Hundreds Of New Yorkers Navigate The Waters At The 9th Annual Amazing Bronx River FlotillaFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Five-Mile Canoe Procession Kicks Off Paddling Season, Celebrates Revitalization of Bronx River
Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis, Council Member Oliver Koppell, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chairman of the Bronx River Alliance Joan Byron, Bronx River Administrator/Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance Linda Cox, and over 200 paddlers to navigate five miles down the New York City portion of the Bronx River in the 9th Annual Amazing Bronx River Flotilla. The flotilla symbolized the official start to paddling season along the Bronx River and celebrated the ongoing renewal of the river’s ecological health.
“The Bronx River Flotilla encourages New Yorkers to get out on the water and celebrate the revitalization of the Bronx River, one of the City’s greatest natural resources,” said Commissioner Benepe. “After decades of neglect, the river is now well on its way back to ecological health, thanks to the joint stewardship of the Parks Department, the Bronx River Alliance and partner community groups whose conservation efforts have made the river not only clean enough for us to paddle today, but also cleaner for plants and animals, like José the Beaver, who call the river home. The progress we’ve made and continue to make cleaning up the Bronx River demonstrates Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to open up the great waterways for recreational use and create a cleaner, greener New York City.”
With $70 million in park and greenway construction and natural area restoration in progress, the Bronx River will soon be a major recreational and ecological resource for city residents.
A flotilla of nearly 70 canoes and kayaks navigated by local residents as well as elected officials launched this morning on the Bronx River from Shoelace Park at 219th Street in Olinville, floated past the newly renovated $1.4 million River Park and Concrete Plant Park which is under $10 million in renovation, and finished three hours later down river at Hunt’s Point Riverside Park, where an afternoon picnic celebration was underway and enthusiastic crowds greeted the paddlers.
We're thrilled to present the 9th Annual Amazing Bronx River Festival,” said Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance and Bronx River Administrator Linda Cox. “Paddling down the river on a spring day is a fantastic way to celebrate the progress we've made in cleaning up the river and developing the Bronx River Greenway.”
In an effort to “green” the river and its surrounding areas, Parks is in the midst of creating the Bronx River Greenway, an eight-mile long bike and pedestrian pathway that will increase public access to the river and provide enhanced waterfront recreational opportunities in the Bronx. The Bronx River Alliance stewards the river and was awarded a 2007 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder Award for their efforts and accomplishments in the river’s restoration.
The Bronx River is believed to be a pre-glacial stream whose course has been reshaped and modified over time. Historically, the river has suffered from flooding, erosion, and habitat loss. Since the 1990’s the river has been restored back to ecological health and today, the Bronx River Corridor is home to more than 250 thriving species of native flora such as pin oak, river birch, and white snakeroot, and native fauna, including the mallard, muskrat, and beaver. The Bronx River is also a popular paddling site. Parks and the Bronx River Alliance offer free, seasonal canoe programs open to the public.
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