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South Shore Blueway Connects Water Access in Nassau County

Rezul News/10303489
FREEPORT, N.Y. - June 3, 2016 - Rezul -- The South Shore Blueway officially opens on Saturday, June 4 connecting paddler access in the western bays of the South Shore Estuary Reserve. A dedication ceremony and full day of free family paddling fun at the new kayak/canoe launch at Bay Park located on Harbor Road and Marjorie Lane in East Rockaway is planned beginning at 9:30am. Attendees are encouraged to bring kayaks, stand up paddleboards and canoes to the event and take part in the Blueway Inaugural Paddle following the ribbon cutting ceremony. The public is invited to enjoy an Eco Tour of the salt marshes led by marine biologist Kevin Rodgers, kayak fishing demos, SUP yoga, and kayak safety clinics organized by Empire Kayaks. In addition, there will be paddling sessions with all gear and instruction provided by Freeport Kayak Rentals. Exhibitors feature local paddle clubs, outfitters and south shore attractions.

"As part of my Fit Nassau Initiative, I am pleased to celebrate the opening of the South Shore Blueway Trail as it offers our residents and visitors a new and exciting opportunity to explore Nassau County in a different light out on the water," said County Executive Mangano.

The South Shore Blueway is made up of 22 launches and landings providing safe, easy to reach access for nonmotorized recreational boaters to explore the Hempstead Bays and South Oyster Bay, experience the natural beauty and visit the numerous parks, natural areas, and attractions. The trail highlights community connections, encouraging residents and visitors to enjoy recreational, educational and scenic experiences that promote healthy lifestyles and are environmentally sustainable. Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding are the fastest growing watersports in the world, and the growth on Long Island is huge. Bay Park will have just completed installation of handicap accessible launches and interpretive signage about the trail and safety measures for trail users.

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A waterproof Blueway Trail Map sponsored by SUEZ Water will be available at the opening ceremony. "SUEZ is very proud to support this incredible project," said Xavier Castro, SUEZ Long Island General Manager. "It is a true benefit to the entire island to have a trail through the precious wetlands and marshes."

Years of work went into making the water trail a reality. The project was approved as part of the 2006 Nassau County Environmental Bond Act Program. In 2008, the Village of Freeport joined with Nassau County and obtained matching funds from a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) Grant from the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund. Since 2012, local communities collaborated in an inclusive planning process involving input from more than 1,000 residents to develop the water trail stretching the entire south coast of Nassau County.

The South Shore Blueway Trail and partners Nassau County DPW, NYS Parks, City of Long Beach, Village of Freeport, Town of Hempstead, Town of Oyster Bay, and project consultants Going Coastal, Inc., and Cameron Engineering and Associates were recognized with the 2016 Quality of Life Award by the Long Island Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

"The Department of State has been involved in the planning and construction of the South Shore Blueway from the very beginning," said Acting Secretary Rossana Rosado. "We are thrilled to see the Blueway finally open to the public, providing vital access and recreational opportunities to local New York State communities, while also spurring economic development in the region."

"Going Coastal and Cameron Engineering & Associates did an excellent job coordinating, organizing, and implementing this project from start to finish. They've had our support since 2008 and I'm truly impressed with what they've accomplished," said Village of Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy. "On behalf of the Freeport Board of Trustees, we congratulate all the team members involved with completing the South Shore Blueway and we thank the State, County, and fellow municipalities for partnering to bring this incredible boating experience to fruition."

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"The grand opening of the South Shore Blueway Trail is a monumental day in our rich, marine history," Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino said. "The Town of Hempstead is proud to be among the 'sights and sounds' of the South Shore Blueway, which will provide kayakers an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy our picturesque waterways and wetlands, while also learning about our precious ecosystem. This kayak trail will certainly be an ecological showcase of the South Shore for generations to come."

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor stated: "Establishing the South Shore Blueway Trail has created an exciting and unique way for people to learn about and enjoy our beautiful natural waterways and promote many attractions in and around the area. I encourage nautical and environmental enthusiasts alike to take advantage of this distinctive amenity that residents of our Town enjoy."

The Blueway Grand Opening Celebration is in conjunction with National Trails Day and supported by the New York Community Bank Foundation. To learn more about the South Shore Blueway, view maps and find Long Island paddling opportunities, visit the website at southshoreblueway.com.

Press Contacts: Barbara LaRocco

Source: South Shore Blueway
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