Canal Clean Sweep

Canal Clean Sweep is an annual statewide clean-up event that occurs along major greenways across New York State to celebrate Earth Day. Clean-ups primarily occur along the Erie and Champlain Canalways, the Glens Falls Feeder Canal, the Black River Feeder Canal, and the Rochester Riverway. 

Sponsored by the New York State Canal Corporation, Parks & Trails New York has been responsible for executing Canal Clean Sweep for 19 years. Typically, this weekend witnesses 100+ spring clean-ups along major greenways, in canalside parks, and in other public areas throughout the Canal corridor.

In 2024, PTNY will be hosting Canal Clean Sweep the weekend of April 19-21, 2024. Last year more than 150 clean-up events were held along the Canal and Canalway Trail, with an estimated turnout of over 3,500 volunteers! We hope to get more sweepers out on the trail in 2024. From scout clubs to Rotary and Kiwanis chapters, Adopt-a-Trail groups, nature clubs, college students, church groups, elected officials, sports teams, and local businesses- we all come together to show our love for the Canal and Canalway Trail System.

How it works

Canal Clean Sweep relies on gracious hosts to organize clean-up events along various greenway trails the weekend of April 19-21, 2024. Once a host has registered a public event, local volunteers can sign up to participate in the event. 

A host assumes the role as the leader of the event. The host will be responsible for executing the event, including offering instructions on where volunteers should clean (what direction along the trail), educating about clean-up safety, distributing trash bags and shirts, taking photos, and checking in volunteers.


Host registration

Host registration will open on February 12, 2024. In order to host a clean-up, an organizer will need to fill out a registration form. The organizer will be asked a series of questions about themselves (including name, email, phone number, and mailing address) and the event (including location, t-shirt requests, and trash removal services). The information that the organizer submits about the event (including event location) will then be displayed on the interactive map below.

Before you fill out a host registration form:

  • Identify a section of trail you'd like to clean up using the event mapThe registration form will ask you to identify your event location, so picking a location in advance (and checking to see that your preferred location is not already taken) will save you some time.

  • Don't select a location to clean up (like an adjacent park or parking lot) where someone else has already dropped a pin. 

  • The blue lines are off-road greenways where clean-ups should occur. 

  • Use the parking areas as reference points, or meeting locations

  • Reach out to staff ([email protected]) if you need help selecting a site.
  • Decide if your event will be public or private: Members of the general public can sign up to participate in all public events.

    • Private events are typically organized by a designated group (a church group, packs/troops/scouts, businesses, etc.) and participation is by invite only (private events will still be displayed on the interactive map, but the event description will not contain a volunteer sign-up link).

  • Pick a date: Most events will occur on Earth Day weekend, April 19-21. However, feel free to pick another day if it works better for you and your group.

    • Please note that we will not be able to accommodate shirt requests for events occurring prior to this weekend. 
  • Estimating shirt quantity: This year we will only ask hosts to provide an estimate of how many shirts they will need. Volunteers will be asked to select their preferred shirt size when they fill out a volunteer registration form. We will then send hosts the sizes requested from participating volunteers. 
    • We can not guarantee that you will get the number of shirts you request.

Canal Clean Sweep Event Finder Map

Check back for more information about volunteer registration, opening on March 11, 2024. Anyone who would like to participate as a volunteer in a public event will be able to identify an event happening in their area by using the event finder map above. A link in the description will allow anyone to easily register.