Thursday, February 26th, everyone who loves the Raritan River and its exquisite and storied canal may hear Judy Auer Shaw, Ph.D., at D&R Greenway Land Trust, on the river’s history, industrial importance, aesthetic value, importance to our water supply, and current perils. Dr. Shaw is a legend in her time, on many fronts. Her current passion is this river, and her life is devoted to preserving and improving. it.
Dr. Judy Shaw, The Raritan’s River-keeper
The presentation is from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with a light reception. To register for this free evening of information and delight, please use firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Shaw’s book will be for sale and she will sign copies that night.
The Delaware and Raritan Canal was created in the 1830’s to carry coal from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley safely to New York (by Raritan Bay) and Philadelphia (via Delaware Bay.) The pre-canal route meant rounding Cape May and daring dangerous shoals, en route to and past Sandy Hook. At one time our canal carried more tonnage than the legendary Erie!
The Raritan River begins at the confluence of the North and South Branches of the Raritan. All along that waterway, wildlife should be able to thrive. Dr. Shaw is doing everything in her power to see to it that the River’s natural benefits to are region are restored and enhanced.
The North Branch of the Raritan is one of the most exquisite features of the state of New Jersey. Up near Califon and Clinton, it ripples, clear as gin, over time-smoothed rocks, hiding and nourishing trout.
Ken Lockwood Gorge is astounding for hikers as well as trout fishermen. My friend Tasha O’Neill is famous for realistic and abstract images of the Gorge. To walk there is to move well beyond the 21st Century, in fact back to the time of the Lenni Lenapes/Algonquins who fished these shores long before we did.
The sheer beauty and vibrancy of trout in the Raritan at its source – by Tasha O’Neill
My Ordinary Scene of Ken Lockwood in Autumn
Even if you have known the Raritan, as I did, –having lived above it in New Brunswick, you may find these images hard to believe. But they may explain, partially, why I’ve been in love with the Raritan since I met that river in 1964. At the time, I knew nothing of the Raritan’s history, had never heard of Lenni Lenapes, and didn’t even realize that was a canal down there!
I walk the Gorge with many friends — the above is Anne Zeman’s dreamy view of the Raritan in all its pristine beauty.
We moved into the tall apartment (Colony House, first Buccleuch Park Towers) at Landing Lane Bridge in New Brunswick. Our apartment wrapped around the corner, so we woke to the Raritan, and supped in its sunset. The river was frequently mist-covered. Sunrise would tint dawn’s mist pink, and sunset tended to fill the rivermist with coralline hues. My daughters, toddlers, would wake from naps, rushing to see “The boys in the boats on the reevah.”
People who’d always lived in New Brunswick would stride into our apartment and say, “Well, Carolyn, it’s beautiful, but it’s not New Brunswick.” I didn’t know enough then to tell them that the Raritan is far more important than New Brunswick!
Never would I have believed anyone who would insist that I’d be living near that river and its canal for most of the rest of my life. That the Towpath would inspire, nourish, even heal me through almost overwhelming tragedies. That a friend would teach me to kayak on the canal above Griggstown. That the Raritan River and its Canal create a feast for all seasons.
Peaceful Prow on D&R Canal near Princeton, by Tasha O’Neill
Autumn Harvest, D&R Canal Style, near Princeton