WATERWAYS chiefs today pledged a bright, new future for tourism in Marsden.
They made their promise after the shock news that the £2m Standedge Visitor Centre has shut down.
The centre - opened by Prince Charles in 2001 - never attracted the numbers of visitors that British Waterways had hoped for.
But the boat trips into the newly-restored Standedge Tunnel have been successful and will continue from Tunnel End Cottages, on the canal bank.
British Waterways has also opened a cafe in the old cottages and has moved some of the displays and exhibitions from the visitor centre into the building.
Janet Baverstock, service manager for Yorkshire, said: "The new location of the visitor centre and cafe, less than 10 metres from the embarkation point of the boat, is more convenient than the old warehouse, providing visitors with an ideal place to find out more about the canal and purchase tickets while they wait for the next available trip.
"The new facilities will allow visitors to continue to learn about and experience the tunnel and the canal.
"We are very aware that we have something completely unique in the Yorkshire region and we are proud of it and committed to making it a popular tourist destination in the long term."
Waterways officials are working with Kirklees Council and the Huddersfield Canal Society to determine a future use for the warehouse which housed the Visitor Centre.
It is hoped it can be used by community groups but any future use must bring in income.
.TEXT: * The Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal is nearly three-and-a-half miles long and the country's longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel. * The tunnel is 196 metres (645 feet) above sea level and burrows 194 metres (638 feet) underneath the Pennines.
* The tunnel took 16 years to build at considerable cost of life - with the final section being overseen by renowned engineer Thomas Telford in 1811.
* The campaign to restore the Canal took off in 1974 with the formation of the Huddersfield Canal Society.
* For the Society, the impossible was achieved with the canal's reopening on 1 May 2001.