There's been a lot of talk about how post-industrial Pittsburgh is "reconnecting with our rivers." Pittsburgh, it's often noted, has one of the highest rates of boat ownership in the country. But look at the aquatic parade swirling around the Point some weekend afternoon, and ask yourself: Are we really more connected to the water than we used to be? Or have our rivers just gone from industrial sewer to drag-strip?
Early keelboaters provided Pittsburgh industry with its first transportation links, but they were arguably more connected to the water than many of today's waterborne nature enthusiasts. They had to pole their boats upstream, and must have felt every current right down to their bones.
High-powered motorboats have their place, of course: Just try waterskiing behind a canoe. But our 2006 Health and Fitness Guide takes a different approach: We figure truly reconnecting with the waters means doing it like the fish do ... with a bit of effort. Kayakers, canoers, rowboaters ... they learn the honest lesson that what goes downstream must come up. And while sailboating may not test your sinews, if you want to get anywhere, you'll have to be in touch with nature closely enough to trap the wind.
We take a look at all these forms of water transport. And since each brings you closer to the water than does the average yacht, we also take time to examine the water's health ... and even to renew our appreciation for the carp ... that shadowy, majestic creature that has long dwelt along our shores.
Yes, it's recreation you'll have to work at. But it's healthier for you, and even for the environment all us pleasure-boaters are trying to discover.Roll ReversalOne for the RowedSee Serpents Still WatersLake EffectCarp-e DiemSomething in the Water