Dave and I finally made it to the southern end of windy Lake Champlain. From there we paddled on the Champlain Canal to the Hudson River. The canal has a series of dams and locks. It was pretty nice to use the lock system instead of having to portage. On the canal we saw many barges and tug boats. They are working to dredge parts of the river and remove polluted sand and soil. We are now on the Hudson River, making our way down to New York City.
Students decided in last week’s Cast YOUR Vote that we should learn more about the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. In the 1966 Pete and Toshi Seeger and their organization began to build the Sloop Clearwater. The Clearwater is a sailboat that sails up and down the Hudson River and has worked to clean up the river and teach people about the river. Pete Seeger was a musician, singer and environmentalist. He built the sloop to save the Hudson River. The sloop is a replica of sloops that used to sail the Hudson River in the 18th and 19th centuries. A sloop is a type of sailboat that has one mast with a sail in front and a sail behind the mast. By bringing people to the river, he hoped that people would see how beautiful it is and then want to preserve it.
In the 1960s the Hudson River was more polluted than it is today. Sewage, toxic chemicals and oil polluted the water. Fish had disappeared in many parts of the river. The work of Pete and Toshi Seeger and their organization has definitely had an impact. Many people are working to clean up the Hudson River and it is much cleaner than it was, but it still faces many environmental challenges.
The sloop was completed in 1969 and has sailed the river since. It is 106 feet long. It has been a classroom on the water. It is one of the first boats in the United States to conduct science-based environmental education onboard. Many other environmental education programs have been inspired by the Clearwater. Over half a million people have been on board—getting a close-up look at the Hudson River estuary’s ecosystem.
The Clearwater sails up and down the Hudson River from Albany to New York City. It is now at its home port of Kingston, New York. It will stay here for the winter. The sloop needs some maintenance over the winter in order for it to be ready for next year’s sailing season. As we paddle down the river, any time we see a bald eagle or fish, we think of the Sloop Clearwater.