GRH was founded in 1999 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Its mission, as stated in its by-laws, is “to develop and promote cultural, economic, educational, and recreational opportunities and to improve aesthetic appearance and environmental quality within the Grasse River corridor in the Village and Town of Canton.” It is an all-volunteer organization overseen by a 15-member Board of Directors, all of whom serve without pay and are local residents. It carries out its projects with support from government grants, from the Village and Town of Canton, and, mainly, from donations of both money and work by local citizens and organizations
The story of Grasse River Heritage is one of great commitment, generosity, and creative energy on the part of a great many people. It’s also a more practical story of just how much time and work it takes to develop a good idea and bring it to reality in a remote, rural stretch of northern New York. The following account of the origins of GRH is adapted from an article by Varick Chittenden, its founding Board President and longest serving Board member, first published in the St. Lawrence Plaindealer. Read more.
Board of Directors
Grasse River Heritage is overseen by a Board of Directors of up to 15 members. But they do much more than just oversee. They are local residents, unpaid, who serve on our committees (as do a number of non-Board members) and contribute many long hours to work, alongside our other volunteers, on projects ranging from park maintenance to fundraising to events organizing to publicity and more.
Heritage Park resides on the traditional territory of the Akwesasne Mohawk and their ancestors, whose peoples have sought respectful and reciprocal relationships with the local waterways including the Nikentsà:ke (Grasse River) since time immemorial. These lands and waterways connect to the vast traditional areas of the Haudenosaunee, Algonquin, Huron-Wendat, and Abenaki Peoples. We recognize and deeply appreciate their connection to this place. Grasse River Heritage acknowledges its occupying role on these lands and wishes to respectfully work towards a unified path of co-existence and sharing. Its members are committed to honoring Akwesasne Mohawk, Kanienʼkehá:ka, Haudenosaunee, and other Indigenous peoples who have connections to this region predating our own. We ask that individuals visiting Heritage Park take time to reflect on and educate themselves about our diverse communities as a step in this process.