Newsletter, December 2015

“A river has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us,” wrote Norman Maclean in A River Runs Through It.  For those of us at River Pool, summer, 2015 was another season of listening to all the myriad messages that run through the currents of the Hudson.  And in an effort to give others the chance to hear them as well, the rainbow pool was put back into the river on Saturday, June 13.  It opened shortly thereafter for its ninth full summer season, and aside from a handful of rainy days, it remained open until the week before Labor Day.  Nearly 1000 people waded, swam, played and otherwise experienced the joy of the Hudson River within the safety of its circle. On Saturday, September 12, with invaluable help from a local troop of boy scouts, the river pool was dismantled, removed from the river and put into storage for another year. 

Swimmers hear the river’s messages in a different way.  The 12th Annual Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim was scheduled for Saturday, July 18, and our loyal legions of volunteers had gathered at both waterfronts in the early morning, with swimmers arriving soon after, many traveling by car and train through downpours.  Alas, cloudy skies and storm cells just to the west mandated that we postpone the swim for a day; the precision of Doppler radar notwithstanding, it is impossible to gauge the exact time, nature, and strength of incoming storms.  And as the swim is scheduled to coincide with slack tide, delaying splash-in is not an option.  A number of swimmers expressed frustration that the swim was not called off earlier, possibly even the evening before.  Such are the occasional aggravations of the river swim, or, in fact, of trying to schedule anything that depends of the vagaries of the natural world. 

By the following day, the skies had cleared, and in late morning on July 19, 144 swimmers splashed in at Riverfront Marina.  A flotilla of 76 vigilant kayakers, jet skiers, Marine Units from Dutchess and Orange County Sheriff Departments, and Coast Guard Auxiliary craft escorted the swimmers to assure their safety. On land, the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Mobile Life Support Services were graciously on hand to provide support.   Approximately $25,000 net funds were raised by swimmers, and those funds are what will ensure the operation and maintenance of the small pool for the 2016 season. To all the swimmers, all the kayakers, and all the supporters and volunteers on both sides of the river as well as on the river, our deepest gratitude for your great help and hard work.  Saturday, August 6 will be the date of the 2016 swim (rain date, August 7), so put it on your calendar now.

Additional personal thanks come from River Pool president, Michael Gersh:

I would like to add my thanks to all swimmer, kayakers, and volunteers for helping to make River Pool free to the public.  While there are other places to swim in Beacon, they all require a fee.  River Pool serves close to 1000 swimmers every summer at no cost to them, and by next summer, we will have brought over 10,000 swimmers into the river.

I want to address the swim registration protocol which I know can be very frustrating. In the last year, especially, we have made every effort to improve it--only to have a security issue emerge that caused a problem for many of you. Our system went into a fraud protection mode that caused donations and registration fees to appear as though they had not been processed. In the past we have sometimes used outside agencies for swim registration.  These incur costly fees, while often bringing with them a separate set of problems. We are going to do more work on the site over the winter with every hope of eliminating registration and donation problems.

Thank you again for all you have done. There would be no River Pool without you.

While River Pool remains committed to installing a larger, flow-through pool in the Hudson River, our work with the marine engineering firm, Ocean and Coastal Consultants in Trumbull, CT, to design and build such a pool continues to be on hold until we determine the site.  Our hope is to install the large pool in an area of the river that is accessed by Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park.  Over its storied history, the site has been put to use for a rail ferry terminal, warehouses, oil terminal, and junkyard.  Now, its rehabilitation is nearly complete.  It is our view that there is no better way to honor the reclaimed waters of the Hudson River and the restoration of its waterfront than to use this site as the approach to the river pool, and we are in discussion with Scenic Hudson about just how this vision could be made a reality.

To celebrate the 2015 season and to help us look ahead to 2016, River Pool’s annual meeting was held on Sunday, November 15 at Scenic Hudson’s River Center at Long Dock. As always, the end-of-season gathering was the occasion both to celebrate another summer in and on the Hudson River and to elect officers who will continue to move River Pool forward.  We remain committed to providing safe public access to the Hudson River for swimming and wading, which we believe will promote awareness and stewardship of the river.  Follow us on our website, to stay current with what we do on the river and learn all the ways you can continue to be a part of it. 

And as you consider your end of the year charitable contributions, please remember River Pool at Beacon, Inc.  You can make a donation by going to our home page, and clicking on the “support river pool” link.   We are ever grateful for your support!


Swim Times posted by your swimmer number on the swim page:

Since the river pool opened to the public in 2007, over 5000 people have enjoyed wading, playing, and cooling off in the Hudson River

During the summer months, the pool is open Tuesday through Sunday - Noon to 6pm.

The pool is free and open to the public.

The design of the partially submerged pool is environmentally sensitive and makes for a safe wading area that protects bathers from boaters and currents. With a permeable floor and sides that work as a below-water fence, the twenty-foot diameter wading pool allows river water to flow through it. The entire structure is supported by floating fiberglass seats in rainbow colors.

River Pool is a non-profit volunteer organization. To help with this project Please Join Us!

Much of the Hudson River is clean enough to swim in and we are working to keep it that way. Learn more about River Pool in this article from Metropolis magazine written by Aki Busch.

Tree Project Halted Due to Sea Level Rise in the Hudson River.

The entire Beacon waterfront was affected by the storm surge in October from Sandy. It brought the river high into Riverfront Park, causing erosion along the shore of the park, especially on the north and northwest edges. The leading edge of the storm surge came half way into the courtyard where our storage sheds are located. There were several feet of water inside the Beacon Sloop Club, and one foot of water inside Scenic Hudson’s River Center at Long Dock Park. The road, parking lot, and entrance to the train station were also flooded. In 2011, Irene and Lee caused extensive flooding at the Beacon waterfront as well.

Read more here.