The effort to turn Jamaica Bay into an action-packed tourist destination has ramped up in recent months as the spring and summer season kicked off. The New York Daily News reports new details on a host of new activities and concessions the Parks Department has in the works, as well as tempered warnings from environmentalists hoping that the fragile ecosystem of the Bay isn’t disturbed by increased human involvement.
Previously, we reported on plans by the Parks Department to bring trendy food trucks and bike rentals to the area in an effort to draw more tourists. Some of the food trucks expected to be set up in Riis Park include Rickshaw Dumpling, Eddie’s Pizza Truck and Pura Vida. As for covering bike rentals, the city has tapped California-based Wheel Fun Rentals to not only rent out bicycles, but a whole assortment of carts, paddle boards, canoes and pedal cars. Wheel Fun Rentals started operations on Memorial Day weekend.
People looking to rent kayaks will be able to do so this weekend at Riis Landing, but this perk already has some environmentalists worried that tourists might upset the delicate ecosystem of the Bay.
“Are they going to educate people who take kayaks out?” Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society’s Northeast Chapter told the Daily News. “Some of the islands are off-limits for the nesting season. There are some issues.”
While Riepe is excited that more people will be drawn to the Bay, he expressed a desire to have more park rangers surveying tourist activities so that the wildlife and fauna of the Bay doesn’t fall into danger from inexperienced visitors.
Sheena Walnetta, the marketing director for Wheel Fun Rentals promised that all renters will have to follow the rules.
“All of our rentals come with strict instructions and training. People will have to comply with all rules and regulations,” Walnetta said.
Thank goodness tourists and city residents never break any rules.