Media Advisory: UB to host SUNY/Erie Canal Bicentennial Forum June 5

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Speakers include Cuomo senior adviser John Maggiore, UB President Tripathi, elected officials from Amherst and Lockport

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Experts from U.S. and Canadian government, tourism and private enterprise will gather Wednesday, June 5, on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus for the SUNY/Erie Canal Bicentennial Forum.

The latest forum will focus on New York’s new Empire State Trail and what it will mean for Western New York and beyond.

When completed by the end of 2020, the Empire State Trail will be a continuous 750-mile route spanning the state from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany, creating the longest multi-use state trail in the nation.

It’s the fifth SUNY/Erie Canal Bicentennial Forum, held in conjunction with the New York State Canal Corporation and Department of State.

UB President Satish K. Tripathi will deliver opening remarks. John Maggiore, senior adviser to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, will serve as this year’s keynote speaker.

“The 750-mile Empire State Trail incorporates the Heritage Corridor, providing an exciting and frankly visionary addition to the quality of life, cultural interpretation and economic development of New York State,” said Robert G. Shibley, dean of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, who served for five years as a federal commissioner on the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

There will also be two panel discussions. Kisha Santiago-Martinez, deputy secretary for the New York Department of State, will moderate a panel on the economic benefits of the Empire State Trail. Shibley will facilitate a panel conversation on the trail’s quality of life benefits.

What: SUNY/Erie Canal Bicentennial Forum: Building the Empire State Trail

When: 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, June 5

Where: Hayes Hall, University at Buffalo South Campus, 3435 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214 (map)

Why: A timely discussion by local, state, national and Canadian experts from government, tourism and private enterprise about New York’s new Empire State Trail and what it will mean for Western New York and beyond.

Who: Economic benefits panelists include: City of Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman; Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa; Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers; and Niagara Parks Commission (Canada) CEO David Adames.

Quality of life panelists are: JJ Tighe, director, Parks and Trails Initiative, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation; Randall Hoak, associate director, AARP of Western New York; Gregory Stevens, director, Niagara River Greenway; John Craik, executive director, Buffalo Population Health Collaborative; and Jean MacKay, director of communications and outreach, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.