Happy Anniversary to the Erie Canal!

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State officials have announced the opening date for the New York State Canal System, which will be free for recreational boaters this year.

The state Canal Corp. says the Erie, Champlain, Oswego (ahs-WEE'-goh) and Cayuga-Seneca canals will open at 10 a.m. May 19 for the 2017 navigation season.

State officials say to commemorate the bicentennial there will be no tolls or fees for recreational use of the canal system this year.

The canal system's navigational season typically closes in the fall.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the construction of the Erie Canal in Rome in central New York. Work began on the 363-mile long waterway on July 4, 1817. The canal was officially opened in Buffalo on Oct. 26, 1825 by Gov. DeWitt Clinton.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the construction of the Erie Canal in Rome in central New York. Work began on the 363-mile long waterway on July 4, 1817. The canal was officially opened in Buffalo on Oct. 26, 1825 by Gov. DeWitt Clinton.