Robert Kennedy’s Hudson River kayak at local museum

Senator competed in 1967 White Water Derby

This kayak was used by Robert F. Kennedy in May 1967 on the Hudson River near North Creek.

This kayak was used by Robert F. Kennedy in May 1967 on the Hudson River near North Creek. Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Museum

The best time of the May 7, 1967 Derby race was 1:03:15, by kayaker Emil Mascheck, of Toronto. Robert Kennedy finished in 1:11:29, taking third place in his class. Hauthaway finished in 1:04:24, the fourth best time of the day, in his one-man kayak.

Hauthaway died at his home on Oct. 22, 2002 at the age of 77, according to his obituary.

Robert Kennedy died from an assassin’s bullet on June 6, 1968 in Los Angeles. A U.S. senator representing New York from 1965 to 1968, he helped pass the Senate’s version of the Wild and Scenic Rivers bill in August 1967. He was on the Senate Interior Committee at the time. The vote was 84-0. The senator never saw President Lyndon B. Johnson sign the bill on Oct. 2, 1968; the U.S. House of Representatives didn’t pass its version until Sept. 12, 1968.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 instituted a National Wild and Scenic Rivers System to help protect the environment. These rivers can be found in 39 states and in Puerto Rico, and they are divided into three categories: wild, scenic and recreational.

There is only one New York state river in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and it is not the Hudson River. In 1978, 73.4 miles of the Delaware River along the New York-Pennsylvania border were added to the System and are now protected as the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, according to the National Park Service.

Many portions of the Upper Hudson River are now protected by New York state as part of the Forest Preserve, including the 17,200- acre Hudson Gorge Primitive Area.

This story was previously published in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 3,” by Andy Flynn.

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