By Alison Rooney
Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park, which occupies a promontory near the Beacon rail station, is now the home of many of their education programs. Over the past year and a half, the park has played host to bird-watching expeditions, seining activities with nets stretched out from the shores of the river, tadpole spotting and many visits from school groups, who learn that the Hudson is an estuary and why that is important.
But school was long out on a hotter-than-July (impossible!) day recently as Scenic Hudson offered a “Learn To Fish” program for kids. A table manned by Scenic Hudson and Department of Environmental Conservation staff provided fishing rods and bait, and advice along with the equipment.
Over the course of a couple of hours, children came by and were shown how to use the bait, cast the line, reel in the catch, and then release the catch back into the Hudson. They then took up positions along the pier and put the most important piece of advice to the test: “Be patient.” The young anglers did get nibbles, and some of the catfish, sunnies, and white perch nearby took the bait. One boy, Jean Paul, looked just as stunned as the bullhead catfish he reeled in.
Nearby, under shelter, Scenic Hudson educator Abi Locatis helped the children make fish prints — for some, a welcome respite from the sun.
Scenic Hudson will host another Learn To Fish day Aug. 14, as well as a Bug Hunt Aug 24. On Saturday, Aug. 3, there will be a Weekend Volunteer Restoration workday, where participants will, in Scenic Hudson’s description: “learn to identify local flora and proper techniques for removing invasive plants that wreak havoc on the valley’s fragile ecosystem. Then put your new-found knowledge to use, uprooting invasives and replacing them with a diversity of native plants.” There is no need to preregister for any of the events.
Long Dock Park has just celebrated its second birthday. Acquired by Scenic Hudson with a mix of public and private funds, the 15-acre site was formerly an oil terminal and salt storage facility. In the industrial era it was home to a rail ferry terminal and warehouses.
Ten years of work, including the removal of oil storage tanks and other remediation to rid the site of contaminated soil, has yielded what Scenic Hudson calls a “riverfront destination boasting a kayak pavilion and beach for launching boats, rehabilitated wetlands, and meadows that attract wildlife, and the restored, historic Red Barn, now Scenic Hudson’s River Center for arts and environmental-education activities.
Accessible walking paths connect the park’s amenities. There also is a link to the one-mile Klara Sauer Trail, which spans the waterfront from the Beacon train station to Denning’s Point State Park. Leashed dog walking is permitted, and picnics are encouraged. The park is open daily, from dawn until dusk. If traveling north on 9D, make a left onto Beekman Street, then left onto Red Flynn Drive and an immediate left onto Long Dock Road. For more information on the park and a calendar of events, visit scenichudson.org/parks/longdockpark.