Paddling The Mythic Bronx River

The pictures tell the tale . . . or most of it. 
We'll explain the damns, the weirs, and the cars as we go along.
Back when I was one of the owners at the Manhattan Kayak Company, one of our clients introduced me to an official in the  Parks Department. They were interested in taking some of their people on a tour of the Bronx River
and needed someone with guide experience and extra boats. Where we interested??  Ha!! The long forbidden, off limit river that passed through the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Of course we jumped at the opportunity.


Passing under the monorail at the Bronx Zoo. . .
and over one of the many obstacles along the way.

 

 

 

To say there were numerous portages probably belies the obvious.  To say there were waterfalls and a few drops that would kill a few foolish paddlers probably conveys how unexpected was the natural beauty of the river


 

Not long ago, there were as many as 20 cars scattered about the banks of the river.  After a massive clean up effort, that number was drastically reduced.  The day we paddled the river there were only three left -- and the Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to remove them the following week. During the trip, someone joked about putting cars on the endangered species list as their numbers were dwindling so quickly in this habitat.
This is not what it seems. The red barrier -- see photo below -- is actually a portable containment wall and was put in place to allow debris to accumulate, to ascertain its origin points, so as to deal with it preventively. So they were actually cleaning the river by concentrating  and collecting -- but, boy, did it smell bad in the process.

We finished the day in the tidal portion of the Bronx River where it empties into the Long Island Sound. To the right was a massive metal recycling plant, which brought scrap in on massive barges.

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