Sunday, August 5, 2012

Paddling Chernobyl? Canoe & Kayak Magazine at its worst - again!

 Hello everyone! Regular Durhamblogger readers may know that I've taken Canoe & Kayak Magazine to task... on several occasions... for running photos / ads that depict unsafe paddling practices:Shame on Canoe & Kayak Magazine - No PFDs! and Shame on Visit - No PFDs. The most recent dust up was in May when editors sheepishly admitted to a "miscommunication" when an adult products and DVD ad was published in their paddling magazine Canoe & Kayak Magazine and Porn? All three times, I fired off letters to their editor, voicing my displeasure, and received no response from them. Surprised?

So... I've written off  Canoe & Kayak Magazine as one paddling rag that I don't need to subsidize with my subscription money... and have been simply allowing my current subscription to expire... when I came across the following "gem."

On page 26, of the August 2012 issue of Canoe & Kayak Magazine, the following article titled "Paddling Chernobyl? A case for exploring polluted waters" was published. Andrew Blackwell, the author, decided it would be "kool" to paddle down the Pripyat River into the middle of the 1,000-square-mile "exclusion zone" around the area devastated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine. Here, he spent a day drifting through the radiation-exposed Ukrainian forest... in the process exclaiming how "beautiful" Chernobyl was in the spring.... while being exposed to a chest X-ray worth of radiation for his trouble.

The author than lists his five polluted waterways worth paddling... one area is Gowanus Canal, NY.

"Depending on the wind direction, this channel bisecting Brooklyn might smell bad, but Blackwell calls it the most beautiful little waterway on which to canoe in New York City."

BTW, the Gowanus Canal had been declared an EPA Superfund clean up area in 2010 and contamination had been found along the entire 1.8 mile canal including pesticides, metals, and cancer-producing chemicals known as PCBs. Many of its banks were used as dumping grounds and EPA estimates it will take 10 - 12 years to clean it up.

Gowanus Canal, NY.

 I'm not sure who I am more annoyed with... the stupidity of a individual who willingly risks radiation exposure and breaks the law, to paddle in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster area... and who describes the severely polluted Gowanus Canal as "... the most beautiful little waterway on which to canoe in New York City" or Canoe & Kayak Magazine for publishing this guy's brainless exploits?

How do you defend an editing decision to publish such reckless and irresponsible articles? Clearly, both Blackwell and Canoe & Kayak editors are paddling without a full set?

I guess, in the future, paddlers need to wear their hazmat suits and bring Geiger counters on their next paddling adventure?

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  1. Really? This guy was paddling illegally? Shame on Canoe and Kayak if that is the case. I let my subscription run out a couple of years ago.

    1. The Canoe and Kayak Magazine article mentioned that there were numerous government warning signs and blocked roads leading into the Chernobyl nuclear disaster area. However, Blackwell "reasoned" that since there were no barricades or netting over the Pripyat River, he was free to paddle into the heart of the radioactive fallout area. I guess government officials did not bother with river barricades since who would think that anyone would be stupid enough to paddle a river that led to the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history?

  2. That's just weird. And distasteful. Do canoe and kayak enthusiasts really want to read that stuff? I sure don't. I am not a subscriber, but that article, along with the fact that they did not even respond to any of your letters, would make me think twice before handing them any of my hard-earned dollars.

    1. Hey Ang. I recommend you save your money and do NOT subscribe to Canoe and Kayak Magazine. Maybe the paddling rag is "hard up" up for subscribers and are willing to publish any brainless exploit, for the 15 minutes of fame sensationalism? I think I will start donating my Canoe and Kayak Magazine back issues to my local animal shelter. At least, some waste will get cleaned up within it's pages?


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