Archive for March, 2013

Riverkeeper Offers Eco Programs: Cruises, Paddles, Cleanups, Birdwalks

March 27, 2013

Guest Post by Captain Hugh Carola

Hackensack Riverkeeper is happy to announce the release of its 2013 Eco-Programs schedule. Once again the clean water advocacy group is poised to provide thousands of people with an up-close and personal experience of the river, its watershed and wildlife. Eco-Cruises, Guided Paddles, River Cleanups and Bird-Walks combine hands-on environmental education with public service and fun – and have since 1997. The 2013 Eco-Program season runs from Earth Day weekend (April 20-21) through the end of October.

“We were very fortunate in that Hurricane Sandy caused us very little damage,” said Captain Bill Sheehan. “We hauled and secured our pontoon boats before the storm hit; and our Paddling Center made it through alright. Captain Hugh and I are very anxious to get out on the water and see what changes – if any – there are on the river and in the Meadowlands.”

Hackensack Riverkeeper offers four unique and distinct Eco-Programs:

ECO-CRUISES This is Hackensack Riverkeeper’s signature environmental education program. Thirty-eight Open Eco-Cruises are scheduled from May 4 through October 13 aboard the pontoon cruisers Edward Abbey and Robert H. Boyle. Open trips are great for individuals, couples and families and can be had for a donation of $25 per person for adults / $10 for kids 4-12. Three distinct Eco-Cruise itineraries are offered: Meadowlands Discovery, which explores the wetlands & creeks of the river’s estuary; Boating through Bergen, which runs upriver to the center of Hackensack and the museum ship USS Ling; and Excursion Around the Bay, a maritime history tour to Staten Island and back past the port facilities of Newark and Elizabeth.

Charter Eco-Cruises can be arranged for groups of up to 26 people for any available date/time May 1 through October 28. Hackensack Riverkeeper asks a donation of $300 per boat for Adult Charter Eco-Cruises and $250 for Youth Charters. Half-day Combo Programs are also available for schools. Those interested can call Program Director Captain Hugh Carola at 201-968-0808 for more info or to book a trip. Open Eco-Cruise dates/times are not available for charters.

PADDLING CENTER Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Paddling Center, located on the river at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, NJ will be open weekends April 20 through October 28 weather permitting. The Center offers canoe & kayak rentals ($25 per paddler w/ a 2-paddler minimum) as well as Guided Paddles conducted by manager John Sailer and his team. Twenty-two tours are scheduled including five popular Full Moon paddles. Costs: $30 per paddler / $15 per paddler for those their own boat(s). Private Group Paddle tours at reasonable rates can be arranged by calling Capt. Hugh at 201-968-0808 or e-mailing

In addition to Paddling Center events, Hackensack Riverkeeper’s 5th Annual Reservoir Challenge takes place Saturday, June 1 at Oradell Reservoir; the 3rd Annual Lake Tappan Paddle Day is set for Saturday, August 10; and the 3rd Annual SPLASH event takes to the water at Overpeck Park in Teaneck on September 7. Call 201-968-0808 for details or go to:

RIVER CLEANUPS These active conservation events, which give people the opportunity to give back to the environment, take on additional meaning this year in our post-Sandy world. River Cleanups are scheduled at eight different waterside locations within the Hackensack River Watershed from April 13 through October 20. Hackensack Riverkeeper provides cleanup tools and supplies as well as refreshments for all volunteers. All they ask is that everyone pitch in and help rid local waterways of litter and other debris. For more information about River Cleanups including group participation and the organization’s Corporate River Stewardship Program, call Events and Outreach Coordinator Sarah Menchise at 201-968-0808 or e-mail her at

BIRD-WALKS For groups interested in birding and bird study, Captain Hugh Carola is available to lead Bird-Walks or hawk watches at local birding hotspots within the Hackensack River Watershed region. For more information, including itinerary options, call 201-968-0808. Costs: $150-$200 depending on location and duration of trip; for up to 12 people.

INDOOR PRESENTATIONS Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola are available to conduct multimedia presentations to groups of any size at any date and time. They have a wealth of materials including PowerPoint slideshows and video screenings that are appropriate for all age groups. Presenters will be sure to bring informational literature for all attendees. Costs: $150 if presented within the Bergen, Hudson, southern Rockland, eastern Passaic or greater Newark areas; $200 – $300 if presented further afield. Call 201-968-0808 for more information.

“All of us at Hackensack Riverkeeper are looking forward to a great new season on and about the water,” said Program Director Captain Hugh Carola. “You can do, you can learn, you can work out, or you can just sit back and let the boat and your captain do all the work; but whatever you prefer, we know that you’ll go home with a new appreciation of your Hackensack River.”

All Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Program info including schedules is available at

Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. A founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the group engages in a four-point clean water strategy (Action, Advocacy, Education and Litigation) in its ongoing work to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River. Eco-Programs focus on environmental action and education.

For schedules and details, call 201-968-0808