BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Hundreds of people signed up to go paddling on the Inner Harbor Saturday, but this wasn’t just fun and games.

The paddlers launched from the Canton Waterfront Park and they were a visible reminder of the work that still needs to be done to clean up the Harbor.

Participants launched their canoes, kayaks and paddles for the Floatilla for a Healthy Harbor and Bay event.

“Our battle is all about making the harbor safe for swimming and fishing once again. In my experience, unloved and unused waterways are the last waterways to get cleaned up, so it’s so important that we have people coming out here and joining together to show their support,” said Adam Lindquist of the Healthy Harbor Initiative and Waterfront Partnership.

In a 2016 report card, the Harbor received an F.

The main source of the problem is sewage spills after heavy downpours. Then there’s the issue of garbage, but advocates with the Healthy Harbor Initiative say the first trash wheel has already captured 1 million pounds of trash and the Harbor’s health is slowly improving.

This is the second year for the event and paddlers had about a five mile course from Canton to the Inner Harbor then back to the starting point.

For those who were determined to send a message to lawmakers about why it’s important to invest in infrastructure repairs to clean-up the harbor, they used actions and words to express their opinions.

“It’s not just about fishable, swimmable. It’s about the economy, the economic engines that are winning and losing in Baltimore. It’s really about how it affects everyone’s health whether or not they ever visit the Inner Harbor,” said Hal Ashman of Ultimate Watersports.

Participants were on the water for more than two hours.

Organizers also wanted to send a message to the Trump Administration, which calls for a cut in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Project in the proposed 2018 budget.

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook

Ava-joye Burnett


Leave a Reply