Professional sea kayaker Chevaughn Dixon approaches the George Washington Bridge in New York City as he completes the Hudson Valley Challenge, a three-hundred mile journey along the Hudson River estuary between Albany, New York, and the Statue of Liberty. The trip was designed to inspire urban youth to become leaders in their communities.

Dixon directs the Hudson River Riders, a program that provides youth and people of color with outdoor access in Yonkers, New York. Besides drawing attention to the rich ecology and biodiversity of the Hudson Valley—which he helped preserve by cleaning up litter along the way—Dixon’s feat aimed to raise awareness of the river’s indigenous Lenape heritage and fraught colonial history.

“Ultimately, outdoor recreation is about building community,” Dixon said. “And I’m glad to know my expedition did just that.”

Regina Nicolardi is a freelance photographer based in Bend, Oregon. Her work has been published by National Geographic, Outside, Canoe & Kayak, and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Published in the July/August 2022 issue: View Contents
© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.