Idlewild Kayak Launch Invites Paddlers To Explore Jamaica Bay
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined Assembly Member Michele Titus, Council Member James Sanders, Eastern Queens Alliance Chairperson Barbara Brown, and kayakers from Sebago Canoe Club to celebrate the new kayak and canoe launch in Idlewild Park Preserve, part of the ever-expanding NYC Water Trail. This new launch provides access to the Idewild Salt Marsh, which is the headwater for Jamaica Bay.
"New York City’s shorelines have been largely dominated by commerce and industry for centuries, but throughout the city, we are building and renovating parks to reconnect the public with the water." said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Many of the City’s parks have canoe and kayak launches, with more on the way. We are connecting these parks with the City’s first Water Trail system to provide scenic, safe water routes between parks. The new Idlewild Park Preserve launch is a vital link in this trail that provides paddlers with access to Jamaica Bay and the wetlands and tributaries that so many wading birds, such as egrets, ibis and herons, call home."
This new link in the NYC Water Trail was funded with $65,000 from Mayor Bloomberg and a $15,000 grant from J.M. Kaplan through the Eastern Queens Alliance. In addition to the installation of the ramp, the funding allowed for plantings and new grass in surrounding area. A second $15,000 grant from J.M. Kaplan will provide equipment for paddling workshops. From this fixed, wooden ramp, kayakers and canoers can explore Jamaica Bay, the freshwater and tidal wetlands and the meandering tributaries of Hook Creek.
Idlewild Park Preserve, located in the Rosedale section of Queens, is 160-acre nature preserve. Parks’ Natural Resource Group and the Department of Environmental Protection manage the marsh habitat for the protection of colonial wading birds, which breed locally on rookery islands. The marsh provides essential habitat egrets, ibis, and herons, which make up 25 percent of the northeast Atlantic population.
The waters along the Idlewild Park Preserve also act as a natural filtration system for Queens’ groundwater. The salt marsh prevents contaminants from entering Jamaica Bay by trapping pollutants, improves the water quality and helps to keep the ocean from flooding the southern half of Queens and parts of Brooklyn.
The NYC Water Trail is currently in the planning stages and 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. The guide is scheduled to be online next spring with a print version shortly after.
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