Paddling from Park to Park
Parks & Recreation Plans to Create a NYC Water Trail—Volunteers Wanted
Before planes, trains and automobiles…it was boats that carried people from one place to another by way of rivers, lakes and oceans. New York City is surrounded by such bodies of water, yet its shorelines have been largely dominated by commerce and industry for centuries. One of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s highest priorities is to restore access to the City’s waterfronts and interpret the rich history of its shoreline.
"Throughout the city, parks along the shoreline are being built and renovated to reconnect the public with the water—Baretto Point Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, Fort Totten Park and Fresh Kills Park to name just a few," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Among the amenities available at these parks, many have or plan to have canoe and kayak launches. To connect these sites and enhance the users’ experience and safety, I have asked our Queens Borough Commissioner, Dorothy Lewandowski—a water sports enthusiast and an accomplished kayaker—to spearhead the initiative to create a NYC Water Trail."
"As an avid kayaker, I am delighted that the opportunities for kayaking right in my own backyard are expanding," said Queens Borough Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. "And I am thrilled to be working to create a comprehensive guide that will enable people to safely travel throughout the City via its waterways and to thoroughly enjoy their day at sea."
The NYC Water Trail will provide information on safe and legal access to the waters surrounding all five boroughs of New York City. The project will identify park launch sites, as well as connect those to non-park launch sites. The guide will also provide recreational, educational and scenic opportunities on each leg of the trail.
This spring and summer, Parks will be collecting information, surveying conditions, photographing, and writing narratives. There are currently 18 existing public canoe and kayak launch sites on parkland with an additional 11 sites in planning and nearly 20 identified as potential sites. Borough Commissioner Lewandowski plans to travel each leg, along with project volunteers, to document the trail. Once all of the information is gathered, work on the website development of the guide will begin—with hopes to launch in the spring of 2008.
Parks will be working with the Hudson River Watertrail Association, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and American Canoe Association. This project will rely on volunteers who understand and use the waters of New York City, as well as those who can provide information on the history, geology and points of interest along the trail. If you are interested in becoming involved in this project please contact Borough Commissioner Lewandowski’s office at 718-520-5905 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on existing canoe and kayak launch sites in New York City parks, visit www.nyc.gov/parks or call 311.