The Erie Canal was America's most successful and influential public works project. Completed in 1825, the 363-mile-long waterway established the first all-water route for navigation between the Atlantic Ocean and the upper Great Lakes, opened the interior of the continent to settlement and trade, and helped make New York City an international center of commerce. By creating Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Congress recognized the Erie Canal's leading role in our nation's history. The Heritage Corridor Commission works through public and private partnerships to promote historic preservation, education, recreation, tourism, and economic revitalization in more than 230 canal communities. Constructed during the 1820s and '30s, the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals remain in service as America's olderst continuously operating canal system. The Heritage Corridor includes all of the cities, towns, and villages that line those historic waterways. The 350-mile-long Canalway Trail parallels the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany. Pittsford and other canal towns are great places to explore on foot. Historic communities and buildings line the banks of New York's canals. Celebrations provide opportunities to experience living heritage of the canal system.