ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kayak Dude is the bad guy?

Thanks to the fact that the organizers of the 12th annual Wyoming Valley RiverFest have decided to accept sponsorships from two of the most fined of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling outfits, my only paddling partner, Kayak Dude, has promised a robust protest this Saturday, the details of which have not been shared with me.

Is that a floatation device, or a bomb vest?

Whoa! Whoa, I‘m kidding.

While the U.S.S. Dude surely qualifies as a Missouri-class battleship, it’s load capacity is that of a Yugo. So don’t sweat it. We’ll not be carrying any ammonium nitrates or any garden variety fertilizers. Mostly bottled water and Nutri-Grain bars.

KD, or Don Williams as some might know him, is single-minded in purpose whereas the Susquehanna River is concerned. I’ve known him long enough, I’ve seen him in action enough and heard him wax poetic enough to know that he yearns for the day when the river is as a pristine a water resource as it was when the earliest settlers of this area first ran across it.
And while you could say that perfection is mostly unattainable, the seeking out of perfection should never be discouraged. Or as I’ve been frequently known to post, the only limit to your ability is your imagination. And in these watery respects, Don’s limitless imagination is rivaled only by his uncompromising commitment.

While it’s painfully obvious to me that the organizers of this annual event need corporate sponsorships so as to make it the best ever event, I too cannot remotely condone the acceptance of funding from companies that have displayed a lackadaisical environmental attitude, especially as the growing number of health-threatening incidents pertain to the water quality of NEPA, as well as to that of the Susquehanna River.

In the dark, secluded place that is my misfiring mind, it’s all akin to Bible-thumpers accepting money from Satan Inc. so as to put on the annual church picnic. I cannot feature that sort of sellout.
So, much like I did in June of 2001 when some guy (KD) emailed me out of the blue and asked me if I’d be interested in getting out on the Susquehanna and actually learning something about it while our now-deposed, long-term congressman was pretending to know all things aquatic recreating and water quality, I will once again follow the lead of those who are much learned than I.

RiverFest, June 2001
In July of 2008, I posted the following--Frickin’ fracking?, after Don, forever the water advocate, had clued in me to the coming environmental storm. As far as I know, that was the first ever sort of in-depth attempt at making local people aware of what was then little-heard of, but soon to be added to the local lexicon.

And once the word “fracking” approached the ranks of what could only be called common parlance in these here behind-the-times parts, and when it was becoming patently obvious that those in the know early on were rushing to sign gas-drilling leases, Don said via email, “This is gonna get ugly.”

And as far as I’m concerned, when a hard-core river advocate who has championed a unique local river event since it’s inception suddenly feels the need to protest said river event, you know that Corporate America has managed to taint that which used to be pure in purpose.

And no matter what sort of protest Don has planned for this Saturday’s annual paddling event, I can’t help but be reminded of the Crying Indian commercials that at one time introduced an unenlightened America to the wholesale disregard for our immediate environs.

So, this has gone far beyond a one-time prediction of becoming ugly. In fact, ugliness has arrived like a conquering army.

And when Don Williams, the committed, the illustrious and the one-and-only unrelenting Kayak Dude, has been deemed to be ugly by his fellow river cohorts and on his own beloved, meandering turf, you have to know that the organizers of the Susquehanna River’s premiere local event have sold out for a corporate buck.

So, I’m left to ask, is this about promoting the usage and enjoyment of a troubled free-flowing river? Is this still an event that clearly demonstrates to the paddling neophytes that water quality issues should, in fact, be a part of their mindsets forever going forward?

Or will this be, in retrospect,  a farce paid in part by those who’s actions release methane bubbles into the river’s waters, but who will not take responsibility for it, or any of the other many environmental disasters associated with hydraulic fracturing?

Dude, I will follow you anywhere. Well, save for that Knox Mine site.

Ramming speed!!!


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