Temporarily Relocated: Spirit Intact

Kids in Nyack-based River Rowing Association’s rowing program will again practice in “half court” waters, club president Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky’s description of its temporary practice site, Rockland Lake.

It’s a “beautiful venue yet half the length — about 1000 meters of rowable water — we need for training our youth teams,” Rudolph-Shabinsky said. Races are typically between 2000 and 5000 meters; he likened it to a basketball team practicing half-court, or a track team running on half a track.

Courtesy of River Rowing Association

Courtesy of River Rowing Association

Last May — shortly after Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) set up camp — he and RRA directors Joe Devoe and Peter Klose explained their predicament to TZC’s Carla Julian, special project advisor Brian Conybeare, and a representative from the Thruway Authority.

“A lot of what we do is trying to get the community access to not only rowing but the river,” Rudolph-Shabinsky explained. “Some kids are doing this strictly for recreation and fitness, and other kids are doing this to get into college. Are we disadvantaging a group of kids who are not able to get the same access to the river? Most of these kids have one chance to do something like this.”

By mid-September, the U.S. Coast Guard had established a Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) for the navigable Hudson River waters surrounding the Tappan Zee Bridge, to be enforced until December 31, 2018.

“We’re envisioning this will impact us for five years, and we’re hoping they (project officials) will help us find a location in Piermont to get back on the river,” Rudolph-Shabinsky said.

Note: RRA plans to meet with project official to finalize arrangements for the 6th Annual 25K Hudson River Challenge (Tappan Zee Bridge to the George Washington Bridge) in September.

“All boats start from Nyack at the same time, and they (project officials) said they’d accommodate us for one hour at the start of the race for a safe passage,” Rudolph-Shabinsky said. Last year’s race was canceled because the dock used suffered post-Sandy damage.

The Hudson River and the Rockland County shoreline are dotted with construction equipment, with more to come.

The Hudson River and the Rockland County shoreline are dotted with construction equipment, with more to come.

Started in 2009 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage of discovery, the popular race “open to all human powered vessels, including rowing shells, outrigger canoes, kayaks, etc.,” he said.

Members have been training indoors on rowing machines at the Nyack YMCA and at Nyack Fitness since November; its second winter session began last week (January 2). “We will be participating in some indoor races, including C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints in Boston in February,” Rudolph-Shabinsky said.

When spring season opens in March, RRA’s Clarkstown (afterschool) program will use Congers Lake; other schools that row as RRA and the adult programs will use Rockland Lake (subject to final approval from the NYS Parks Commission). Programs at the state park begin at 5:30 a.m. (morning workouts) and continue until dark (afternoon programs) — with the first race one month later in Greenwich, CT.

RRA applied for consideration under the Community Benefits Program grant; its request for funds to develop a multi-use access point via local municipalities was acknowledged, director Joe Devoe said.

Devoe has confirmed its willingness and desire to work with TZC and the Thruway Authority to incorporate an area on the Rockland shoreline — in immediate proximity of the existing or new bridge landfall point — in the form of a concession or long-term lease of available land or on pilings over the river in that same area.

“This would leave a positive long-lasting legacy related to this major project and its five-year limitation on local Hudson River recreational use,” he said.

September — and the 25K Challenge — will be here before you know it!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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