Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and the just-plain-interested are invited to Maple Cove this Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day offers area residents a new perspective on Red Bank’s most beautiful asset and resource.
It’s about kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing, standup paddling. Actually, it’s about the history, culture, and ecology of the waterway from which a vibrant community took shape. Or perhaps more to the point, it’s about the opportunity to get acquainted — or to fall in love all over again — with the greater Red Bank Green’s most beautiful asset, resource, pride and joy.
When the event known as Paddle the Navesink Day returns for a fifth edition this Saturday, September 12, the rain-or-shine, late-summer “free community-wide celebration” will once again represent a unique convergence of local businesses, boating clubs and nonprofit organizations that’s hands-on, oars-in, and ready to make a believer of anyone who might have taken the river’s charms for granted.
First presented in 2010 (don’t bother checking the math; the event took a one-year hiatus in 2013), Paddle the Navesink was spearheaded and co-founded by (then-future) borough councilwoman Cindy Burnham in partnership with Navesink River Rowing, whose Linda Ensor has explained the event’s origin as rooted in the fact that “Many people know about Red Bank, the shopping and dining, but they know very little about the water.”
Paddle Day has also served to acquaint local residents with Maple Cove, the onetime “best kept secret” area at the foot of Maple Avenue (adjacent to the Hovnanian building) that offers Red Bank’s only direct public access to the Navesink. It’s there that NRR teamed with several locally based environmental action groups, clubs and businesses to “foster awareness about the river’s ecosystems, history, athletic challenges, excitement and wonders” — and it’s there that all members of the community are invited to gather, regardless of watersports experience, for a day of fun and fact that runs from 12 to 4 pm.
All those who ever wanted to try kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, rowing shell, sailing or even paddle board Yoga in a safe and supportive setting are invited to come down to the Cove, where Brick-based Jersey Paddler will be furnishing 25 different types of kayaks and paddle boards to demo on the river under the supervision of certified instructors. Navesink River Rowing will host Open House demos of rowing shells at their facility across from Maple Cove — and Sally El-Sadek of Bodhi Ama SUP Yoga will be taking anyone who is interested in paddle board Yoga out on the water for a quick lesson.
There’s lots to learn, from a collection of nonprofits and governmental agencies who will be on hand with informational displays and interactive presentations — including the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, who will offer details on its Family Public Canoeing Programs (ages 10-14) and Sea Scouts Program (ages 14-21). Personnel from the Monmouth County Park System will provide info on the full-year schedule of programs at the many nearby county parks — and the Society for the Education of American Sailors (SEAS), a non profit group that offers sailing lessons for adults, will discuss its various programs.
Kids are invited to get their feet wet at water’s edge, as Jeff Dement of the Sandy Hook-based American Littoral Society takes children seining in the river, catching aquatic creatures in a seine net and taking a closer look in a “touch tank” before returning the river’s treasures back to the Navesink. Volunteers from Clean Ocean Action will host a children’s fish printing activity, and the David P. Civile Foundation for Boating Safety will provide information on staying safe while having fun on the water.
With parking limited around the Cove, guests are encouraged to utilize the many public parking options on Front, White and Monmouth streets — and if you’re walking west toward Maple Cove on Front Street, be sure to stop in at the Red Bank Public Library, scene of a Saturday bake sale (and a year-round spectacular view of the Navesink). The historic Monmouth Boat Club (at the foot of Boat Club Court off West Front) will once again host an Open House event concurrent with Paddle Day, during which guests can enjoy free sailboat rides, learn about the MBC’s youth and adult programs, and enjoy free hot dogs and hamburgers.
More information on Paddle the Navesink Day can be obtained by contacting Councilwoman Cindy Burnham at (732)241-9532 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Linda Ensor at (732)693-3067 or Linda.email@example.com.