Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hudson River Greenway also losing funding...

Oof. 4 posts in one day. 3 sort of serious. I will have to write some really atrocious poetry to get things back to normal...

But since I posted that notice about the press conference tomorrow, I wanted to post about another organization that stands to be lost to this year's budget cuts - the Hudson River Greenway.

I know these are hard times & it's hard to find places to cut budgets. I work in finance, my company's been doing it just like every other company, every city, every state, the whole country.

Things have to go. The trimming apparently has to go beyond the fat & into the meat.

But it's really hard for me, as a paddler, to see the Greenway falling under the axe. The idea is apparently that their work will be parcelled out among other agencies. But the Hudson is such a NY state treasure, I hate to see it turned into just extra duties for other agencies, where the best use & preservation has been under the eye of one deeply invested group.

As a paddler, I know that I am indebted to this group for the increasing ease of access for kayakers & rowers. They worked closely with the Hudson River Watertrail Association on creating the Watertrail. The Watertrail increased ease of access & encouraged the resurgence of human-powered boating all the way down to NY Harbor. It set an official precedent, saying "These recovering waters are valuable not just for commercial shipping, but for small recreational craft, just as the river used to be before we filled it so full of pollution that you couldn't go near it".

I don't think I was even living in NYC when work started on the Watertrail. I certainly hadn't discovered kayaking yet - if I was here, I still standing on top of seawalls, watching the water swirl by & assuming (like a proper child of Hawaii) that the only reason it would be so hard to get to the water would be because there was something terribly wrong with it.

Meanwhile, the people from whom I first learned to kayak were chipping out their tenuous toeholds on the river. I came into an NYC paddling scene that was gathering momentum, but still struggling - there were (and still are) those who didn't like the increasing recreational use of NY Harbor & the North River; there was (and still is) deep concern among public officials about the safety of kayaking & the insurance risk posed by public access - but the Watertrail Association and the early paddling & rowing groups & people were making a lot of progress & I joined a growing wave of people who were tasting the fruit of that early groundwork. 10 years later, we've got a real, full-grown paddling & rowing community with skilled paddlers who are eager to pass on what they've learned to newer paddlers, an actual New York City Watertrail & although there's always room for more learning & growth, human-powered boating seems to have gained a real acceptance as a legitimate use for NYC waters.

That's what's made NYC work for me. Without the boating, I don't know if I would've ever stayed in this city that long.

I owe a lot of people a debt for that, and people at the Greenway are among that group.

I'm not aware of any formal campaign to save the Greenway, but I did use the "Contact the Governor" website to voice my support. I'm never sure if that sort of thing makes a difference or not - but failure to speak up tends to be mistaken for acceptance.

For more about a wider range of work done by the Greenway, check out their website:

There's also a posting on the Hudson River Watertrail Association's site:

here it is...

And if you want to send an email to the governor about it, here's that Contact the Governor page I used.

Thus endeth the rant. I promise I shall strive to make my next few posts foolish & frivolous!

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