Four New Englanders have begun to canoe and kayak across Rhode Island from north to south to advocate for improved river access.
Their journey started at the Blackstone River in North Smithfield. They'll paddle and portage their way down to Westerly. Chuck Horbert of Scituate said their route will take them through eight different rivers, portions of the upper Narragansett Bay, and through 17 of the state's 39 cities and towns. Horbert, who sits on the board of the Rhode Island Blueways Alliance, said this trip is a personal challenge.
"And also I want to use it to raise awareness of how communities can reconnect to their rivers and highlighting some of the work that various groups like watershed councils and cities and towns have down to improve access, and other agencies, which have worked to improve water quality in all the rivers," said Horbert.
They’ve scheduled events along the way.
“I’m going to do some presentations on canoe, camping, and safety to various youth groups and scout groups," said Hortbert. "And at least one program with a town…two programs with towns…the towns of West Warwick and Coventry."
Horbert will also highlight some of the new paddler access projects completed by various towns and watershed groups.
The trip will take eight days to complete, using a primarily inland route. Horbert expects to reach Westerly this Sunday after traveling for 101 miles, if everything goes as planned. Jim Cole of Charlestown, David Smith of Westerly, and Bill Luther of Seekonk, Mass., join Horbert on this paddle journey.