Clearwater’s Hudson River Revival
A Brief History of the Sloop and Festival
Aiming to “build a boat to save the river”, the Sloop Clearwater first set sail in New York’s Hudson in 1969. Pete’s vision for the sloop was to celebrate the water, and conduct engaging onboard, science-based environmental education for all ages. By the 1970’s, railroads, highways and industry had long since separated communities from the river, and the Clearwater ignited an effort to reunite them.
Involved with the project’s initial efforts, Lorre became a mainstay on the sloop in the early 1970’s, especially on the famed Pumpkin Sails. These annual events reminded communities that the river was theirs. People were invited to the docks to buy fresh produce, enjoy music, crafts and games, learn about the cause and connect with local environmental groups. With a nod to tradition, the Clearwater’s journey from dock to dock carrying goods mirrored the working sloops of a century before, a bow to the artistry and folkways of that time.
The mission has seen many victories – waters clearing, fish returning, and the birth of many partnerships between local, state, grassroots and environmental groups. Today, the Clearwater Organization continues the work of restoring the vitality of the river and region. Each summer the Clearwater connects Hudson Valley residents with their heritage during the Great Hudson River Revival, the country’s oldest music and environmental festival. Lorre and Pete performed there many times, most recently in June, 2013.
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