Before there was Maple Cove, Jim Crawford didn’t fully appreciate that he lived in a river town.

But not long after the town council designated the undeveloped plot of borough-owned land at the foot of Maple Avenue as an official access to the Navesink River, Crawford became the owner of not one but two kayaks, and is now a river regular.

Same went for Wendy Spencer, who lived for years in Red Bank looking at the river, but not experiencing it. She, too, has a couple kayaks now, and is a frequent paddler.

Recent attention to the little-known river access spot “has opened the eyes of so many people to kayaking and canoeing,” said the American Littoral Society‘s Kathleen Gasienica, a breathing encyclopedia of all things river-related.

But while Maple Cove has begun to attract renewed interest the river, the small beach area will only be one component in a day-long celebration intended to enlighten Red Bankers and others about the natural and recreational wonders of the Navesink.

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menna-burnham1Cindy Burnham and her newest water mate, Mayor Pasquale Menna, who spent Saturday morning kayaking on the Navesink. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is not what you would call a water-sports kind of guy. In fact, he’s nautically challenged, never having learned to swim.

Which is why his arrival Saturday morning at Maple Cove, decked out in a bathing suit and life vest, was so unusual. To then see him take off in a kayak  and skim along the water seemed about as likely as Nessie craning out of the Navesink River.

But Menna, keeping a promise to Maple Cove preservationist and kayaking advocate Cindy Burnham that he’d come down and get a first-hand experience of Maple Cove, did just that, Cindy Burnham-style.

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maple-cove-sign1The Navesink Maritime Heritage Association donated the above sign to be installed at Maple Cove next weekend. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


Nature enthusiasts received a good sign earlier this week — both literally and figuratively — that the patch of land at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank will become a dedicated kayak launch and natural area, as they’ve pushed hard for over the last year.

The one-acre parcel’s moniker, chosen by a pair of Red Bank Regional students last year, was made official Monday night, when representatives from the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association hauled up a heavy-looking cedar sign before the borough council and flashed it for the audience.

Gilded lettering in the center of the 8-foot-long sign reads “MAPLE COVE,” with two small stars vertically placed on each side. The sign is set to be installed at Maple Cove next Saturday, said NMHA official Charlie Ladoulis.

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