Hackensack Riverkeeper invites members of the press to join them for their first-ever fishing derby on the Hackensack River. The event will take place Saturday, September 24, 2016, at 10:45 a.m., on the newly constructed 300-foot Laurel Hill County Park Waterfront Promenade, at the southern end of Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, NJ. The park entrance is located at the end of New County Road/Paul Amico Way (GPS: use 1000 New County Road, Secaucus).
Check-in begins at 10:00 a.m. and opening ceremonies will take place at 10:45 a.m. The derby itself starts promptly at 11:15 a.m. Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, and Hudson County Improvement Authority CEO Norman Guerra are among the dignitaries expected to attend. Representatives from Waterkeeper Alliance® and TOYOTA will also be present.
RiverFest: Pirates of the Hackensack is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Event Series, presented nationally by TOYOTA. It is the first SPLASH event in the country to focus on fishing. All proceeds raised will benefit Hackensack Riverkeeper and its ongoing mission to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River.
The event partner and fishing derby-host, Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (HRFA), will present free rod and reel combos to the first 100 children who check in at the derby. Throughout the day children and adults alike will be introduced to many of the clean water issues – both historic and current – affecting the Hackensack River and its wildlife. The derby is strictly a Catch-and-Release event.
“We are the Johnny Appleseed of the fishing world. The tackle is for the kids to keep, in the hope that they will become anglers dedicated to protecting the aquatic environment,” said HRFA President Gil Hawkins. “I commend all of our HRFA volunteers in our Youth Angler Program, especially Carl Bruger, who single-handedly managed to acquire all the rods and reels we will be putting in the hands of these youngsters.”
Pirates will rule the day – with all participants encouraged to dress (and talk) like a pirate. Prizes will be awarded for Best Pirate, First Fish, Biggest Fish, Most Fish and more. Fishing ends at 4:00 p.m. and awards will be presented immediately following.
“Of course the best prize is the river itself. While it’s certainly come a very long way since the days of factories and landfills, there’s still a long way to go before we can safely eat the fish the river provides,” said Captain Bill Sheehan. “And while that might discourage some people, it only makes Hackensack Riverkeeper work harder.”
Local event sponsors also include Inserra Supermarkets, SUEZ Water North Jersey, PSE&G, Hackensack University Medical Center, Whole Foods Market, XChange at Secaucus Junction, Natoli’s Deli of Secaucus, and Ramsey Outdoor Stores.
For more information on the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Event Series presented nationally by Toyota, please visit www.splashseries.org.Schedule:
10:00 a.m. – Check-in for fishing derby begins
10:45 a.m. - Plaque Unveiling Ceremony
Capt. Bill Sheehan
County Executive Thomas DeGise
HCIA CEO- Norman Guerra
11:00 a.m. - Opening Ceremonies Fishing Derby
Hackensack Riverkeeper- Capt. Bill Sheehan
Secaucus Mayor- Michael Gonnelli
Waterkeeper Alliance - Executive Director Marc Yaggi
Hudson River Fishermen’s Association - President Gil Hawkins
11:15 a.m. - Go Fish!
12:00 p.m. - FREE hot dogs for participants – while they last – provided by HRFA
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. – Boat launch area: Free mini Eco-Cruises
11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. – Boat launch area: Free one-hour paddles. Age restrictions apply.
4:00 p.m. – Lines up (fishing derby ends)!
4:30 p.m. - Awards
Please note: No backpacks will be permitted at Riverfest: Pirates of the Hackensack
Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. The group engages in a fourfold strategy of environmental action, advocacy, education and litigation in its ongoing work to
protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River Watershed.