I like clean water. I like healthy ecosystems. I like strong economies. I like to paddle and hike. None of these likes are particularly controversial or extreme.
I live near the Narragansett bay. It is a roughly 150 square mile bay that encompasses most of the shoreline of Rhode Island, the Ocean State. At one time, it was one of the largest shellfish fisheries in the world. Its watershed tributaries powered the industrial revolution. The mills remain although the commerce they drove has long since found simpler forms of power. At one time, entire coves would turn blue or red or whatever color the mill upstream was dyeing that day.
The bay today remains fragile and threatened. Many rivers contribute to its watershed, and many pollutants enter those rivers. Save the Bay is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to protect this fluid ecosystem and those who rely on it. If you live in Rhode Island, the water you drink comes from the watershed. Commercial fishermen and clam rakers rely on it for their livelihood and your food. The many harbors, filled with recreational boats, provide substantial economic impact to our little state.
I teach kayaking and paddleboarding at Scalloptown Park in East Greenwich, and I take clients out to see cormorants, egrets, and jellyfish. Occasionally, we see a seal who ventured upstream. I drink this water. I work on this water. It matters to me.
So, I decided to do more than complain. The bay’s watershed remains threatened by industrial pollutants and disregard. That affects all of us downstream. It affects our water quality, our economy, and our quality of life.
I’m walking from Worcester, MA to Newport, RI, 100 miles, in one weekend, to raise funds and awareness for Save the Bay and the work they do. That is only a portion of the bay’s watershed.
Save the Bay called me the Watershed Walker. It’s nice alliteration. This bay is essential to all Rhode Islanders, whether they ever step foot in it or not, and our waterways throughout our nation are important.
I’m Darren. Apparently I’m the Watershed Walker. I care, and I’m going to walk 100 miles to try to make a difference. Here’s the link to the fundraising site. Every penny goes to Save the Bay.
Please consider helping me help this essential water way.