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Editorials
What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Canoes and kayaks at Cohoes, but with care

Canoes and kayaks at Cohoes, but with care

Blueway trail with whitewater in Cohoes would be great, as long as it doesn't harm the river

Cohoes is where the Mohawk and Hudson rivers come together, and the city wisely wants to take greater advantage of this to attract recreational users and tourists. We think the 6.6-mile blueway loop it has proposed is a great idea, one that could be an economic boon to the city and entire area. A whitewater park now part of the plan could make it even better, provided it can be done safely. But that’s a big if.

The blueway loop is part of a planning process that started in 2004 and focuses on making Cohoes a sustainable city with mixed-use development and an emphasis on outdoor recreation. The city has already improved recreational opportunities for its residents and visitors in the last few years with trail projects connecting to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail, and is about to build a bridge extending the trail to Green Island.

It’s this same kind of regional connection that Cohoes officials have in mind with the blueway loop, which would also take boaters past Waterford and Troy as they went around a series of islands, including Peebles Island. They want to partner with those cities and the state, which owns Peebles Island State Park.

The estimated $800,000 cost of the project is reasonable for the benefits it would bring. It would include three kayak and canoe launch sites, parking areas, a bathroom, storage house and signs.

The Mohawk River in Cohoes already contains a couple of features, including a “standing wave,” that kayakers would love. But the city wants to create some real rapids, which experts, including the co-chairman of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s whitewater committee, says could be done with only minor modifications to the riverbed and rechanneling of the water.

We hope their confidence is warranted, but flood-weary residents of this area may be a little bit wary. The plan would be subject to review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Canal Corporation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and they should all give it a thorough one.

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