HVA’s River Adventure makes stops in Connecticut
By Tim Abbott
May, 12, 2011
The morning air on Sunday was crisp and clean as 14 canoes and kayaks began another day of the Housatonic River Adventure. Starting May 3, participants on this waterborne odyssey and those who have gathered with them along the route have celebrated the extraordinary work of local conservation groups to protect and care for the river.
Organized by the Housatonic Valley Association to commemorate its 70th anniversary, the River Adventure is a journey by expert paddlers from the source of the Housatonic River in Massachusetts through the Northwest Corner to Long Island Sound. Events have taken place all along the route to highlight the largely positive changes that are happening within the watershed in response to the commitment of many groups and individuals.
One such stop was at Dutcher’s Bridge where Route 44 crosses over from North Canaan to Salisbury. As the flotilla rested in the cool of the bridge, with bank swallows darting overhead, Lynn Werner, HVA’s executive director, praised the work of The Salisbury Association, The Trustees of Reservations, Connecticut Farmland Trust and other organizations that have together protected more than 5 miles of riparian land along the Housatonic River in this community and are working to conserve another 2 miles.
She awarded George Massey and Lou Hecht of Salisbury Land Trust a certificate in recognition of its dedication to conservation and commitment to effective partnerships.
Expert paddlers were accompanied by members of the public and press for this river section as far as the Great Falls of the Housatonic, where there was a portage to the park across from the Falls Village Power Station.
After lunch, the more skilled participants continued down into the swiftly moving waters of the Housatonic under the leadership of Nic Osborn, Bill Tingley and Schuyler Thomson, who also made the same Source to Sound trip in 1995.
Later that afternoon at Housatonic Meadows, a celebratory picnic featured Cornwall’s Grumbling Gryphon’s Children’s Theater and a raptor demonstration by Scott Heth of the Sharon Audubon Center among other attractions.
Thomson told the gathering that the river has changed noticibly since the last time the trio went through.
“The water is cleaner, there is less trash, and the surrounding lands have seen remarkable restoration and preservation efforts,” he said. “When you get out on the river, you become part of it, and that connection stays with you.”
The River Adventure concluded on May 12 in Milford where the Housatonic estuary reaches the Long Island Sound.