River advocate swims the Mohawk to raise awareness

Wearing a wetsuit and towing a yellow raft, environmental educator Christopher Swain swam across the Hudson River on a gray and drizzly Wednesday to complete his trek of the 149-mile Mohawk River, the Hudson’s largest tributary.

The 46-year-old Boston resident made the trip to raise awareness of the river’s history, habitats and environmental challenges, sharing the experience through social media.

Swain started Oct. 20 in the shallow headwaters of the Mohawk in central New York, between the Tug Hill Plateau and western Adirondacks. He did the trip in segments, with the longest taking close to nine hours. He finished the last few hundred yards Wednesday morning with a media event in Troy where the Mohawk flows into the Hudson.

He said he’s seen firsthand how settlement, growth, sprawl and industry have transformed the river, which has long been an important transportation route westward from the Hudson.

“Everything we’ve done to rivers we’ve done to the Mohawk,” he said. “But it’s still an incredible river in many parts, with incredible natural beauty and some great habitats.”

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