I don't think I knew him, but I'd feel like I was somehow being disrespectful if I didn't at least mention the passing of Rob Taylor.
Scott Keller of the Hudson River Greenway Association posted the following to the NYCKayaker mailing list today:
Those of us in the north have lost a dear friend, as have paddlers in general. Rob Taylor managed five state parks on the Hudson River including, Peebles Island, Schodack Island, Hudson River Islands, Athens Boat Launch and Coxsackie Boat Launch since Schodack Island State Park opened. Rob was a big proponent of paddling in general and the Hudson River Water Trail in particular. All five of his parks were designatedas part of the Water Trail.
Rob was known for his creativity and for how hard he worked. He built Schodack Islands from a patch of dirt to a site with two boat launches(one on the HR and one on Schodack Creek), a pavilion, restrooms and miles of trails. Under his watch the launches at Coxsackie and Athens were completely rebuilt, and HR Islands Park was refurbished to a standard never before seen.
Part of the reason Rob was so committed to his work was he was a paddler and outdoorsman like the rest of us. He was a long-time volunteer in the NYS Parks Search and Rescue Team. For the past five years we organized a 3-day paddle and campout featuring Rob's parks as part of the Hudson River Valley Ramble.
Rob passed away unexpectedly at home last Thursday. His loss is for me, and for those who knew him, very difficult to handle. He will be sorely missed.
Don Yackel has a quick post about Rob as well, and is seeking others' recollections.
The Hudson is a long river. We at the southern end may never meet paddlers from Albany, Troy or beyond - but we're tied together by that river. There are a lot of great people who do a lot of great work to promote & preserve boating on the Hudson - most of them just do it because it's what they love; not seeking any particular fame from their actions, it's easy for people who aren't in their area to know about them - but what they do spills over. Rob worked for the good of NYS Parks on the Hudson River. The Hudson River Watertrail Association benefitted from his commitment. The Hudson River Watertrail Association has been a force in the growth of paddling & rowing on the Hudson; their work has led directly to better and better conditions & acceptance for human-powered boating in the New York City area, as evidenced by the creation of the New York City Watertrail. Clearly, even those of us down here in NYC who never had the good fortune to meet him, have gained something from his efforts.
I'm so sorry that I'm learning about him this way.
Good reminder of how we just never really know how things we do are going to touch other people's lives.
Good reason to keep trying to do good things, even if it sometimes seems like one person just can't make a dent. A lot of us don't ever get to the point of people like Rob, or Mike Davis, where we can know for sure we're making a difference - but we should trust that we do, and keep trying.