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Sloatsburg’s UMC Chapel hosts the Water Walk for Life

Posted on 21 July 2017 by Editor

A lot of sole work is about to take to the streets Saturday as the 13 day 170 mile Water Walk for Life begins on July 22 in Mahwah, NJ. The prayer walk is part of campaign to bring awareness to and advocate against the proposed Pilgrims Pipelines from a coalition of partners that includes the Coalition Against the Pilgrim Pipelines CAPP, the Ramapough Lenape Nation and Grafton Peace Pagoda. 

The Pilgrim Pipelines project has galvanized New York and New Jersey communities along its proposed 178 mile route that would run two parallel pipelines carrying oil and gas products, both raw and refined, from Albany, NY to Linden, NJ. Pilgrim Holdings, LLC, a closely held company with institutional back for the pipeline project, is advocating a plan to use NYS Thruway right-of-way for 79% of the pipelines route, with the remaining route running through parcels of private and other community property.

The 13 day Water Walk for Life will involve people gathering and participating in organized walks along the way, with participant sleepovers in local communities, potluck dinners, and after-dinner speakers.

A painting by renowned Hudson Valley landscape artist Jasper Crospey that was titled by a collector of his work as “Headwaters to the Hudson (Actually the Ramapo River).” Crospey did many drawings and paintings of the surrounding Ramapo Mountain in and around Sloatsburg and also was a guest for ten days as Jacob Sloat was preparing to build Harmony Hall. Curator Geoff Welch believes the waterway in the painting is actually the Ramapo River.

Saturday’s evening stopover camps out in Sloatsburg’s United Methodist Chapel, where Ramapo River Keeper Geoff Welch will immerse guests in the colorful history of the Ramapo River and its vital importance as a sole source aquifer to millions of residents in souther New York and norther New Jersey.

Stressing local waterways and the cascading impact of possible contamination, Welch said the proposed pipelines route would come down through Woodbury to Tuxedo near to the Ramapo River — for stretches the route would even run under the river). The proposed route would then turn west to follow Warwick Brook, which feeds Wee Wah Lake. The pipelines route turns south in Sterling Forest, entering the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County before continuing through the Ramapo Mountains in New Jersey.

“You do not risk a vital regional water supply by introducing toxic pollutants into a sole source aquifer for millions of people in New York and New Jersey,” said Welch.

The Water Walk for Life kicks offs Saturday morning with a water ceremony at the Ramapough-Lunaape Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp across from Ramapo College. The participant’s are expected to then begin the some eight mile trek to Sloatsburg after the prayer ceremony and activities. When the group reaches Sloatsburg, the Water Walk participants will set up camp at the United Methodist Chapel for the first stopover of the 13 day walk.

The wider effort to fight the building of the Pilgrims Pipeline has united like-minded groups against fracking in New York and the even the Dakota Bakken Crude pipeline protests at Standing Rock. At root is the advocacy to prioritize quality of local life and environment over other interests, which includes those of industry and growth. The Ramapo River watershed can only provide a finite amount of clean, safe water.

In densely populated areas in the Hudson Valley and eastern seaboard, it’s hard to determine when enough is enough … or, looked at another way, what’s the real cost to keep the lights on day and night?


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