2009-07-24 / Community

Blue Canoe Day A Success

A Rockaway mother and daughter share their first paddle together. A Rockaway mother and daughter share their first paddle together. This year's Rockaway Waterfront Alliance second annual Blue Canoe Day drew over 80 paddlers from both the Rockaway community and the greater New York area. Families came out to participate in kayaking on Jamaica Bay to learn about the natural wildlife from tour guide Phil Giller of the Sebago Canoe Club and John Rowden of the Audubon Society.

The event, coordinated and led by Giller, John Wright and Tony Pignatello, was a great success due to the generosity of Sebago Canoe Club members, who all came to the Bayswater Park with boats and crew in tow to treat Rockaway residents to a day on the water; half a dozen Sebago members helped to usher first-time paddlers into the water and did the heavy lifting to load the boats onto the trailer.

In addition to the kayacking, people also enjoyed the Oyster Restoration project, which monitors oyster project sites along the Rockaway shoreline and is run by RWA in conjunction with NY/NJ Baykeeper. Participants helped to count and sort oysters as a part of the ongoing analysis.

Paddlers John Rowden from Audubon Society and Nadej Hocini lead the way back from Dubos Point. Paddlers John Rowden from Audubon Society and Nadej Hocini lead the way back from Dubos Point. Last year's Blue Canoe Day helped to establish the first NYC Blue Water Trail access point in Rockaway at Bayswater Park. At this year's event, people discussed a second access site location on the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's Blue Water Trail at Dubos Point Wildlife Sanctuary. The Rockaway peninsula is the longest stretch of public waterfront in the State of New York, yet there is only one designated public access point (on the Blue Water Trail) along the entire 11-mile stretch. Access points not only welcome community members in the area to be a part of the natural environment in a safe way, but strengthen the preexisting network on NYC's Blue Water Trail. To add support to the RWA petition for additional Blue Water Trail access locations in Rockaway go to www.rwalliance.org.

Team leader Phil Giller from Sebago Canoe Club shows paddlers basic techniques before entering the water. Team leader Phil Giller from Sebago Canoe Club shows paddlers basic techniques before entering the water.

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