Saturday, March 7, 2020


Welcome to Everything Croton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools, our houses of worship--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.

As you know, the kayak renewal contract at Echo Canoe Launch is once again under discussions/reconsideration by the village board at the work session of March 9th (along with the dummy light etc,). The following has been received from EARL DePASS:

Dear Mayor, Village Board, Village Manager, and Recreation Advisory Committee:

When I attended the Trustees Work Session on February 12, 2020, I left with the impression that there would not be a kayak rental at Echo Launce this season.

Trustee Sherry Horowitz wanted the vendor to implement kayak identification. Trustee Andy Simmons wanted a one season moratorium on the rental. Trustee John Habib had various misgivings about the value of having the kayak rental. Village Manager Janine King reasonably concluded that if three out five Trustees had reservations, why bother with a contract that only brought in a couple thousand dollars of income to the Village?

I left the work session assured that our beloved Croton River would get a rest from commercial exploitation, for this season, at least.

I was shocked to find the canoe rental back on the table and seemingly up for reconsideration at this Monday’s upcoming Board of Trustees work session.

The Croton River is threatened from both overuse and misuse. While the most egregious abuse occurs in the Unique Area of the Croton River, the increased traffic from proprietor John Clark’s commercial operation Hudson River Recreation adversely affects the river too. The hordes of inexperienced, oftentimes careless, and occasionally neglectful, kayak renters have turned what was once a serene environment full of wildlife, a few fisherman, and locals, into a congested mess of a river devoid of the concentrations and diversity of wildlife that was there before the rentals began.

As a resident with a house on the river, a consultant involved with the hydrilla treatment program, and a Board Member of Sawmill River Audubon, I have developed a keen and watchful eye for changes in the ecology of the Croton River. When the kayak rental program began, I saw, for the first time, as many water fowl on Nordica Drive as I did in the river. After a while, many of the more skittish species of waterfowl abandoned the river altogether and never return during the kayak rental season.

John Clark, the proprietor, of Hudson River Recreation, remarks that he serves Croton residents who do not have kayaks, canoes, or waterboards. I do not doubt that local residents occasionally rent from him, but the bulk of his customers are not from Croton. Many of them are inexperienced, often loud with excitement of being on a river for the first time, and some are occasionally reckless. I have had to drive kayak renters off of my dock, turn them back from climbing up my stairs on to Nordica Drive when they get tired or stuck during low tide, all because there is no on river supervision provided by Hudson River Recreation, and they want to keep revenue flowing even when tides are low.

As far as Croton residents having access to the Croton River is concerned, I, and my fellow riverside residents, have probably provided access to more locals than Hudson River Recreation ever will. This access is provided free of charge and with on river supervision when my fellow residents are inexperienced. My guests have ranged from my kids classmates to old timers who moved from the Bronx to Croton over 30 years ago and said they don’t do water.

I implore you not to offer a contract to a kayak rental proprietor this time or ever again. The Croton River simply cannot sustain more traffic than local residents, fishermen, and the few die hard kayakers willing to schlep to or rent rack space at Echo Launch.

If you do not agree with this appeal to you to refuse any kayak rental establishment, then I ask you to at least put the following provisions in the contract:

1. Limit the number of rentals on the river to twenty at a time.
2. Require a supervisor patrol the river when there are ten or more rentals out on the river.
3. No rentals during low and waning tide.
4. All rented vessels have signage affixed to them so they can be easily identified as rentals.
5. Any non-resident vehicle parked at Echo Launch should be charged as if they were using the Croton-Harmon parking lot.
6. Demand a substantially greater fee and share of the profits from the rental vendor; enough to help subsidize the policing of the Croton River and the Unique Area Stewardship initiative.

I plan on attending the upcoming work session this Monday, March 9th 9:00pm - 9:20pm when there will be further discussion on the recreational kayak program at Echo Canoe Launch. I know work sessions seldom allow resident input. With this in mind, I request that you read this letter at the work session and submit it as part of the record.


  1. To the commenter who continues to insist that the village has hired "stewards" who will be patrolling the area, once again this is incorrect. To our knowledge, proposed stewards will be for "educating" visitors only not patrolling the area--nor has the village "hired" said "stewards". Please refer your questions/comments directly to the village

    1. Dear Mr. or Ms. anonymous, Earl DePass here. I completely understand the sole purpose of the stewards in the Unique Area would be to educate. The Village has not decided to fund this initiative, because it already carries the bulk of the expense alone in policing the Croton River. I was just suggesting that if the Village insisted on offering a contract to the kayak rental enterprise, fees and profit sharing from the business should be substantial enough to help the Village with the burden of managing the increased traffic on the river. Sadly, the hired and trained stewards, like the the Croton Police, would have no authority in the State owned parcel. A copy of this letter was sent to the Village.