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Waterways & Trees: Stewarding Their Interconnected Relationship

During the spring, summer and fall of 2017, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Sailing Canal Boat Lois McClure will visit ports along the Champlain and Erie Canals.

Along the way we will celebrate the vital role of “boatwood” trees such as white oak and white pine that have been essential for centuries in boatbuilding as well as in the forest ecosystem.

Schooner Lois McClure, Public Boarding during June, weekends only at LCMM.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes. The Legacy Tour of canal schooner Lois McClure this summer marks the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal with a celebration of waterways and trees. Welcome aboard to discover how the “boatwood” trees, White Oak and White Pine, have been essential for centuries in boat building and in the forest ecosystem.

Erie Canal Bicentennial

The schooner Lois McClure’s 2017 voyage celebrates the huge undertaking that began on July 4, 1817in Rome, NY, when ground was broken for the construction of the Erie Canal. Although it was sarcastically referred to as “Clinton’s Big Ditch” by skeptics in the early years of the project, the canal became an engineering marvel of its day. By its opening in 1825, the new navigable waterway included 18 aqueducts to carry the canal over ravines and rivers, and 83 locks, with a rise of 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. Canal schooner Lois McClure will make vivid this gritty and essential piece of U.S. history to thousands of visitors. We will be in Rome, NY on July 22, 2017 to commemorate the first shovel of “ditch” dirt exactly 200 years before.

White Oak & White Pine

White Oak and White Pine have for centuries been the principle boatbuilding wood used in the Northeastern United States. Native Americans used White Pine for dugout canoes, and Europeans began using both species for shipbuilding soon after their arrival to the New World. White Oak is strong, durable and rot resistant, selected for boat frames and high-impact exterior surfaces. White Pine is lightweight and has the tensile strength needed in planking and spars. Schooner Lois McClure is made of both. White Oak and White Pine are also keystone or legacy species in the northern forest. Both can grow to hundreds of years old and supply ample habitat and food for myriad species of native animals.

Stem to Stern Education

Planting the Seeds of Forest Stewardship

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum crew and educators carry the values of forest stewardship and reverence for wood. At each port and school we visit, we will involve students in hands-on activities exploring forest ecosystems, the history of forestry, different uses for wood products, and the crucial role the forest plays in fostering clean water, soil health, and rich habitat.

Schooner Lois McClure will transport a crop of seedlings to be planted in communities along the schooner’s route in partnership with the NY DEC Trees for Tribs program which promotes the protection of water quality through the establishment and restoration of stream-side forest buffers.

World Canals Conference
Syracuse, NY: September 24-28, 2017

Schooner Lois McClure will be one of the centerpiece vessels at the 2017 World Canals Conference, which brings together waterway managers and engineers, scholars, historians, enthusiasts, and the public to examine issues surrounding the world’s canals.


2017 Legacy Tour - Ports of Call
Schedule subject to change, specific locations and hours of public boarding to be announced.
Click any stop to see the location on Google Maps.



Erick Tichonuk
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

(802) 475-2022, x120


Get Involved!

The continuing travels of Lois McClure encourage the public to appreciate and value our waterways, their cultural legacy and ecological resources.

Organizations that have partnered with Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in the recent past include: National Park Service; Lake Champlain Basin Program and Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership; The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor; The New York State Canal Corporation; Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing; and ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. Very special thanks to Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, and Congressman Paul Tonko for their leadership in stewardship of cultural heritage and natural resources in the Champlain and Hudson valleys.

The travels of Lois McClure are made possible by the generosity of the following individuals and businesses: Lois McClure and Family; The Farm Families that own Cabot and McCadam Creameries; Currier Forest Products; Lake Champlain Ferries (LCT); Shelburne Shipyard; Point Bay Marina; Basin Harbor Club; Friends of C. L. Churchill; Green Mountain Coffee; Lake Champlain Chocolates; and Shelburne Vineyards.

From the time people first inhabited our region, the interconnected waterways have played a decisive role in the political, social and economic fortunes of nations. The Lois McClure, hailing from Burlington, Vermont on Lake Champlain, is a replica of a type of boat once common throughout the region. Come aboard Lois McClure and travel back to the 1800s when wooden boats lined the docks.

Canal Schooner Lois McClure: History Comes Alive
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s replica canal schooner Lois McClure is modeled after two 1862-class canal schooners sunk in Lake Champlain. During their heyday, canal schooners were homeported on Lake Champlain but regularly plied the canals, rivers and lakes between New York City, Quebec City and Montreal. Launched in 2004, the Lois serves as a regional ambassador promoting the shared heritage of Quebecois, Vermonters and New Yorkers.

À partir du moment où l’homme a habité le paysage régional, le réseau interconnecté des cours d’eau a joué un rôle majeur dans la détermination de la politique, du social et de la fortune économique des nations. Le Lois McClure construit à Burlington, au Vermont, sur le lac Champlain, est la réplique d’un bateau typique de la région. Venez à bord du Lois McClure et remonter le temps jusqu’au 19e siècle, l’époque où les bateaux en bois s’alignaient aux quais.

Canal Schooner Lois McClure: L’histoire prend vie
La réplique de la goélette de canal
Lois McClure du Lake Champlain Maritime Museum est inspiré de deux goélettes de 1862 coulées dans le lac Champlain. Au cours de leur apogée les goélettes de canal bien que basées sur le lac Champlain ont sillonées les canaux, les rivières et les lacs entre New York, Québec et Montréal. Lancé en 2004, le Lois sert d’ambassadeur régional pour la promotion du patrimoine commun des Québécois, des Vermontais et des New-Yorkais.


Supporters • Partenaires


Primary Partner

Voyage Sponsors

Lake Champlain Basin Program National Park ServiceGreat Lakes FisheriesCabot

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Lois McClure Sponsors

Currier Forest Products Point Bay Marina
Green Mountain Coffee Hickok and Boardman Insurance People's United Bank
Vermont Vacation Basin Harbor Club Honda Marine
Lake Champlain Transportation Company Shelburne Shipyard
NYS Parks and Recreation Hazelett Strip Casting Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce
National Heritage Trust

And also made possible by these supporters:

Tom's Marine The McClure Family Point Bay Marina
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy NY Congressman Maurice Hinchey
Special thanks to George Pauk for his inspiration and support of the Legacy Tree Concept.


If you are interested in learning about the benefits of becoming a sponsor for the schooner Lois McClure, or for any of our other events and opportunities, call our Development Office, at (802) 475-2022.