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Under sunny late summer skies, Hackensack Riverkeeper Capt. Bill Sheehan and Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan recently cut the ceremonial ribbon at the official grand opening of the Overpeck Park Kayak Center. The dedication kicked off the third annual Hackensack River Paddle where more than 100 paddlers participated in an endurance event to raise funds for Riverkeeper’s clean water agenda. The Paddle is a Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series Event presented nationally by Toyota and is one of many such events across the US to show support for clean water.
“All of us at Hackensack Riverkeeper are happy to be working in partnership with the parks department to bring a new amenity to the people of Bergen County,” said Sheehan.
Sheehan was also joined at the ribbon-cutting by Freeholder Vice Chairwoman Joan Voss, Freeholders John Felice, John Mitchell, Steve Tanelli and Tracy Silna Zur, Ridgefield Park Mayor George Fosdick, Leonia Councilman Gilbert Hawkins and Waterkeeper Alliance Executive Director Marc Yaggi.
The Overpeck Park Kayak Center is the second kayak and canoe livery service operated by Hackensack Riverkeeper. The organization already operates the Paddling Center at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus, now in its 14th year of operation. The opening of the new center marks major milestones for both Riverkeeper and the county. Overpeck’s major amenities are now complete and the park – located along Overpeck Creek in Englewood, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Teaneck – continues to grow in popularity. For Riverkeeper, the opening signifies a new, major step in the group’s efforts to restore water-based recreation to the Hackensack River and its tributaries.
“We unofficially opened a month ago and used that time to fine-tune the operation with our managers John Normile and John Sailer and their team,” said Sheehan of the two long-time Paddling Center staffers and their five coworkers. “Now everything is set and good to go.”
The Kayak Center is best reached via the park’s entrance on Fort Lee Road in Leonia. Drivers should bear right at the circle. Center hours are 2 to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends through Oct. 27. Base rental is $15 per paddler for two hours; and $10 each additional hour. The center’s 2014 season will commence on April 26.