By LEIGH C. MERIFIELD
News & Journal Editor

One participant allowed his dog, shown here wearing its own life jacket, to enjoy the float as well!
The view was spectacular and colorful as kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and rowboats floated along the tree-laden West Fork River during the recent ‘Float the Fork’ event.

Sponsored by the Guardians of the West Fork along with support from other corporate and government agencies, this event was part of National Trail Days.

Good Hope, located along Rt. 19 and along the West Fork River, was the entry point where a new stream access area was recently developed by the Department of Natural Resources.  It was approximately a six-mile float on the river with nearby West Milford as the exit point … where a park is being developed.  All of this is part of a plan to establish more access points along the river.  And for this initial event, the idea appears to have gathered tremendous interest.

Those who participated seemed to show little regard for the light drizzling rain that prevailed!  Participants were all ages – young and old – men, women, kids and even a few animals!  A DJ was on hand playing music; several food vendors were present; and the West Milford Lions Club got involved, hosting a chicken roast that was a complete sellout!  Vendors renting kayaks and paddle boards were also on site for those who didn’t bring their own vessels.

Nick Millett, who works with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, was very active in organizing the logistics of the event.  He was pleased to confirm that there was a much larger turnout than they had expected.

“Honestly, we were thinking that we’d maybe have 30 to 40 people participating, and for an initial event like this, we’d have been happy with that,” Millett stated.  “We ended up with over 150 people taking part; that’s nearly four times what we anticipated.  What a great ‘problem’ to have!”

The state says the West Fork…

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