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Riverkeeper, Sea Tow and Metro-North team up on Operation Tire


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This enormous tractor tire was mired for years in a shallow cove of the Hudson south of the Bear Mountain Bridge – anchored upright in the mud, highly visible at low tide.

On Friday, Riverkeeper, Metro-North Railroad and Sea Tow Central Hudson teamed up on a successful operation to haul it out and ship it off for recycling.

SeaTow tire

Commuters on Metro-North’s Hudson Line knew this tire, a blight on the Hudson Highlands landscape. To Dan Shapley, manager of Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program, it was The Infuriating Tire.

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“It was just sending a wrong message that nobody cares, that the river could be trashed,” he said. “By removing it, it sends the exact opposite message.”

Riverkeeper volunteers regularly haul out tires during organized cleanups – 119 tires in just one day during the last Riverkeeper Sweep – but this one sat beyond reach. Special equipment was necessary to extricate the tire, more than 6 feet in diameter, weighing, as it turned out, about 1,800 pounds. Shapley reached out to Sea Tow and Metro-North, and found willing partners ready to take on the project.

SeaTow removing tire

To remove the tire, Sea Tow ran its boat aground at low tide and secured two inflatable bags, each capable of keeping 1,000 pounds afloat, said Captain Walter Garschagen, owner of Sea Tow Central Hudson. The bags inflated, giving just enough buoyancy as the boat dragged the tire into deeper water and south to the Peekskill boat ramp.

Tire removal Peekskill

“We like to be involved in any project that improves the quality of the river for commuters and boaters,” Garschagen said. “We have both unique knowledge of the river, and rescue boats with salvage equipment that put us in a position to help.”

Joseph Giulietti, Metro-North Railroad president, said: “The spectacular views of the Hudson River are the reason occasional riders as well as seasoned commuters want a window seat when riding the Hudson Line. Metro-North is pleased to be able to partner with the Riverkeeper and Sea Tow in this effort to make sure those views remain unspoiled.”

Tire removal

“Removing garbage from the river and its shoreline – especially a focal point like this tire – sends an important message that there are many people and organizations looking out for the river, and that it is not acceptable to treat it like a dump,” Shapley said.

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You have a chance to pitch in this spring, at the 5th annual Sweep. Save the date: Saturday, May 7, 2016.

See news coverage in The Journal News and News 12 Westchester.
See more photos on Flickr.

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