The sequester has not only affected the route of the annual Save The Bay swim, but the popular and iconic annual summer fundraiser will also attract fewer swimmers on Saturday and less money too.
Many are disappointed they don’t get to swim across Narragansett Bay from Newport to Jamestown this year because the random federal budget cuts of the sequester prevented the Naval War College in Newport from participating. This will also have tangible affects on Save The Bay’s efforts to save Narragansett Bay, said spokesman Peter Hanney.
“If we had our druthers we would have made it work,” he said, “but it caught up in politics.”
Hanney said the Naval War College was just as disappointed as were Ocean State environmental activists. “The local Naval personnel were very supportive of the Swim and were equally upset with this policy decision from Washington, D.C.”
Last year about 470 people made the swim from Newport to Jamestown and this year about 400 swimmers have registered to swim the triangle pattern around Potter Cove in Jamestown.
And fewer Bay swimmers means less fundraising for Save The Bay. Last year, the swim raised more than $350,000. This year, said Hanney, “we’ll get close but we’re going to come up a little short.” He said the drop in swimmers and dollars are most likely a direct result of the retooled course.
Save The Bay could still match last year’s fundraising efforts – especially if you click on this link to donate now. They call it being a “virtual swimmer.” Click here for more on the swim in general, such as where to park and what to bring.
Since 1978, local swimmers and environmental activists have left from the Naval War College on Aquidneck Island and paralleled the Newport Bridge into Jamestown’s Potter Cove. This year swimmers will travel and triangular pattern around Potter Cove.
The annual Save The Bay swim started as a nonviolent direct action in 1977 designed to call attention to poor water quality in Narragansett Bay. Back then, Save The Bay was best known for opposing a nuclear power plant at Rome Point in North Kingstown and an LNG plant on Prudence Island. Today, both these areas are protected as federal wildlife areas instead.
Since those early swims, Save The Bay activists have been at the forefront of most of the efforts to protect the Ocean State from environmental degradation. In 1986, it led the effort to make Rhode Island the first state in the nation to mandate curbside recycling.
Can you identify these pioneering swimmers? If so, please let us know in the comment section below.