Sloop Clearwater Named to
Designation Marks Founder Pete Seegers 85th Birthday & 35th Anniversary of Sloops Launch
Mr. Seegers idealist dream became reality when the sloop launched May 17, 1969 from South Bristol, ME. One year later, it sailed to Washington, DC to build momentum in Congress for passage of the Clean Water Act, one of the nations most successful environmental laws. Originally built as a replica of mid-19th century sloops that sailed cargo along the Hudson River for commerce, the 108-foot tall masted tallship now delivers educational programs and a message about respect for the Hudson River. In the 35 years since its launch, more than 430,000 young people and hundreds of thousands of adults have sailed aboard Clearwater to participate in environmental education programs.
The sloop itself played the starring role in the days events, tacking across the Hudson throughout the press conference, and performing a magnificent Hudson River Gybe just as Commissioner Castro was presenting a certificate to Clearwater.
The sloop Clearwater is a majestic symbol of the Hudson River and underscores the progress we have made to help safeguard New Yorks waterways through environmental awareness and education, providing more opportunities for children and visitors alike to learn about and experience the Hudson River, Governor George E. Pataki said. For more than 35 years, this floating classroom has taught us not only about the importance of preserving the Hudson River for future generations, but has given us a glimpse into the Rivers past, and the crucial role it has played in our cultural, environmental and economic heritage. Clearwater Executive Director Andy Mele couldnt be happier. This important honor means our sloop has been granted the recognition it deserves, joining the ranks of other important icons, he said. It doesnt matter that Clearwater is sailing on the Hudson and not perched forever atop a stone foundation. The river is our foundation, and our landscape is the landscape that defined America. Clearwater is a link binding Americas history, its sense of place, and its moral awakening to environmentalism. Today we honor the Clearwater, and recognize a group of forward-thinking, courageous people who came together to help build and sustain a national treasure that is truly Americas Environmental Flagship.
Supporters from across New York State, the country and around the world gathered at a special celebration to toast the Clearwaters newest accolade and to give special recognition to the group of friends who rallied around Mr. Seeger in the 1960s to build the sloop. Among those instrumental in helping Mr. Seeger fulfill his dreams include his wife Toshi Seeger and Vic Schwarz, who will bring along the copy of Sloops of the Hudson that spawned the idea to build a sloop. Sandy Saunders, founding president of Clearwater, Allan Aunapu, the sloops first captain, and Cy Hamlin, the sloops designer, attended the celebration hosted by Hudson River Park Trust at Pier 40 in New York City. Other founding honorees included Hal and Debbie Cohen, Stan Dickstein, Bob and Barbara Bielenberg, Terry Waivada, Helene Remer, and Don Presutti.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin M. Crotty lauded Clearwaters work. This designation recognizes the important work being done by Clearwater and illustrates the tremendous progress weve made in restoring the Hudson River. Thanks to the unwavering commitment by Governor Pataki and the tireless efforts of environmental organizations like Clearwater, the Hudson is healthier than it has been in decades.
Anne Todd Osborn, president of the Clearwater board of directors, is grateful to be a part of this important honor. Saving the river is still Job #1 onboard Clearwater every day, Ms. Osborn said. Clearwater brings top quality science-based environmental education to more than 15,000 school children annually, and we provide a continuum of opportunities for their parents and neighbors to learn how to protect and improve the communities where they live. Its very exciting to see that recognized by an important honor such as the National Register!
Politicians, including U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey are also taking note. The success of the Clearwater has enhanced, preserved and promoted environmental awareness, Senator Clinton said. This deserving distinction to the National Register of Historic Places is a testament to the hard work and determination of everyone affiliated with the sloop. I commend you. Congressman Hinchey also had high praise. The Sloop Clearwaters designation to the National Historic Register is an important recognition of the invaluable contribution that our Environmental Flagship has made over the past three decades to protecting and restoring the Hudson River, which has been named an American Heritage River. The sloop Clearwater is a national treasure that has inspired generations of citizens and served as a model for waterway protection efforts both nationally and internationally, he said.
Established in 1966, the National Register identifies and documentsin partnership with state, federal, and tribal preservation programsdistricts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. The sloop was added to the New York State Register of Historic Places on February 17, 2004.
The sloop Clearwater, Americas Environmental Flagship, has been sailing for 35 years and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 2004. More than 430,000 young people and hundreds of thousands of adults have participated in Clearwaters shipboard and land-based education programs and events. Members of this Clearwater Generation are active and informedand they vote!