Eco-Program Schedule for Spring/Summer Announced

Hackensack Riverkeeper is pleased to announce its 2015 Eco-Program schedule. The clean water advocacy group is poised to provide thousands of people with an enjoyable & educational experience of the river, its watershed and wildlife. Riverkeeper’s Eco-Cruises, guided paddles, boat rentals, river cleanups, bird-walks and indoor presentations combine environmental education with public service and fun. The new season begins with the Second Annual EarthFest Overpeck on April 25 and runs through the end of October.

“After such a tedious winter, we are very much looking forward to our second EarthFest and our upcoming Eco-Program season,” said Riverkeeper Captain Bill Sheehan. “Last year we literally cracked the magic number: more than ten thousand people took to the water and the water’s edge with us. I don’t know if we can top that but we’ll certainly have a lot of fun trying.”

Hackensack Riverkeeper offers a series of six unique and distinct Eco-Program opportunities: 

Eco-Cruises: This is Hackensack Riverkeeper’s signature environmental education program. Forty Open Eco-Cruises are scheduled from May 2 through October 11 aboard the brand-new, 30-foot pontoon cruisers Geraldine Theresa and Robert H. Boyle II. These are both set to be christened on Earth Day, April 22. Open trips are great for individuals, couples and families and can be had for a program donation of $25 per person for adults/$10 for kids 4-12.

Three distinct Eco-Cruise itineraries are offered: 1) Meadowlands Discovery, which explores the wetlands & creeks of the river’s estuary; 2) Boating through Bergen, which runs upriver to the center of Hackensack and the museum ship USS Ling; and 3) Excursion Around the Bay, a maritime history tour to Staten Island and back past the port facilities of Newark and Elizabeth.

Charter Eco-Cruises can be arranged for groups of up to 30 people for any available date/time May 2 through October 31. Hackensack Riverkeeper asks a donation of $300 per boat for Adult Charter Eco-Cruises and $250 for Youth Charters. Half-day Combo Programs are also available for schools. Those interested can call Program Director Captain Hugh Carola at 201-968-0808 for more info or to book a trip. Open Eco-Cruise dates/times are not available for Charters.

Passaic River Eco-Cruises are conducted by Hackensack Riverkeeper in partnership with the City of Newark from Riverbank Park, located on Raymond Boulevard in the city’s Ironbound section. Seven summer dates have been set aside for these unique tours, which include both waterfront excursions and trips up the Newark and Elizabeth Shipping Channels off Newark Bay.

Those looking to participate in Passaic Eco-Cruises should visit or contact Newark Riverfront Revival at 201-241-8311, 973-733-5868, or to secure their seats. 

Paddling Center at Laurel Hill Park:  Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Paddling Center, located on the river at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, NJ will be open weekends starting Sunday, April 26 and running through Sunday, October 31 weather permitting. The Center offers the use of canoe & kayaks for a donation of $25 per paddler (two-paddler minimum) as well as guided paddles conducted by manager John Normile and team. Fifteen tours are scheduled including ten popular full (and near-full) moon paddles. Program donation: $30 per paddler / $15 per paddler for those their own boat(s). Private group paddle tours can be arranged by calling Captain Hugh at 201-968-0808 or e-mailing

Overpeck Park Kayak (and Canoe) Center:  2015 marks the third year of operation for this popular, central Bergen paddling venue at Overpeck County Park in Teaneck, NJ. Beginning with EarthFest and running through Sunday, October 31, the Center will be open Wednesday-Friday from noon to sunset; and weekends from 9AM to 6PM. Unlike the tidal waters of the Hackensack River, the impounded waters of Overpeck Creek are generally calm and easy for novice paddlers and families with children to handle. Program donation: still only $15 per paddler (2-paddler minimum) for up to two hours; $10 per paddler for each additional hour. Children canoe passengers ride as guests of Riverkeeper.

River Cleanups:  These active conservation events give people of all ages the opportunity to give back to the environment and their communities. Public river cleanups are scheduled at ten different waterside locations within the Hackensack River Watershed from April 18 through November 1. Riverkeeper provides cleanup tools and supplies as well as refreshments for all volunteers. All they ask is that everyone pitch in and help rid local waterways of litter and other debris.

In addition to the Hackensack River and its tributaries, cleanups will also take place on Lake DeForest in Orangeburg, NY, Oradell Reservoir in Closter, NJ and along Newark Bay in Bayonne, NJ.

For more information about river cleanups including group participation and the organization’s Corporate River Stewardship Program, call Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator Caitlin Doran at 201-968-0808 or e-mail her at 

Bird-Walks:  For groups interested in birding and nature study, Captain Hugh Carola is available to lead Bird-Walks or hawk watches at local birding hotspots within the Hackensack River Watershed region. For more information, including itinerary options, call him at 201-968-0808. Costs: $150-$200 depending on location and duration of trip; for up to 12 people.

Indoor Presentations: Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola enjoy conducting multimedia presentations for groups of any size. They have a wealth of materials including PowerPoint slideshows and video screenings that are appropriate for all age groups. Presenters will be sure to bring informational literature for all attendees. Costs: $150 if presented within the Bergen, Hudson, southern Rockland, eastern Passaic or greater Newark areas; $200-$300 if presented further afield. Call 201-968-0808 for more information.

“All of us at Hackensack Riverkeeper are looking forward to a great 2015 season on and about the water,” said Program Director Captain Hugh Carola. “You can do, you can learn, you can work out, or you can just sit back and let the boat and your captain do all the work. Whichever you prefer, we know that you’ll go home with a new appreciation of your Hackensack River. See you there!”

All Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Program info including schedules is available at

Hackensack Riverkeeper, founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. A founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the group employs a four-point clean water strategy—Action, Advocacy, Education and Litigation—in its ongoing work to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River. 

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