Capital to Capital Canoe Expedition presentation in Yonkers on Saturday, September 29
1,000 mile Canadian and American canoe expedition advocates for clean, healthy rivers
Meet the 10 intrepid Canadian and American canoeists who are paddling over 1,000 miles from Ottawa, Ontario, to Washington, DC, in a 36-foot voyageur canoe. They’ll be joined by a rotating shift of locals along the way: Lenore Person, a Dobbs Ferry resident and Director of Development with Beczak Environmental Education Center, will paddle with them on the Hudson River.
The Capital to Capital Canoe Expedition RiverTalks presentation will share adventures and images from the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Champlain, the Champlain Canal and the Hudson River. Participants will learn about Canada’s approach to the problems their waterways face, and discuss what the paddlers have discovered from local residents and organizations about the waterways on which they travel.
“This is the dream,” says team leader and long distance paddler Max Finkelstein. “That our two countries work together to transcend political borders to protect and restore our rivers.” To symbolize this idea, their cargo includes a bottle of Ottawa River water from the foot of the parliament buildings, to be mixed with the waters of the Potomac in Washington.
The Capital to Capital Canoe Expedition’s call for clean water is timely. Earlier this year, New York State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz ruled that the Department of Environmental Conservation’s permit system failed to meet a federal mandate to protect the waters. “It is probably one of the most significant threats to water quality that we have today,” Kate Hudson, watershed program director with Riverkeeper, said of stormwater runoff. Eight environmental groups, including the Hudson Riverkeeper and the Long Island Soundkeeper, are locked in a battle with New York State, charging that a stormwater system permit that municipalities must sign onto fails to do enough to ensure that oils, fertilizer, animal feces and other pollutants are stopped on their way.
The Capital to Capital team includes Max Finkelstein from Ottawa, a long distance paddler and author of Canoeing a Continent; Nicholas Tilgner, a Yukon River Guide, Dot Bonnenfant, long distance paddler and artist, and Willis Elkins, trip leader/canoe instructor for the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Lenore Person, Beczak’s Director of Development, will be joining them for the Hudson River leg, paddling from Beacon to Yonkers.
The Capital to Capital Canoe Expedition is supported by the Canadian Wildlife Fund, and offered hospitality by Riverkeepers along the way. Canadian groups include Ottawa Riverkeeper, Canadian Heritage Rivers System, and Canadian Canoe Foundation; Hudson River groups including Hudson Riverkeeper, Hudson River Watertrail Association, Hudson River Valley Greenway, Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club, and Beczak Environmental Education Center; and mid-Atlantic groups including Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Raritan Riverkeeper and Potomac Riverkeeper.