Sunday, April 4, 2004
Rent a canoe & kayaks, too
By Lisa Goodnight, Staff Writer
SECAUCUS - It was a little too cold to go out in a rental canoe on the Hackensack River on Saturday but Jared Eudell waited at Laurel Hill County Park anyway, eager to make a deal.
By noon, he still had no takers.
"We expect it to be slow in the beginning," said Eudell, project manager for the environmental group Hackensack Riverkeeper. "I don't think we ever had anybody come out on opening day. That's fine. It gives us a chance to get our ducks in a row."
The Hackensack Riverkeeper opened its canoe season as it has for the past six years on the first dry Saturday in April - even though most people don't come out until May.
"We're catering to the hard-core paddlers who want to get out this time of year," Eudell said. "These people who come out in April, they have a severe case of cabin fever."
In May, the Hackensack Riverkeeper plans to hold a kickoff ceremony to celebrate the program's expansion to 12 kayaks. They were bought with a $6,600 grant from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation. Eudell and volunteer Michael Bartels spent Saturday stenciling the group's name on the lemon-colored kayaks.
"It's one thing to be told about the river,'' Eudell said. "It's another thing to see it from the shore."
The group hopes to build boat launches in other towns. When the Laurel Hill area opened in 1997, it was the first new Hudson County park in more than seven decades.
Now, all Eudell hopes for is good weather for the canoe and kayak season, which ends in October.
On March 24, the New Jersey Meadowlands opened its first marked canoe trail through the Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus. That trail, west of the New Jersey Turnpike's eastern spur, will be open until May.
Harvey Karp, 54, of Kearny walked past the stacked canoes and kayaks after an early morning of fishing. While he typically catches bass and perch, Saturday he came up empty. As for canoeing, Karp said he'd consider it.
But "not today," he said. "I'm going home to have some hot tea."