On August 29, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene tore through the eastern Adirondacks, leaving devastating effects on Ausable and Boquet watershed communities and ecosystems. Roads were washed away, homes were destroyed, and the landscape of the region was changed in ways still evident to this day. A year later, the Ausable River Association (AsRA) – a nonprofit organization located in Wilmington, NY – hosted the first annual Ride for the River, now in its tenth year. The ride celebrates the resilience of our communities following the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene and helps raise awareness about the numerous threats and challenges still facing our rivers. Proceeds from the event support AsRA’s mission to protect our streams, lakes, wetlands, and floodplains.
Why protect these aquatic environments?
Floodplains slow and absorb flood water, trap fine sediments and nutrients, and support plants and trees that shade and cool the stream and provide habitat and sustenance. Cut off from floodplains, armored by rip rap, overwidened by past industrial practices, damaged streams can heal but only over time and with significant room to shift their channels. This is often not possible where roads, homes, and hamlets hug streams. Instead, stream restoration professionals, like AsRA, can rebuild self-sustaining potential. Our stream restoration methodology combines rigorous science, assessment, design, and monitoring to heal streams and find long-term, practical solutions for community resilience. This is one of the many programs your participation in the the 2021 Ride for the River will support.
This year’s event will take place Sunday, July 18, and begin and end at the beautiful Wilmington Town Beach on Lake Everest. Our event partner, Bike Adirondacks, will have two exciting routes marked out for your riding pleasure, a “Perfect 30” and “Fun 45,” the namesake of each corresponding to their distance in miles. Believe us, won’t be disappointed by the scenery on these rides. Views of verdant, rolling mountains and crystal-clear streams make these routes an absolute pleasure. As one past rider put it, “the group I rode with are life-long cyclists and have done hundreds of organized rides, including out west and Europe. We all agree that the scenery just doesn’t get any better than what we experienced on Ride for the River.” Along the 30 and 45-mile routes there will have rest stops set up for you to rehydrate, refuel, and learn more about the Ausable River watershed from AsRA staff. If you just can’t get enough cycling, join us on Saturday, July 17, for a more intimate “Tailgater” 20-mile ride with a small group of fellow cyclists.
When you’re done with your ride on Sunday, you’ll join AsRA and other riders back at Lake Everest for a delicious BBQ from Barley Sandwich, refreshing beer from the Great Adirondack Brewing Company, and lively music from Joe Waters. And don’t forget this year’s awesome raffle prizes! You’ll have an opportunity to win some great apparel from High Peaks Cyclery, a scenic Lake Placid flight from WolfBrook Aviation, and more! You don’t have to ride in the event to join everyone for the BBQ, so bring your friends and family and relax in true Adirondack style. If you’re not keen on socializing that day, or can’t make the event, we also offer a virtual ride option. Follow the same scenic routes we’ve marked for you, or cycle your own route at your favorite destination, and you can still join in the spirit of the ride.
Fundraising and awareness are not our only goals. One of the many reasons people Ride for the River is because it’s fun, plain and simple. “Fantastic,” “upbeat,” “a total ball,” and “super positive” are a few of the words used to describe the event by past riders. As AsRA staff, it’s a joy for us to witness such enjoyment for such a good cause.
With the help of grants, donation funds, partner contributions, and YOUR participation in Ride for the River, over $650,000 was invested in community infrastructure and the health of our streams and lakes in 2020 alone. We hope you’ll continue the momentum this year by Riding for the River alongside your fellow cyclists passionate about the clean water, healthy streams, and biodiverse habitats of the Ausable River. To learn more and register, please visit RideForTheRiver.org. We’ll see you this weekend!
Photos and blog provided by AsRA staff.