Holiday River Expeditions Offers Alternative Way to Experience Magic of Wild, Untamed Places Overrun With Crowds

By coordinating with other companies and scheduling launches and camps for maximum privacy while limiting the numbers and size of groups, Holiday River Expeditions guests won’t have to share their wilderness river or trail experience with unregulated crowds flocking to similar unpermitted, front country experiences nearby. (photo courtesy of Holiday River Expeditions)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — It’s sad but true that too many people can spoil the appeal and magic of wild, untamed places, like our national parks. Due to too much love leading to overcrowding – especially in the last two years – many national parks are having to limit entry and trail access through new reservation policies, permits and user limits.
 
In Utah alone, Deseret Media reports, “all-time visitation records were broken at four of the state’s “Mighty Five” national parks in 2021.” Totals reached more than 11 million visitors, far exceeding the 7.7 million recorded in 2020, the year when visitation plummeted as a result of the pandemic. As a result, long lines formed at entrance gates, tailhead parking filled quickly, roads and trails were over-populated and some visitors were turned away altogether.
 
Experts are predicting more of the same, if not worse conditions for 2022 and beyond. So how does one truly enjoy the serenity and wild beauty of the backcountry without having to share it with too many fellow travelers? “This is the year to leave the masses behind and experience the benefits of joining a small group, professionally guided tour,” says Karen Johnson of Holiday River Expeditions, based in Salt Lake City.
 
Offering a variety of whitewater rafting and mountain biking adventures from two days to over a week long, Holiday River Expeditions trips are limited in number of participants and have real Covid-wise appeal; from the small trip sizes, to low ratios of guests to guides on a boat, not to mention the canyon breeze making contagions float farther away than any indoor excursions.
 
By coordinating with other companies and scheduling launches and camps for maximum privacy while limiting the numbers and size of groups, guests won’t have to share their wilderness river or trail experience with unregulated crowds flocking to similar unpermitted, front country experiences nearby.
 
“What we are offering with our trips is an escape into the backcountry without the crowds,” explains Johnson. “You can experience Canyonlands National Park and not have to wait in a line or worry about getting a campsite. Our backcountry trips require federal permits – which regulates the number of people able to access certain areas at any given time, so no unpleasant surprises.”
 
Johnson also points out, “Due to the desire to create a ‘pandemic bubble”, custom and exclusive group outings are on the rise. With this increase in interest in private trips and the ability to secure such permits becoming very difficult, signing onto a scheduled tour departure may be the only good option to still get out on a trip this year.”
 
A guided tour comes with other benefits as well: 

  • Tours are a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors without the hassles and crowds with guides and staff performing all the work and heavy lifting. 
  • Get real! Disconnect from electronics and the “virtual” world.
  • Quiet the noise! Disconnect from the daily barrage of negative news. 
  • Reconnect with friends and family in a setting that you can feel safe in (from the throws of the pandemic). 
  • Clear your mind and soul. Feel the healing power of nature. 
  • Escape civilization! No concrete, paved trails, parking lots, traffic, crowds, lines to wait in, overpriced concessions and inconsiderate tourists. 
  • See the Milky Way in International Dark Sky Parks. 
  • Campgrounds are private. See some of the most beautiful places imaginable with minimal effort exerted. Better chances of seeing wildlife. 
  • Enjoy multiple days’ worth of interaction with knowledgeable and charismatic guides who have worked in these places for years. Better than a single short interaction with a park ranger or curator. 

“The park system was really ahead of its time in setting use limits for commercial operators decades before overcrowding and pandemic contagions were a concern,” Johnson points out. “Thanks in no small part to our founder Dee Holladay’s participation in the creation of ‘Backcountry Management Plans’ in the 1970’s we have a system that works perfectly for the public and for those of us who make a living providing controlled backcountry access to anyone seeking adventure and nature at its purest.”

Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. The family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands in comfort and security. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2022 call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/

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Kontiki Expeditions Launches Luxury Small-Ship Cruises Along Coastal Ecuador

Kontiki Expeditions, the first water-based member of Small Luxury Hotels and a proponent of sustainable, “neo-luxury” travel, is introducing an eight-day exploration aboard th 132-foot, 18-passenger M/S Wayra of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast, allowing for a rich cultural adventure and an exclusive voyage (photo courtesy Kontiki Expeditions)

Manta, Ecuador – Beginning late March 2022, Kontiki Expeditions will offer an eight-day exploration of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast, allowing for a rich cultural adventure and an exclusive voyage. With only nine staterooms and excursions to sparsely populated coastal ports, social distancing on the 132-foot M/S Wayra is the norm rather than the exception. Kontiki Expeditions is the first water-based member of Small Luxury Hotels and a proponent of sustainable, “neo-luxury” travel.

Kontiki Expeditions is a new concept in luxury ocean cruises focusing on conscious travel and immersive water and land experiences. Carrying a maximum of 18 guests, Kontiki’s 128-foot superyacht M/S Kontiki Wayra travels two routes along the Ecuadorian coast, immersing guests in the country’s wealth of birds, animals, flora, fauna, indigenous foods and cultural traditions while adhering to a “neo luxury” philosophy of sustainability and giving back to the communities visited. The yacht’s small size and routes allow access to smaller ports and villages starting from or ending in Manta or Guayaquil. Guests will visit small towns and nature reserves while experiencing the adventure of an expedition cruise.

Prior to each cruise, a Kontiki concierge will reach out to determine each guest’s culinary and activity wishes, creating a bespoke experience that allows for activities to meet varying interests. Additionally, the yacht can be booked as a full charter tailored to the desires of a group.

“We have the luxury of delving deeply into the areas we visit,” notes Carlos Nuñez, CEO and founder of Kontiki Expeditions. “Guests, more than ever, are looking for smaller environments on board and on land, with fewer people and less exposure to risk. We are proud to offer our luxurious yacht and crew to create an experience that is enriching, exciting and safe.”

He adds, “Environmental protection is critical when it comes to cruising. We adhere to strict sustainability standards on board, at sea and on land.  We are also committed to a variety of social programs including sponsorship of the Real Madrid Foundation to promote values to children through sports.”

The Expeditions

The new Kontiki Expeditions yacht, M/Y Wayra offers two eight-day itineraries, The Toquilla Expedition and The Spondylus Expedition, in which Kontiki will transport guests to untouristed areas in Ecuador to explore and celebrate the indigenous cultures within a context of wellness.

Programs and excursions are led by 13 crew members and two local experts committed to sustainability and conscious travel. Onboard, wellness professionals, naturalist guides and a local chef who creates farm-to-table and sea-to-table cuisine add to the distinctive Kontiki expedition. Gastronomic experiences featuring local chocolate, seafood, and produce will be enjoyed both onboard and on land.

The superyacht is a testament to luxury with a sundeck, gourmet salon, two outdoor lounges, bar, hot tub, massage, yoga, and a gym and fitness area. Staterooms are stylishly appointed with an eye to comfort using local, sustainable materials, decorated with a sense of place. Automated lights, A/V and A/C plus unlimited WiFi add to the luxury. A nearly 1:1 crew to guest ratio allows for personalization and attention to guest needs and interests, from packing and unpacking luggage to creating a special meal or activity.

Guests can expect to see the country’s beloved blue-footed boobies along with sea lions and howler monkeys… without the crowds. Mixing float time with the use of water toys and water activities including diving, snorkeling and SUP, Kontiki will visit small coastal ports where locals will join Kontiki staff in leading visits. Daily on-board schedules rotate with cooking classes, wellness activities, and chocolate and coffee tastings.

Excursions and Islands

Kontiki Expedition excursions include hands-on experiences and observations of lifestyles, handicrafts, cuisine and traditions:

·         A visit to a cocoa farm to  learn about chocolate making and enjoy a chocolate tasting

·         A gastronomic experience with ancestral cuisine and a cooking demonstration

·         Visit to a New Latitude vineyard for a special tasting

·         Hiking with wildlife spotting in the Pacoche Humid Forest and nature reserve

·         Visit to the artisan Toquilla straw hat weavers

·         Visit to San Lorenzo lighthouse for amazing coastal views and visit to the turtle nesting site

·         Sailing to Isla de la Plata for a day of marine activities and a wildlife hike

·         Visit to ancient community of Agua Blanca with a wellness-oriented swimming experience in the sulphurous lagoon

·         Visit to Los Frailes beach to the marine beach club for marine golf, kayaking, diving, paddle boarding and more

Islands and inland areas visited include Bahia de Caraquez, San Mateo, Pile, San Lorenzo, Isla de la Plata, Agua Blanca, and Puyango where local communities welcome Kontiki passengers and indigenous blue-footed boobies, howler monkeys, cuzumbos, silver rays and hummingbirds abound.  

Guest and crew health and safety are priorities and sanitization and wellness protocols are summarized on Kontiki’s website at https://kontikiexpeditions.com/en/health-policy/.

Pricing begins at $7245 USD per person per week, based on double occupancy, and includes all activities, meals, transfers to and from ports, park entrance fees, guided expeditions and more. Solo traveler rate and private charter rates are also available.

Expeditions for Environmentally Conscious Travelers

The first water-based member of Small Luxury Hotels, Kontiki Expeditions is a pioneer in conscious luxury travel, offering immersive and sustainable superyacht expeditions. Sailing the untouristed Ecuadorian coast, the nine-stateroom Kontiki Expeditions yachts introduce a maximum of 18 guests to the richness of the land and sea.

On-board crew include a local chef, naturalist and wellness experts. Multi-stop itineraries feature hiking, snorkeling, meetings with locals, in-depth cultural explorations, wellness activities and gastronomy. Kontiki Expeditions travelers experience the country’s biodiversity – including its famous blue-footed boobies and howler monkeys — all in a protected environment where sustainability and uncrowded venues are paramount. Kontiki prides itself in giving back to the communities visited with resources and education. 

Health protocols prior to boarding, on ship, on land, and prior to departure are strictly followed. The Safe Travels accreditation by WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) has been achieved for all sailings.

For more information, visit www.kontikiexpeditions.com/en, call +5933984364149; email info@kontikiexpeditions.com or join in the conversation on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. For a sample of where Kontiki Expeditions will voyage, visit https://vimeo.com/376273581/a70b344db1.

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Newest Destination Worthy of Exploration by Lindblad Expeditions: America’s East Coast

Maine’s famous Rockland Light guides sailing vessels in the Penobscot Bay, one of the destinations of Lindblad Expeditions’ new expeditionary sailing itineraries along the East Coast © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

NEW YORK — Lindblad Expeditions is introducing new itineraries to explore an area few know exists and even fewer will ever experience: America’s East Coast. Starting this fall, Lindblad Expeditions is launching seven new itineraries for 2022 and 2023 designed to explore the most ecologically and culturally diverse destinations along the East Coast. They will take a unique expeditionary approach as they go in search of the wild, seldom-seen side of the Eastern Seaboard. Along this dynamic coastline, often not too far from bustling cities, you’ll find uninhabited islands with wildlife refuges and abandoned forts and castles, many of which are unknown even to locals.

Ranging from six to eight days, the itineraries will feature Maine, Cape Cod, Georgia, South Carolina low country, New York’s Hudson Valley, and the Chesapeake area off the coast of Maryland. Set aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion, the intimately scaled ship will explore secluded coves and barrier islands on wholly unique expeditions that would be impossible to replicate without a private yacht and an army of experts. From the windswept sand dunes of the South to Mid-Atlantic estuarine backwaters and island villages in the North with no paved roads, these exclusive journeys will take guests into little-known American wilderness, history, and culture.

East Coast itineraries and highlights below, rates are based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.

Exploring the Hudson River: Fall Colors, Conservation & CreativityThrough the cascading colors of autumn, “America’s First River” will welcome guests on a journey into a place of serene nature, conservation, and transformation via expertly curated experiences. Explore the Hudson Valley Natural Heritage Area, part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve, kayak in riverside wetlands on the lookout for bald eagles, wood ducks, and muskrats. Meet the passionate caretakers who have written the region’s conservation success stories. Visit Storm King Mountain Art Center and Sleepy Hollow, to hear Washington Irving’s ageless tale re-told. Photographers will love the opportunities to capture the iconic lighthouses and bridges along the voyage. Departures Oct 13, 27; Nov 3, 10, 2022; Oct 14, 2023. Rates begin at $5,590.

Wild South Carolina Escape: Beaufort and the Barrier Islands On this unforgettable Eastern Seaboard adventure guests will voyage windswept islands, wildlife refuges, picturesque neighborhoods on Sea Islands, and a string of barrier and tidal isles that carve South Carolina’s Low Country into a maze of waterways and wilderness. Guests will watch for fauna, alligators, and loggerhead turtles on the pristine wilderness of St. Phillip’s Island and coast in a Zodiac along the shores of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge to view dolphins and seabirds. Explore one of the country’s most beautiful towns, Beaufort, S.C., where opulent mansions and historic churches and schools tell stories of the past. Departures Nov 22, 2022; Apr 29, May 4, 9, 14, 2023. Rates begin at $3,990.

Exploring the Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Encounter sea turtles, stroll through charming Charleston and Savannah, and meet the Gullah-Geechee residents of Hog Hammock on a fascinating adventure through the Low Country’s wild landscapes and coastal communities. Navigate through an intricate web of waterways offer undulating dunes, meadows, marshes, and forests that teem with birdlife and other creatures. Discover these stunning wilderness areas with expert naturalists, kayak in salt marshes and coastal lagoons rich with wildlife, including American alligators and dolphins. Meet researchers at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island; and enjoy excellent spring birding, watching for roseate spoonbills, wood storks, tricolored herons, and up to 20 species of migrant warblers. Departures April 8, 15, 22, 2023. Rates begin at $5,760.

New York City to Cape Cod: Discovering Whales, Great White Sharks, and Seafaring History  Sail beneath the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on the way to Long Island Sound, where guests will discover little-known archipelagos via kayak and Zodiac cruise. Explore the many islands of Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, encounter some of the world’s largest common tern colonies on Great Gull Island and see tens of thousands of gray seals. The marine ecosystems are equally fascinating with eelgrass meadows, corals, sponges, and an underwater plateau that draws 17 species of whales, creating New England’s only national marine sanctuary. Enjoy seaside towns, lighthouses, and historic forts, with an insider’s look at leading scientific research stations and important conservation efforts.  Visit Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the world, and Plum and Penikese Islands. Departures June 25; Aug 5, 12; Oct 2, 2023. Rates begin at $5,760.

Exploring Lobsters, Lighthouses, and Hidden Inlets of Coastal Maine Go whale watching in the Stellwagen Bank Marine Reserve, New England’s only national marine sanctuary, and visit the offshore seabird colony of Eastern Egg Rock, site of the world’s first restored Atlantic puffin colony. Explore rocky islets by kayak, paddleboard, or Zodiac, and take advantage of the golden light of summer and early fall for excellent photographic opportunities. Visit the artist communities of Provincetown and Monhegan Island, and feast on a classic Maine lobster boil.  Departures July 2, 29; Aug 19; Sept 25, 2023. Rates begin at$5,760.

Wild Chesapeake Bay Escape: Waterways, Watermen, and Wildlife Explore the remote coves and islands of America’s largest estuary in the silent backwaters and fragile ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay. Voyage to Smith and Tangier Islands, the Chesapeake’s only inhabited islands, to discover the unique culture and history of the bay’s watermen. Guests will paddleboard, kayak, and ride Zodiacs along the tributaries, remote islands, inlets, and coves of the Chesapeake, learning about the delicate ecosystems of the Chesapeake and the work of conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the ecological balance of the bay. Departures May 30, June 4, 9, 14, 19, 2023. Rates begin at $4,110.

Wild Maine Escape: Exploring Downeast & Acadia National Park On a rejuvenating expedition along Maine’s wild and rugged coast, time stands still in tiny fishing villages on remote islands, in the quiet coves of rocky islets, and in the ancient tall stands of pine and spruce forests. Explore the world’s first restored Atlantic puffin colony; windswept places that inspired writers and artists, and remote communities with no paved roads. Discover Acadia National Park’s secluded Schoodic Peninsula by kayak and hikes. Photograph the lighthouses and picturesque harbors of Penobscot Bay and visit artists on Monhegan Island. Meet local researchers and enjoy a farm-to-table dinner at a farm on North Haven Island. Departures July 9, 14, 19, 24; Aug 26, 2023. Rates begin at $4,110. 

THE UNITED COASTS OF AMERICA OFFER – To celebrate America’s wild places on both stunning coasts, Lindblad Expeditions has a special offer for guests who join a U.S. expedition—travel on any U.S. West Coast (Alaska, Pacific Northwest, or Channel Islands) 2022 expedition and receive 20% off any U.S. East Coast Expedition in 2022 or 2023.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

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Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Resolution to Explore Arctic Svalbard Earlier than Ever, Adds 2 Departures

Lindblad Expeditions will venture to the Arctic earlier in the season than ever before when they bring their newest polar vessel, the 126-guest National Geographic Resolution, to Svalbard on two newly added departures (photo courtesy Lindblad Expeditions)

NEW YORK — Lindblad Expeditions announced that this April the small-ship expeditionary cruise line, will venture to the Arctic earlier in the season than ever before when they bring their newest polar vessel, the 126-guest National Geographic Resolution, to Svalbard on two newly added departures.

The expeditions will take place during the Arctic’s spring awakening—a true Arctic refuge, covered in snow and surrounded by sea ice—illuminated by the astonishing light that provides “magic hour” most of the day.  It is an experience few have witnessed, and National Geographic Resolution’s ice class and technology, with the experience of Lindblad’s polar captains, was built for these exact conditions. 

Set against stunning icescapes and snow-covered mountains, the expedition will voyage deep into and around the Svalbard Archipelago in search of walrus, seals with their pups, and polar bears returning to their spring hunting grounds on the pack ice. Guests will have the opportunity to walk on the frozen sea ice, an adventure only possible in early spring. Photographers will be blown away by the lights and landscapes, and novices and experts alike can capture it all with expert photographers onboard to help bring their skills to the next level.

Sven Lindblad, founder of Lindblad Expeditions, will be joining the April 18th departure.  Sven led a small reconnaissance team in Svalbard to determine whether early spring would be a good time of year to explore this extraordinary region for their guests. “It was without a doubt the most magical Arctic experience any of us had ever had. It was stunningly beautiful, and we validated every premise that we imagined. Unique and wondrous, we were alone in one of the world’s wildest places,” he remarked.

The 11-day Svalbard in Spring: Polar Bears, Arctic Light & Epic Ice voyages are set for April 18 and April 25, 2022. Rates begin at $11,990 per person, based on double occupancy in a category one cabin.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

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Lindblad Expeditions Goes Beyond the Inside Passage with Two New Alaska Itineraries

Alaska, Katmai National Park. After recently adding National Geographic Sea Lion, Lindblad Expeditions, the small ship expedition cruise line, is deploying National Geographic Orion on two expeditions this summer that will take guests into and beyond Alaska’s Inside Passage to untrammeled, hard-to-reach spots along the gulf coast (photo courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions)

NEW YORK — Excitement is high for Alaska’s epic wildness and wide-open spaces this season and Lindblad Expeditions is offering guests an extraordinary selection of itineraries to explore it.  After recently adding National Geographic Sea Lion, the small ship expedition cruise line has just announced that National Geographic Orion will also embark on two expeditions this summer that will take guests into and beyond Alaska’s Inside Passage to untrammeled, hard-to-reach spots along the gulf coast.

Both itineraries will offer guests a comprehensive exploration including their most sweeping coastal expedition ever of southeast and southcentral Alaska, and a remarkable Bering Sea adventure exploring the Pribilofs, Katmai and Kodiak.   

The elegant, 100-guest National Geographic Orion will do a series of six Alaska departures.  All voyages will provide guests the wild, iconic Alaska experience Lindblad Expeditions has honed over nearly 40 years of expedition discovery.  Guests will witness the exhilarating wildness only accessible via small, nimble ships as they explore deep into remote Alaska—surrounded by extraordinary wildlife and epic landscapes. 

And, for guests looking to reconnect with friends and family in Alaska this summer: book three full-paying guests and bring a fourth person free on select departures of ‘Epic Coastal Alaska’. Or take advantage of a complimentary hotel night and special air savings on ‘Bering Sea Wilderness’. The itineraries, departure dates and starting rates are:

  • Epic Coastal Alaska: This 15-day adventure will cruise amidst the temperate rainforests and wildlife-rich waters of coastal British Columbia, and explore the fjords, villages, and wildlife of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Enter Yakutat and Disenchantment Bays, up to the face of seven-mile-wide Hubbard Glacier, spend a day within Prince William Sound, known for its spectacular mountains and massive tidewater glaciers. Check seabirds and marine mammals off your life lists as you Zodiac, kayak or stand-up paddleboard among myriad of islands that play host to a diverse population of wildlife. This unprecedented voyage could only be made on a superbly designed ice-class vessel like the yacht-sized National Geographic Orion, which has the nimbleness to navigate the Inside Passage, and the stability and raw power to handle the open water of the Gulf of Alaska.   Departures are set for June 12, June 26, July 10 and August 17, 2022.  Rates begin at $19,990 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.
  • Bering Sea Wilderness: Pribilofs, Katmai and Kodiak: Explore a seldom-seen side of Alaska on this 13-day voyage. Visit coastal Katmai National Park, one of the premier brown bear viewing areas in the world; as well as seldom-visited Lake Clark National Park in the shadow of a 10,000-foot steaming volcano. Discover remote and rugged islands dotting the Kenai Peninsula, including the Pribilofs, which serve as the breeding ground for millions of seabirds and marine mammals; Unalaska, the site of a fierce WWII battle; Unga, known for its scattered remains of a petrified forest. Cross the iconic Bering Strait and learn about the modern and indigenous histories of this fascinating region.  Guests will explore Katmai National Park, the Aleutian Chain and Lake Clark National Park. Departures are July 24 and August 5, 2022.   Rates begin at $17,830 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.  

Lindblad Expeditions is also partnering with ROAM Luggage on an exclusive promotion for guests who book a 2022 Epic Coastal Alaska or the Bering Sea Wilderness Alaska voyage on National Geographic Orion. The first 100 bookings that mention ‘ROAM AK’ at the time of booking will receive The Jaunt, ROAM’S ultimate carry-on luggage with wheels.  

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

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Atlas Ocean Voyages Realigns Inclusions to Provide Lower Cruise Fares for Luxe-Adventure Cruises

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – Atlas Ocean Voyages, the luxe-adventure expedition line, is now offering its voyages independent of included air travel and shore excursions, for departures from April 24, 2022, and beyond. Atlas remains an all-inclusive cruise, and, with the new set of inclusions, travelers enjoy more competitive cruise fares, as well as more convenient options for air travel and more personalized, shoreside adventure options in small and authentic ports, a hallmark of Atlas’ distinctive itineraries. 

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – Atlas Ocean Voyages, the luxe-adventure expedition line, is now offering its voyages independent of included air travel and shore excursions, for departures from April 24, 2022, and beyond. Atlas remains an all-inclusive cruise, and, with the new set of inclusions, travelers enjoy more competitive cruise fares, as well as more convenient options for air travel and more personalized, shoreside adventure options in small and authentic ports, a hallmark of Atlas’ distinctive itineraries. 

World Navigator is currently completing her successful inaugural Antarctica season and will be charting a course for the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, The Arctic, Iceland, Greenland and the Fjords in April.

“Since our first ship, World Navigator, launched in August 2021, we have learned a lot from our travel advisor partners and guests,” said Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages. “And from their feedback, we are refining and realigning those aspects of the Atlas experience that they have told us they value most. As a result of these improvements, Atlas’ cruise fares will be more attractive, as well as provide greater choice and flexibility for guests.”

“What has not changed is our commitment to deliver excellent luxury adventures to travelers and our appreciation of our valued travel advisor partners,” Alberto adds. “That is evident with our current promotion of paying travelers $2,000 to incentivize them to book with a travel advisor.”

For all new bookings made through March 31, 2022, travelers can enjoy a savings of $1,000 per guest – up to $2,000 per room – for making their luxe-adventure voyage booking with a Travel Advisor.

On board, guests enjoy Atlas Ocean Voyages’ signature relaxed luxury style and inclusions, such as prepaid gratuities, premium wine and spirits, international beers and specialty coffees, international gourmet cuisine, and L’OCCITANE bath amenities. In every stateroom, guests enjoy robes, slippers and binoculars to use throughout the voyage, personalized coffee, teas and bar service, and butler service in suites.

Atlas Ocean Voyages is a luxe-adventure, expedition cruise line designed for discerning, fun-seeking travelers to immerse in unique and awe-inspiring moments in remote and captivating destinations. Launched in August 2021, World Navigator features 98 suites, solo suites with no single supplements, and staterooms and is the line’s first newly constructed small expedition ship, which can reach smaller, authentic and exclusive locales where larger ships cannot reach.

World Navigator will cruise the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Iceland, Greenland and The Arctic in summer 2022; Central and South America in the autumn; and return to Antarctica for her winter 2022-23 season. Atlas’ second ship, World Traveller, launches in November 2022, with three additional sister ships, World SeekerWorld Adventurer and World Discoverer, to join the fleet by 2024.

Summer, Autumn 2023 Voyages Announced

Expanding its selections of luxe-adventure voyages to remote and captivating destinations around the world, Atlas Ocean Voyages announced new summer and autumn 2023 voyages. Comprising 34 voyages aboard the line’s two newly constructed, luxurious small ships, World Navigator and World Traveller, Atlas’ new season begins on March 26, 2023, and covers four continents on seven- to 21-night itineraries. 

World Navigator will sail Africa, and the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, while World Traveller will cruise Central and South America, the Caribbean, Western Africa and Western Mediterranean, Ireland and the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, Greenland, and the Arctic. Atlas adds 60 new destinations for the season and features overnight stays in 46 individual ports, delivering more immersive experiences in small and off-the-beaten-path destinations unreachable by larger ships.

For a limited time, Atlas Ocean Voyages is offering savings of up to $1,000 per stateroom, and up to 15 percent additional savings when booking two or more consecutive voyages by March 31, 2022.

“With World Navigator and World Traveller’s new 2023 voyages, Atlas Ocean Voyages continues to offer travelers more choices of luxe-adventure experiences in some of the world’s most fascinating places,” said Aliberti. “Nearly all ports-of-call are non-repeating and provide travelers the opportunity to combine consecutive voyages for extended and in-depth regional immersions and save. On board, guests will enjoy Atlas’ signature casually elegant, all-inclusive style for a luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime adventure.”

After completing her second Antarctica season on March 31, World Navigator charts a course eastward from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Cape Town, South Africa, via the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the very remote outposts of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Islands in the South Atlantic. The ship then heads north along Africa’s west coast to the Canary Islands and Morocco before crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into the Alboran and Mediterranean Seas. The May 10 voyage includes two full days in Casablanca, Morocco, to provide guests additional time to tour more-inland Marrakesh.

World Navigator also delivers compelling Mediterranean destinations throughout Spain, France and Italy. A special eight-night Grand Prix voyage, departing May 21, features two nights in Monaco to catch the race and join in the celebrations. In the heart of the season, travelers can also choose luxury adventures that unveil the vibrant colors and cultures of the Adriatic, Greek Isles, and Turkey. World Navigator then retraces her course westward in early autumn through the Mediterranean and continues onward to Brazil and Argentina to arrive at Ushuaia on November 9.

Alternatively, the newly launched World Traveller heads north from Ushuaia on March 26 to bring guests to explore the heritage and natural splendor along the Chilean and Peruvian coasts. Travelers can also delve into the ecological grandeur of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua on a 12-night itinerary departing April 28. Offering another chance to cross off a bucket-list experience, World Traveller will transit the Panama Canal and cruise the Southern Caribbean before crossing the Atlantic to the Canary Islands.

From the Canary Islands, World Traveller features two 10-night voyages that combine the archipelago with Morocco. Both departures include overnight calls in Casablanca, but the June 6 voyage includes a call at Safi to access Marrakesh, while the June 16 voyage includes calls at Cadiz, Spain, and Portimao, Portugal. The ship then continues north to the British Isles, Ireland, Norwegian Fjords and Greenland for July.

World Traveller crosses the north 66th parallel in August to offer multiple opportunities to see the Northern Lights, including three Arctic expeditions in Svalbard. Guests can marvel at the archipelago’s majestic glaciers, fjords and mountains, and catch sightings of a wide range of wildlife, including birds, whales, polar bears, reindeer, walrus and the elusive arctic fox. Guests can also choose the subsequent Iceland circumnavigation voyage to witness the contrast of land of fire and ice. The ship then charts her course southbound via the British Isles, Ireland, France and Spain to conclude her season on October 16 at Lisbon.

Atlas Ocean Voyages is a luxe-adventure, expedition cruise line designed for discerning, fun-seeking travelers to immerse in unique and awe-inspiring moments in remote and captivating destinations. World Navigator, launched in August 2021, and World Traveller, launching October 2022, both feature 98 suites, solo suites with no single supplements, and staterooms, and is the line’s first two small expedition ship, bringing travelers to smaller, authentic and exclusive locales. World Navigator will cruise the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Iceland, Greenland and The Arctic in summer 2022; Central and South America in the autumn; and return to Antarctica for her winter 2022-23 season. In winter 2023, World Traveller will sail her inaugural season in Antarctica. Three additional sister ships, World SeekerWorld Adventurer and World Discoverer, will join the fleet through 2024.

For more information about Atlas Ocean Voyages, visit www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com. Travel Advisors can call 1.844.44.ATLAS (1.844.442.8527) to book their clients on an unforgettable luxe-adventure expedition.

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US Tour Operators Mark World Wildlife Day

US Tour Operators Association marked World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2022 by spotlighting programs from its tour operator members that focus on wildlife education and appreciation. Here, Gullfoss Waterfall, visited on Great Value Vacations’ Iceland Escape: Golden Circle and Whale Watching tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK – The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) marked World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2022 by spotlighting programs from its tour operator members that focus on wildlife education and appreciation. From observing endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda to trekking through the rainforest of Bako National Park in Malaysia, each tour program offers up-close-and-personal experiences with abundant opportunities for natural and cultural immersion in each destination. 

“As USTOA turns 50 this year, our tour operator members are looking ’50 years forward’ to provide sustainable and responsible travel experiences,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO. “World Wildlife Day is an ideal way to raise awareness of the fragile flora and fauna that populates our planet, and that our members take great care to preserve and protect.”

Here’s just a sample of programs to inspire travelers in 2022:

Tauck offers a thirteen-day Kenya & Tanzania: A Classic Safari 2022 tour to those yearning for outdoor adventure. This itinerary takes a group of no more than 30 Tauck travelers to visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and the Willian Holden Wildlife Education Center to observe the flora and fauna of Kenya and Tanzania.  Travelers will end their trip activities by floating in a hot air balloon over Masai Mara. Departures are available between May and December 2022 with prices starting at $10,890 for two people. www.tauck.com

Travelers will enjoy excursions to Thingvellir National Park, the mesmerizing Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Geysir geothermal area on a four-to-six-day Iceland Escape: Golden Circle and Whale Watching tour with Great Value Vacations. This itinerary includes traveling to Reykjavik, the northernmost capital of the world, to go whale watching, observe sea birds and other sea life, climb the famous Hallgrímskirkja Church, and more. Departures are available between April 2022 and December 2022 with prices starting at $1,153 per person. www.greatvaluevacations.com   

Travelers will have the opportunity to explore one of the last truly wild places on the planet on a ten-day Wild Sarawak tour with Intrepid Travel. The itinerary includes exploring Southeast Asia’s labyrinthian caves in Mulu National Park, searching for monkeys through the rainforest and jungle stream of Bako National Park, trekking through the jungle of Labuan Island and more. Departures are available between April and December 2022 with prices starting at $1,620 per person. www.intrepidtravel.com   

Abercrombie & Kent offers a five-day Tailor Made Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest itinerary jam-packed with mountain hikes through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, trekking through the park’s dense vegetation to observe the endangered mountain gorilla, and more. Departures are available between March and October 2022 with prices starting at $3,995 per person. www.abercrombiekent.com  

Find all itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at https://ustoa.travelstride.com/trip-list/wildlife

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value, and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for 50 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents. 

For more information, visit www.ustoa.com.   

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Against Backdrop of Ukraine Crisis, Rise in Antisemitic Hate Crimes, “Courage to Remember” Holocaust Exhibition Opens in NYS Capitol

“Courage to Remember,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 40-panel traveling exhibition on the Nazi Holocaust is on view at New York State’s capitol building from March 22-25, 2022.

Albany, NY – Against the backdrop of the horrific invasion of Ukraine and continuing anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S., New York State Senator Anna Kaplan, a leading advocate for increased Holocaust education in the state’s schools, is bringing the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (SWC) “Courage to Remember” exhibition on the Holocaust to the State Capitol.

“Courage to Remember” is the SWC’s 40-panel traveling exhibition on the Nazi Holocaust, which has been seen on six continents by tens of millions of people and continues to be displayed in cities across the United States and across the globe. It is on view from March 22-25, 2022.

The exhibition is being brought to Albany days after the NYPD reported a 400% spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City over the month of February. The “Courage to Remember” exhibition not only serves as a memorial for the past, but also reenforces what could transpire if the evils wrought by tyrants are left unchecked.

This exhibition has additional significance amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. As a pretext for Russia’s invasion, President Putin has falsely weaponized the Nazi Holocaust as a ploy to invade a peaceful neighbor and unleashed one of the worst humanitarian disasters of this century. The Russian invasion has also damaged the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial, houses of worship, kindergartens, and schools. 

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC’s Associate Dean & Director of Global Social Action, remarked that “these events have shed light on the dangers of Holocaust distortion, which is a rapidly growing new variant of anti-Semitism. Furthermore the ‘Courage to Remember’ exhibition reinforces the importance of Holocaust monuments which serve as an invaluable teaching tool and physical reminder of the lessons of the past.”

Rabbi Cooper will provide a tour of the exhibit along with Senator Kaplan, as well as present SWC’s endorsement of The Holocaust Education bill, S.121A/A.472A which is currently under consideration in the Legislature.

“Six million Jews and millions of others, including Gypsies, Slavs, political dissenters, homosexuals, P.O.W.’s and the mentally ill and infirm were murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The Nazi policy of racial hatred moved with relentless cruelty from hateful propaganda to mass murder, culminating in the extermination of European Jewry and culture,” The Simon Wiesenthal Center stated.

“The magnitude of brutality, the remorseless cruelty, and the cold industrial character of mass murder during the Holocaust are unique. However, the root causes of the Holocaust persist.

“Racial hatred, economic crises, human psychological and moral flaws, the complacency or complicity of ordinary individuals in the persecution of their neighbors are still ominously common.

“Thus we must have the courage to remember and study the Holocaust, no matter how disturbing these studies and memories may be. For only informed, understanding, and morally committed individuals can prevent such persecution from happening again. The persecution of people is always and everywhere intolerable and to act against it is a beginning for hope.”

“The Courage to Remember” is both a tribute and a warning; a tribute to the six million Jews and millions of others, including Gypsies, Slavs, political dissenters, homosexuals, and prisoners of war, who were murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945; and a warning that the root causes of the Holocaust persist.

The importance of teaching about the Holocaust and about the dangers of unchecked bigotry and hatred is also relevant in light of right-wing efforts to ban teaching of such “uncomfortable” subjects as slavery, the genocide of American Indians, anti-immigration movements and systemic racism. It’s a reflection that the title of the exhibit is ‘The Courage to Remember.” Why does it take “courage” to remember?

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National Comedy Center to Open ‘Carl Reiner: Keep Laughing’ Exhibit

Jamestown, NY – As the world remembers the late comedy legend Carl Reiner on his 100th birthday this Sunday, March 20, the National Comedy Center – the United States’ official cultural institution dedicated to the art form of comedy, and the home of Reiner’s career archive — continues digitizing and preserving rare documents, scripts and artifacts spanning Reiner’s extraordinary career in preparation for its new, multi-media exhibit: Carl Reiner: Keep Laughing, debuting on July 1, 2022. 

The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress. Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy, the non-profit National Comedy Center, which opened in 2018, showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. The Comedy Center’s mission is to provide education on the comedic arts in the form of commentary and contextualization of its bodies of work across all eras and genres of the art form. The museum complex offers an unprecedented, immersive visitor experience using state-of-the-art technology, interactivity and personalization.

The new exhibit will showcase hundreds of never-before-seen archival materials spanning Reiner’s remarkable seven decades as a writer, director, producer, author, and performer. Visitors will explore interactive stations that feature rare audiovisual clips, creative papers, photographs, and dimensional artifacts that intimately chronicle a lifetime of creative output: from Reiner’s early years as a performer on Sid Caesar’s legendary Your Show of Shows to his creation of the seminal The Dick Van Dyke Show, from his collaboration with Mel Brooks on the Grammy-winning 2000 Year Old Man to his acclaimed cinematic partnership with Steve Martin (The Jerk, All of Me and more), and across his far-reaching contributions to the comedic art form. The exhibit will run throughout 2022 and beyond.

On the occasion of Reiner’s 100th birthday, the National Comedy Center released images of select artifacts and documents which will be on display in the exhibit, including Reiner’s typewriter case and original, typed manuscript for the first episode of Head of the Family – which would become the legendary The Dick Van Dyke Show; rare photos of Reiner with Mel Brooks, with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, and with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore; the cowboy hat that Reiner wore in the final episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show; and a manila envelope with Reiner’s New Rochelle, NY address on Bonnie Meadow Road (just one number off from Rob Petrie’s address in The Dick Van Dyke Show)  in which he kept early short stories, and more. 

Reiner, who was a founding Advisory Board member of the National Comedy Center, will also be celebrated with a special event, Carl Reiner at 100 – Celebrating a Comedy Legacy, on July 27, 2022, as the National Comedy Center partners with nearby, world-renowned Chautauqua Institution for an evening program featuring those who knew them best – including children Annie, Lucas and Rob Reiner, and best friend Mel Brooks – joining together for a one-of-a-kind evening of laughter as they reflect on Reiner’s life, career and legacy. The presentation will feature in-person and video appearances by special guests as well as rare footage from the National Comedy Center’s new exhibit.

With a multi-faceted career spanning television, film, stage, record albums, books and even social media, Carl Reiner, who passed away in June of 2020, was a twelve-time Emmy® award-winner, a Grammy® award-winner and a recipient of The Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, 

Reiner was an early advocate and an instrumental supporter for the National Comedy Center’s vision to celebrate comedy as an art form. In 2021, the National Comedy Center formally named its ongoing work to preserve comedy’s heritage in honor of Reiner. The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation serves as the central hub for all archival and preservation work within the Comedy Center, as it continues its mission to present the history of comedy and preserve comedy’s heritage for future generations. 

The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation is an incubator for the study and dissemination of comedy history, and a resource for educating artists, students, scholars and the public about comedy’s great minds and unique voices. The Department leads research, conservation and exhibition activities throughout the organization, including the acquisition of artifacts, documents and audiovisual materials that chronicle the story of comedy across all genres and eras of the art form.

Reiner’s career archive includes thousands of pages of creative papers and business correspondence; unpublished comedy material; rare photographs, film footage and audio recordings from his personal and professional life; and industry awards, including his Emmys and Mark Twain Prize. The comprehensive collection includes early drafts and final scripts written by Reiner throughout his career with his handwritten annotations – from the earliest material from his Army days and “Your Show of Shows” sketches to all 158 “Dick Van Dyke Show” scripts, and his film screenplays. Also included are the chairs and TV trays used for years by Reiner and his best friend and frequent collaborator ­­– comedy legend Mel Brooks ­– as they would spend evenings together eating dinner and watching television.

The National Comedy Center has collaborated with dozens of artists and estates to preserve materials that represent comedy’s significant artistic, social, and political contributions to American culture including collections illustrating the careers of legendary artists like George Carlin, Lucille Ball, Lenny Bruce, The Smothers Brothers, and the development of groundbreaking creative work such as sketch comedy series In Living ColorSaturday Night Live and more.

The National Comedy Center’s Advisory Board includes the recent addition of Tiffany Haddish – filling the seat held by the late Carl Reiner – along with Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Paula Poundstone, Pixar’s Pete Docter, Paul Feig, Kelly Carlin, and more. 

Within the Comedy Center’s museum galleries, more than 50 interactive exhibits and immersive experiences employ cutting-edge technology to present the story of comedy from its origins to the present day – using archival documents, artifacts, and media as their core. 

The museum’s educational programming on the art form has featured George Lopez, Margaret Cho, Norman Lear, Tiffany Haddish, Debra Messing, Rain Pryor (daughter of Richard Pryor), Jay Leno, Kenan Thompson, Gabriel Iglesias, Ben Stiller, John Cleese, Jimmy Fallon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and many more. 

Plan your visit to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY at ComedyCenter.org. Tickets for the special event on July 27 can be purchased now by calling 716-357-6250 or online at tickets.chq.org starting May 3rd.

The National Comedy Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural institution whose mission is funded by philanthropic support. Donations and grants support the museum and its work to present the vital story of comedy and preserve its heritage for future generations. Visit Comedycenter.org for details.

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NYS Names New State Park for Abolitionist, Suffragist Hudson Valley Native Sojourner Truth

New York State is naming a new state park for 19th century African American abolitionist, suffragist and Hudson Valley native Sojourner Truth (photo: from Womens Hall of Fame, https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/sojourner-truth/)

In recognition of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new State Park planned for more than 500 acres of former industrial property along the Hudson River shoreline in Ulster County will be named for 19th century African American abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth. This will be the first State Park in the City of Kingston and the first new State Park to open since July 2019. 

“It is fitting such a magnificent property with its cliffs and Hudson shoreline bears the name of a remarkable woman who started life right here in Ulster County,” Governor Hochul said. “New York is committed to reflecting the diverse stories of its people, such as Sojourner Truth and her message of freedom and equality, that have influenced our state’s inspiring history.” 

Born enslaved in 1797 in Esopus, Ulster County, Isabella “Bomefree” Baumfree freed herself from slavery in 1826 a year before legal enslavement ended in New York. In 1828, she won a lawsuit to regain custody of her son, who had been sold into slavery in the Deep South, marking one of the first legal cases where an African American woman prevailed in court against a white person. 

Following her deeply held religious views she traveled as an itinerant preacher, speaking ‘truth’ to the harsh inequities endured by people of color and women while calling for systemic change. Renaming herself Sojourner Truth, she became one of the nation’s leading voices for abolition and universal suffrage in the mid-19th century. During the Civil War, she recruited men for the Union Army, and worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau, an agency that assisted the newly freed enslaved. After the war, she continued advocating for universal voting rights. Sojourner Truth died in 1883, after African American men had received the vote but with the national adoption of women’s suffrage still four decades away. 

In August 2020, State Parks installed a statue of her at the western entrance to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park in Highland, Ulster County and dedicated it to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in a ceremony attended by one of her descendants. 

State Parks partnered with the not-for-profit environmental group Scenic Hudson to protect land for this new park that earlier had been slated for a large-scale private development. Funding for the $13.5 million purchase by State Parks was provided through the state Environmental Protection Fund. About three-quarters of the property is in Kingston, with the balance in Ulster. 

Once the site of cement production, brick making, quarrying, and ice harvesting, the property already includes the Hudson River Brickyard Trail. Part of the Empire State Trail and the Kingston Greenline, this paved trail opened in December 2020 as a project of the city of Kingston, which manages the trail, and Scenic Hudson. It offers spectacular views of the Hudson River and the 150-foot cliffs of limestone and sandstone that drew cement production to the site beginning in the 1840s. 

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said,State Parks is proud to name our newest Park in honor of Sojourner Truth, an early prominent voice in New York and later the nation for abolition and women’s rights. In addition to bringing her story to visitors, this park also will allow for interpretation of the site’s industrial and indigenous history and will help protect the ecology of the Hudson River. The new park will support the ongoing economic revitalization of Kingston and the regional recreational tourism economy. It will benefit the quality of life for residents throughout the year, as well as provide a major new Hudson Valley attraction for users of the Empire State Trail.” 

Palisades Interstate Parks Commission Executive Director Joshua Laird said, “We are thrilled that our newest state park will honor Sojourner Truth and her powerful legacy as an abolitionist and voice for women’s rights. We look forward to telling her story and to interpreting the reclamation of this former industrial site into a beautiful and dramatic landscape overlooking the Hudson River. The Commission wishes to express its gratitude to Governor Hochul, State Parks Commissioner Kulleseid and to Scenic Hudson for their efforts to protect this land.” 

Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “Scenic Hudson is delighted that Governor Hochul has chosen to celebrate the life and legacy of Sojourner Truth by naming this park after her. Through her courage and forceful voice for justice and equality for all, she set an example that still resonates strongly in this vitally important ongoing cause. We’re grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid for leading the state’s acquisition of this magnificent property, rich in history and possibility for public enjoyment. Adding this to the New York Park system is truly a visionary step, and we salute their partnership in this conservation action. Scenic Hudson looks forward to continuing our cooperation with State Parks, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, and the Kingston and Ulster community as we turn this former industrial site into an exciting place for all people to connect with the outdoors, the region’s Indigenous and labor heritage, and each other. With its unique combination of natural beauty and history, I have no doubt Sojourner Truth State Park will quickly become one of the region’s premier recreational destinations. We also wish to acknowledge Scenic Hudson’s generous supporters who made possible our acquisition of the property, those who worked with us to save the property from development years ago, and Scenic Hudson Board members and staff for their important roles at every stage of the process.”  

State Parks will install limited parking and hiking trails to provide public access for passive recreation this spring. Until then, except for the Hudson River Brickyard Trail, the property is not open to the public. Scenic Hudson has already conducted a comprehensive study of the property’s ecological, geological, and cultural resources. 

Under an agreement, State Parks, Scenic Hudson, and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission will collaborate and solicit public input on how Sojourner Truth State Park will be developed. Scenic Hudson, which will operate the park under a five-year agreement, has already held public meetings on the topic and more meetings will be announced by the partners in the future.

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill said, “Governor Hochul continues to demonstrate her knowledge, concern and energy on behalf of our area. Today is the latest example. Naming this park for one of the most important people from our community, Sojourner Truth, is fitting and appropriate. It was just several hundred yards up the shoreline, to Sleightsburg and the Rondout Creek where Truth, then known as Isabel Bumford, a young girl, trekked over several miles, every single day, crossing the Creek on a skillypot raft, with provisions for the tavern owned and run by her enslavers. The statue that stands in the center of Port Ewen portrays this young, exploited, but strong and determined teen age girl serves as a stark reminder that our community was not exempt from the horrors of slavery.  Indeed, some of our fore bearers did not even distinguish between adults and children in their exploitation of other human beings. But the naming of this park recognizes all of the greatness of Sojourner Truth and the impact she has had on freedom, demonstrating strength in the face of adversity and inspiring a nation. Let every visitor pause for a moment to take in the beauty of our community and remember this as the home of this important national leader.”

Hudson River Valley Greenway Executive Director Scott Keller said,”Sojourner Truth State Park is an iconic Hudson River property that provides unique recreational, open space, and ecological benefits to New York residents and visitors. Future park improvements will enhance public access created by the Hudson River Brickyard Trail completed last year, which is a critical link in the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Empire State Trail in Kingston and Ulster County.” 

Last summer on the property, abandoned cement silos and two former structures of the cement industry were removed to improve site safety, as well as expand areas for future programming and events. Remaining structures, including the chimney and mule barn dating to the site’s brick-making period, as well as many low-rise structures from the cement industry that are visible from the Hudson River Brickyard Trail, have the potential to be interpreted and integrated into the landscape. Former quarry pits on the property have filled with water, and while not suitable for swimming, support fish populations. 

The site is a part of the traditional homeland of the Esopus tribe of the Lenape, who inhabited the area of Kingston until the 1600s when they were displaced by European colonists. In addition to telling the story of the Esopus, the site will allow for the interpretation of industrial history, geology, the resilience of our natural environment, and the significant role of the Hudson Valley in the development of New York State and the nation. 

Prior to Scenic Hudson’s purchase, the former cement mine and processing facility grounds were destined for development into a 1,682-unit mixed-use site, a project that had drawn significant public concern. 

The Scenic Hudson purchase was made with support of private donors including philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the Walbridge Fund, The PCLB Foundation, the Kathryn W. Davis Fund for Hudson River Parkland Acquisition, Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Will Nixon, Illiana K. van Meeteren, Sue Sie, Steven Holl and Robert Lonergan. 

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78 million people in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. 

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