Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mark Your Calendar

Next Sunday, May 1, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton is hosting a public conversation about North Bay. The event will begin at 1 p.m., outdoors, near the corner of Front and Dock streets.

The meeting will bring together various community groups for an exchange of ideas for the North Bay area. The discussion will include how to utilize the former Furgary Boat Club, ways to open access to the river for kayaking and fishing, the Columbia Land Conservancy's plan for the North Bay Recreation and Natural Area, and other concerns and proposals for this part of the city.

Following a brief presentation by the Mayor, the format will be an "outdoor open house." Those attending can circulate and speak informally with representatives of the Columbia Land Conservancy, the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee, and other groups.

The Mayor has said about North Bay and the proposed conversation, "Right now, the North Bay area is underutilized, but it represents an enormous opportunity for the city. I hope everyone who shares my passion for our waterfront will bring their ideas and energy to help us create a jewel of conservation and low-impact recreational use."


  1. Why must everything in nature be "utilized"?! Will we never be cured of our old, bad attitude that nature has no intrinsic value apart from its uses to us?

    To anyone eyeing either of the City's bays for their development potential (even if it's so-called "green" development), they should know that both are remnants of ecosystems which were formerly plentiful in the region, certainly previous to 1609. Hudson's marshes relocated themselves from upriver wetlands which have long since vanished thanks to utilization by Westerners.

    The smartest way to make the North Bay a "jewel of conservation," which it really ought to be, is for the City to develop a sane and comprehensive approach to stormwater control. What stopped us from doing this in the past, and the principal reason we have no such plan, is a Federal requirement that the public participate in stormwater planning. In Hudson, that was always a bridge too far.

    While working towards the responsible goal of stormwater control, we'll also get a better understanding of the ecology of North Bay. (The only ecological survey of North Bay ever conducted by either State or Federal agencies was in 1975 for approximately one hour!)

    Once a proper natural history inventory is conducted, we'll begin to appreciate those biota which may not survive the next generation of "green development" plans.

    So until the City develops an understanding of its impact on surface waters, the North Bay wetlands should be off-bounds for ribbon-cutting purposes. Nature needs us to put understanding before ambition.

    Until we can do that, make no mistake that the City's most profound - and damaging - interface with nature occurs in the daily operations of the Department of Public Works. Let's not fool ourselves by obscuring that fact with green lipstick.

  2. Sorry but I just can't imagine why anyone would entertain the idea of using polluted waters and lands for recreation in any form.
    Fishing? My word. What is the recommendation for eating any type fish taken from the Hudson?
    So what the City of Hudson offers is land that is former dump sites for approximately 50+ years,(anything and everything was dumped into Hudson's Bay)possible brown fields or "needs further investigation" as detailed in a 2012 report grant request.
    The former site of an XTyal plant where employees' skin peeled off.
    And just what will NYS do the next time it needs to expand the Wastewater Treatment Plant?
    The present condition of the Northbay is not a place for play, nor even gardens.
    Kites Nest take warning.
    A few months ago the City of Hudson agreed to allow street run-off water into the Northbay.
    My vote is no.
    Why not invest into Oakdale and Underhill?
    Boating, fishing, hiking and restore the beachfront and beachhouse.
    So let's have another meeting at the Oakdale beachhouse.
    What say you Mayor?
    It's just waiting for restoration/renovation.

    1. Fishing for sport, catch and release is a protected form of (sport) fishing.

    2. The investigation of the Foster's site may soon enter its next phase, when the State will determine the actual extent of lead (Pb) detected in the North Bay wetlands in 2006.

      Between the contamination from Foster's, the continuous leachate from the former landfill, and the City's current plan to divert hundreds of millions of gallons of stormwater each year to the North Bay, how accurate is the claim that the Bay is "underutilized"?

      For public relations purposes, we can't allow that our worst abuses even qualify as uses. This puts the current dialogue closer to the world of advertising than to actual ground conditions.

  3. The customary and prescribed use of submersible shore is to make way for those navigating (slipping) from land to sea.

  4. This is a test for the "new" Hudson: can it walk and chew gum at the same time? Can we embark on a relatively modest quest -- to decide on what to do with the North Bay -- without shutting people and ideas out and so constricting the debate as to throw the question back in the partisan, polarized and punitive arena of local politics.

  5. In other words, can we set a rational time frame, a rational goal, and a rational (and explicit) process before we begin?

  6. At some point in the process, I hope someone will set up a kayak tour of the North Bay to get a tangible idea of what's there. I'm going to start exploring the bay on my own next week with my Klepper kayak.

  7. kayaks are meant to cover long distance quickly, they are greyhounds not swan boats. i've watched more than a hundred kayaks come into the dead end bay, make the end, turn around and leave, all in fifteen minutes. it's like telling me to keep the Ferrari in the parking lot, boring. all this talk of kayaks and facilities for kayaks when no one knows a kayak from a cruise ship.

    1. If a better vessel fit beneath the bridge, tin boat fishermen would be using it.

    2. Now Michael, that's not true. There are all kinds of kayaks (mine's a greyhound), and the North Bay is a perfectly pleasant paddle.

      The entrance to the bay is another matter. Lots of small craft have capsized there, one of these incidents being fatal.

      The powerful water velocity beneath the trestle merits a safety study, but safety concerns are the farthest thing from the minds of those making plans and setting goals for the bay.

      Incredibly, water safety never occurred to the land conservancy when it drafted its Concept Master Plan for the bay. The conservancy might have spoken with a few locals first, but that's never happened before now.

    3. Michael, I hereby invite you (and anyone else reading this) to join me on a kayak tour of the North Bay and the South Bay. I use my kayak to slow down, explore shallow, narrow waterways and watch wildlife. A kayak is the ideal type of vessel for such exploration. For the record, I've owned and sailed four sailboats -- namely, a Catalina 22, a Blue Crab, a Daysailer II, and a Siren 17 -- so I think I might know the difference between a kayak and a cruise ship. What experience do you have sailing, kayaking or canoeing? I've sailed and/or kayaked the Chesapeake Bay at Tilghman Island, Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, Acadia National Park in Maine, the Hudson River in Peekskill and Yonkers, and Lake Taghanick State Park, among others.

  8. I agree that asking what's already there is THE most important place to begin. Without that, the setting of time frames and goals - even modest goals - will be a hazardous exercise.

    But what's in the bay isn't always manifest, and what's unavailable to our senses can cause us harm. That's why the first phase of any reconnaissance is a document search, to inquire into past uses which left potentially dangerous residues.

    (When the Common Council tried to complete an Environmental Assessment Form last May, none of the Council members knew a thing about North Bay. Because they didn't have a rational method to guide them, their ridiculous exercise ended in confusion.)

    Only when you have the historical picture do you launch the next phase, which is a site visit and an inventory.

    These are the rational steps followed by every agency at every level of State and Federal government, which is why I assume that in Hudson we'll lead with our goals and timelines instead.

  9. Michael, Correct me if I'm mistaken, but weren't you a member of Furgary Boat Club? What kind of boat did you moor or dock in the North Bay?

    1. Michael was never a key holder, yet he and Captain Eddie had free and easy, full use of the people's' wharf.

      No paid staff, no grants needed and hundreds being served by a handful of volunteers, doing what comes naturally to fishermen.

      The issue comes down to promoting maximum use of minimal shore. The North Dock is better used as an Embarcadero, rather than a destination, although they are not mutually exclusive uses. Keep in mind that the bay is only full every other week but there is always water under the bridge. It's Hudson's inner city on ramp to inland waterway.

      1 Riparian

  10. 9/11/1963 Register-Star special edition. "Father and Son Boating Witness Train Wreck". i watched a New York Central passenger train slam into a freight locomotive as it entered Hudson. rail bent like pretzel, cars off the tracks, people in shock, ambulances, catastrophe. we parked the boat and were first to assist as best we could. our boat was kept at the North Dock. we did not claim ownership of any boathouse or dock, were not part of any club, only peaceful Hudson resident taxpayers helping each other pursue a pastime. we paid no fees and had no keys.

    1980-2000 was in Key West, owned a glass shop that did mostly marine applications. i worked on ships for the US Navy, US Coast Guard, US Customs, Florida Marine Patrol, Monroe County, Shrimp boats from Stock Island to Pascagoula, long-liners, lobster boats, offshore race powerboats, at the dock or underway. from Isla Mujeres to Key West at night, no lights, no GPS, those were the days, Miami Vice was real and my next door neighbor owned the shrimper/cash cow.

    returning to my roots and original playground North Dock fifteen years ago was great to again reunite with old friends and have a place to get out to after supper, maybe take a boat ride, it's what i do, i'm from Hudson. some of the names have changed, boathouses changed hands, but it's the same people, just like me, went to Hudson schools, same churches, same food, same talk. Then along comes the LWRP, a plan drawn up by land conservancy planners that shows no regard for me or my fellows. i have seen this "plan" and the glossy photographs, i have seen a boathouse replaced with a gazebo and a ramp labeled kayak/canoe. for three years myself and fellow Hudsonians of all rank have been denied access to our wharf, Hudson's wharf, not Boston's but they want to make it that. lipstick for two acres next to a sewer plant. boat goes sixty and i let my thirteen year old son drive it, in the bay! ask Tim, we meet up there and scheme, er, oops, i mean, conserve. no, really he just points out the error of my ways. i'll post a trip on social media.

  11. Different strokes for different folks. I've always enjoyed gunkholing wetlands.

    1. I'd like to impose some seasonal speed restrictions on motorized craft in the North Bay, though not to impact hunting in any way. (That's where we draw the line.)