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Canal designated U.S. landmark, as bicentennial approaches

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Hansi Lo Wang / NPR
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The New York State Barge Canal has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced the designation on Wednesday. The New York Democrat had sought the national recognition, saying it will spur economic growth across the upstate region and honor the canal system's place in the nation's heritage.

Gillibrand says the canal shaped the course of settlement from the Northeast to the Great Plains and established New York City as the nation's premiere seaport and commercial center.

The 525-mile Barge Canal extends through Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. It includes the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca and Champlain canals. Construction on the oldest, the Erie Canal, was started 200 years ago this July 4 in Rome in central New York.

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