The North and South Branches of the Raritan River are a beautiful sight from all angles. But my favorite vantage point, as you might guess from the title of this column, is from my kayak.
There’s something about being in a kayak, low in the water, that makes you feel part of the river. You see incredible wildlife – great blue herons, mink, bald eagles, painted turtles, kingfishers and much more – that you might not spot from land.
But not everyone has access to a kayak.
That’s why one of the top items on Raritan Headwaters’ wish list was getting a fleet of kayaks to allow us to introduce people to the river who might not otherwise have the opportunity. When folks develop a personal connection to the river, they become stewards who are vigilant about protecting it!
Our wish was granted this spring, when generous attendees at our Earth Day celebration donated funds through an aptly-named “paddle auction.” These funds enabled us to purchase eight kayaks, along with paddles, life vests and a trailer.
The new fleet of kayaks will allow more people to join our “Sojourn” series of paddles on the Raritan River and experience nature up close.
But that’s not all. Every spring, Raritan Headwaters organizes a stream cleanup day that mobilizes over 1,500 volunteers to clean up the banks of rivers, streams and lakes. With kayaks, we’ll be able to reach trash in the middle of waterways - bottles, plastic bags, old tires and other debris – to improve the river’s health.
The kayaks will also come in handy with RHA’s annual stream monitoring program, to make sure that all parts of the North Branch and South Branch are clean enough for fishing and swimming.
Interested in joining us on a kayaking Sojourn? For information on events, visit our website at www.raritanheadwaters.org and sign up for e-news, or like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/raritanheadwaters
From the Kayak
By Cindy Ehrenclou
Executive Director Raritan Headwaters Association
Photo courtesy of RHA