BETHLEHEM—Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D-109) and Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson cut the ribbon on a new kayak and canoe launch at Henry Hudson Park in the hamlet of Selkirk on Tuesday, Aug. 30, preceding a weekly evening paddling excursion organized by the Albany chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
Funded by part of a $250,000 state capital grant secured by Fahy, the launch is part of Bethlehem’s new Parks Master Plan initiative. “We’ve wanted a non-motorized water craft launch for some time,” said Clarkson, pointing out that the park already has an official DEC motorized boat launch. “The vision that is being sketched for the town,” he said, “by our local waterfront revitalization group includes a series of linked kayak launches. People who paddle don’t just paddle here in Bethlehem, they paddle all over the region. Things like this help to create the Capital Region as a destination spot.” In addition to being fun way to get exercise, said Clarkson, bringing paddlers to the town will be good for the local economy as well.
“A launching site for kayaks and canoes was identified as a short term priority,” said Nan Lanahan, administrator at the Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department. “We will soon be developing a new master plan specifically for Henry Hudson Park in conjunction with our Local Waterfront Revitalization Initiative, providing direction for additional improvements.” Lanahan thanked Fahy for making the funds available to “provide this long-desired amenity.”
“Improving recreational and environmental facilities within municipalities in my district is a priority to help spur local economic development while promoting good health,” said Fahy. “I’m pleased to have helped secure the needed funds to make the Town of Bethlehem’s kayak and canoe launch a reality.
“It’s been such a pleasure to work with the town to make this happen,” she said, noting that Clarkson first came to her with the idea about two years ago. “I really believe that when we take advantage of these types of outdoor activities, the better stewards we and our children will be of the environment and of the Hudson River and this area in general.”
After Clarkson and Fahy cut the ribbon with members of the Friends of Bethlehem Parks and Recreation, both officials got into kayaks and paddled out onto the river with approximately two dozen other paddlers in both kayaks and canoes. “I actually own a kayak,” Fahy said. Then she laughed. “But I’ve only used it once. Maybe this will inspire me to get out on the river more often.”
The same grant money is also funding the new playground being built on Sept. 17 at Elm Avenue Park (volunteers who want to help can sign up here) and, eventually, new fitness equipment for that park as well.