Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Educational River Programs Patti McAlpine
The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council providing access for people of all ages on the Blackstone River
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council River Access for All since 1989 • 1989 Guided historic interpretative canoe tours, Albion/Ashley/Berkley Mill Villages • 1991 Glass bottom boat Demonstration program provides first tours on the river • 1993 Blackstone Valley Explorer launched • 1995 Spirit launched providing access for smaller groups, handicapped
1999 Chinese Dragonboats provide access to the river teams Central Falls in Pawtucket • 2000 Samuel Slater Canal Boat provides overnight access on the Blackstone River. Sleeps four and offer tea tours of groups of 10-12 for a unique and serene way to enjoy the river • 2004 Six Taiwanese Dragonboats provide opportunity for local groups, businesses, teachers to participate in practice & races on the river.
The Blackstone Valley Explorer • Launched in 1993 • First Riverboat on the Blackstone in 175 years • Carried over 350,000 passengers • Handicapped accessibility • 49-passenger riverboat • Built in Rhode Island by Blount Marine
Reconnaissance of the River on Tourism One An early exploration of the Blackstone in Woonsocket with Representative Kennedy
The Canal Boat Samuel Slater • Launched in 2000 for the Millennium • Built in Cambridgeshire England by C.T. Fox expressly for BVTC Millennium • Only Bed and Breakfast on the River • Celebrates the sister relationship between the Amber Valley England and Blackstone Valley
The Blackstone Valley Explorer, The Spirit of the Blackstone Valley and The Canal Boat Samuel Slater at the Central Falls Landing.
River Places The Explorer Has Been • Blackstone Canal, Massachusetts at RiverBend Farm • Blackstone River, Massachusetts at Blackstone Gorge • Providence River • Woonasquatucket River • Narrow River, South County • Woonsocket • Central Falls • Cumberland • Pawtucket • North Smithfield
The Blackstone Valley Explorer • Educational Programs: • Eco-Discovery- an environmental and heritage tour • River Science Investigation • Heritage Exploration • Wild About Wetlands
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS RIVERCLASSROOM • Over 150,000 students have participated in the program that uses the following standards: • Flexibility • Adaptability • Hands-On • Awareness • Observation • Inquiry-Based • River Advocacy
Community Support for our River Education Programs • Narragansett Bay Commission • City of Pawtucket • City of Central Falls • Cadillac Mills • Knights of Columbus • EPA • Navigant Credit Union • Bristol County Savings Bank • Audubon Society of Rhode Island • Save the Bay • Cumberland OCYL • Girl Scouts of Rhode Island • Museum of Work & Culture • Helping Hands • Bank of America • Pawtucket Credit Union • Hospital Trust
Tours on the Explorer provide an opportunity for all ages and all mobilities Public Tours provide Visitors and residents an opportunity to explore and learn about the Blackstone River Citizens Bank Foundation fund Free Sundays on the River for past 3 years Rivers Day Celebration Free Tours sponsored by JHC Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
Strengths, Weaknesses & Opportunities • Strengths • Access for All • Federal Funding to use the Explorer for extended research • Carried over 350,000 passengers since 1989 • Is a known resource by media, groups, schools for river access Weaknesses • Landings are not sufficient • Difficulty in spending the Landing funds easily • Funding not sufficient for easy growth Opportunities • More capability for use of the boat • Availability for partnerships • Safer access for passengers Threats • Flooding • Severe weather events • Vandalism