Hackensack Riverkeeper, Bergen Executive Dedicate New Kayak Center
By Mel Fabrikant Sunday, September 08, 2013, 04:31 PM EDT
This morning under sunny skies Hackensack Riverkeeper Captain Bill Sheehan and Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan cut the ceremonial ribbon at the official Grand Opening of the Overpeck Park Kayak Center.
The dedication event kicked off the third annual Hackensack River Paddle – in which over 100 paddlers participated in an endurance event to raise funds for Riverkeeper's clean water agenda. The paddle is a Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series Event presented nationally by Toyota; and is one of many such events across the US to show support for clean water.
“All of us at Hackensack Riverkeeper are happy to be working in partnership with the Parks Department to bring a new amenity to the people of Bergen County,” said Captain Sheehan. “And I am very proud and honored to stand on behalf of them with the County Executive and our dignitaries assembled today.”
In addition to Ms. Donovan, Captain Sheehan was joined at the ribbon-cutting by Freeholder Vice-chair Joan Voss, Freeholders John Felice, John Mitchell, Steve Tanelli and Tracy Silna Zur; Ridgefield Park Mayor George Fosdick, Leonia Councilman Gilbert Hawkins and Waterkeeper Alliance Executive Director Marc Yaggi. Upon Freeholder Mitchell’s arrival, the captain – serving as the event’s emcee – quipped, “With all these officials here this morning, we may need to have a reading of the Sunshine Law.”
After the official proceedings were concluded, the SPLASHers were treated to music provided by Frantic! – a three-man rock and roll band from northern New Jersey.
The Overpeck Park Kayak Center is the second kayak & canoe livery service operated by Hackensack Riverkeeper, the other being their Paddling Center at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus, now in its 14th year of operation. The opening of the new center marks major milestones for both Riverkeeper and the county. Overpeck’s major amenities are now complete and park – located along Overpeck Creek in Englewood, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Teaneck – continues to grow in popularity. For Riverkeeper, today's events signify a new, major step in the group's efforts to restore water-based recreation to the Hackensack River and its tributaries.
“We unofficially opened a month ago and used that time to fine-tune the operation with our managers John Normile and John Sailer, and their team,” said Sheehan of the two longtime Paddling Center staffers and their five coworkers. “Now everything is set and good to go.”
The Kayak Center is best reached via the park’s entrance on Fort Lee Road in Leonia. Drivers should bear right at the circle. Center hours are 2-7PM Wednesday through Friday; and 9AM - 6PM weekends through October 27. Base rental is $15 per paddler for 2 hours; and $10 each additional hour. The center’s 2014 season will commence on April 26.
Follow SPLASH on Twitter: @Toyota and @Waterkeeper #SplashSeries
Follow SPLASH on Facebook: facebook.com/Toyota and facebook.com/Waterkeeper