A New Opportunity: A Message from Hudson River Sloop Clearwater’s Programs Department
The Pier at Milton Landing has risen from an old barge dock into a beautiful new public pier. Many thanks are due to Howard Baker for getting us involved, and especially to The Milton Landing Committee, The Town of Marlborough Town Board, and the people in this community for making this happen.
Clearwater was built over half a century ago to bring people out to the river, and trusted that the river would do the work of showing the people how beautiful it is and how important it is to take care of it. And Clearwater, much like the Hudson Valley itself, has seen its fair share of changes, both good and bad, over the last 52 years, from the passing of the Clean Water Act, to the NYS DOH Fish Consumption Advisory, to the increasing extreme weather events. We’re constantly preparing for and adapting to the new changes the future may hold for us and the communities on the Hudson River.
One of the main obstacles Clearwater faces, much like many Hudson Valley community members, is river access. There are so many docks that have fallen into disrepair up and down the river and whenever we sail by them we think of the kids, river enthusiasts, valley residents, and future generations that won’t get to be immersed in the beauty of the Hudson without paying a premium. Due to the ever burgeoning waterfront real estate market, the privatization of existing docks and marinas, as well as changes in the maritime industry, our ability to be a consistent physical presence in as many riverside communities as possible has diminished over time. Even with the addition of this dock, we still have limited access to docks on the west side of the river and can only choose between Kingston, Piermont, and now Milton Landing. Like a species lost to time, docks are decaying into the river, transforming what was once only a 20 minute bus ride from a school to the waterfront to a 60 minute trip to a dock on the other side of the river.
We are in constant contact with teachers and community leaders who are interested in our Sailing Classroom program but have a hard time finding a dock nearby that would be easy for buses to get to. We also spend a great deal of time speaking to the public, who remind us that Clearwater used to visit their town and don’t know why we stopped coming. While Clearwater averages engaging with 10,000 people a year through our various programs, that is only a fraction of the population in the Hudson Valley community, and it is our mission to continue to raise awareness to all those who visit and reside about the importance of cherishing this arm of the sea. The re-evaluation of the importance of having waterfront accessibility to riverside community members from shore, as well as visitors by boat can help us realize this mission.
We’re excited to know that docks will not continue to be forgotten and that many people share the feeling that river access isn’t something to let drift away with the tide, especially after the last two hard years we’ve all experienced together amidst the pandemic.
It is with great pleasure that we can be a part of the Marlborough Ribbon Cutting ceremony and celebration on Friday, September 10th at the Milton Landing area at the end of Dock Road in Milton. We hope more riverside communities follow suit and we are excited to plan public sails out of Milton Landing as a part of our 2022 Sailing Season!