a nursery in Newark for the Canal Forest Restoration Project. That nursery closed in the summer of 2018 and George expressed his desire for partnership with our Field Station. At the time I was contacted by National Grid asking for permission to cut down some 60 ash trees along the Rice Creek power line in anticipation of the inevitable damage expected due to the emerald ash borer coming to our area. With that in mind, I immediately realized the potential of this project. George and Jane spent thousands of dollars of their own money since they started this work in 2016. With the financial support of the Pauk family, Rice Creek provides a 2500 square foot enclosure to raise seedlings and saplings of the species named above, until they are ready for distribution. Our objective is to raise 1000 trees and double this number next year. 

~Kamal Mohamed, RCFS Director

Where CFRP Trees are Growing

Thanks to your help, our 2020 season was a huge success, with 150 trees planted! Many people traveled quite a distance for contact-free pickup at Rice Creek Field Station in Oswego. We reached much of central and northern New York as well as the Finger Lakes. In previous years, when our project team could travel, our spread was even greater. Click the link below to see the planting sites from the exciting 2017 season (prior to the project coming to SUNY Oswego), when George and Jane Pauk joined the voyage of the historic Lois McClure canal schooner from Lake Champlain to Buffalo, up to Oswego, and back to Lake Champlain via New York's canal system, giving trees to municipalities all along the route.

2017 Distribution Along the Canal System

Contact

193 Thompson Road, Oswego, New York, 13126
315.312.6677
canalforestrc@gmail.com

Mailing Address: SUNY Oswego, 1060 State Route 104, Central Receiving, Attn: Rice Creek, Oswego, New York, 13126