Healthy Lakes Tour

dweller - June 19, 2008

A 13-City Boat Tour  Highlights Need to Restore Great Lakes

Coalition Calls for Presidential Candidates to Stand up for Great Lakes Restoration

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has launched a 13-city boat tour, to highlight the need to restore the Great Lakes and to urge the U.S. Congress and presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to act to restore the lakes.

“The boat tour underscores the importance of the Great Lakes to millions of people and the urgent need to restore them,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, the boat tour’s sponsor. “To those seeking the presidency, we ask: ‘Will you use your leadership as president to fund the restoration of the largest freshwater resource in North America?'”

Both White House aspirants, Senator McCain and Senator Obama, have signed a U.S. Congressional pledge to restore the Great Lakes.

The coalition will be circulating a petition at each event – and available on its Web site – urging both candidates to follow through on this pledge by committing $20 billion over five years to restore the Great Lakes as outlined in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy—a comprehensive clean-up plan endorsed by citizens, industry, mayors, governors and the region’s congressional delegation.

“Our message to each candidate seeking the White House is clear: Put your money where your mouth is,” said Skelding. “We have solutions. It is time to use them now, because every day we wait, the problems get worse and the solutions more costly.”

The Earth Voyager—one of the fastest sailboats on the Great Lakes, shown here transiting the Welland Canal—will stop in cities along the lakes. The 60-feet-long and nearly 100-foot-tall boat will dock in ports, anchoring a series of community events.

Coalition members will be joined at each city by local elected offialls, business leaders, conservation groups and citizens to urge federal leaders to stop sewage contamination, halt invasive species and confront other serious threats.

The tour will also feature restoration success stories and highlight the economic benefit of restoring the lakes. The Brookings Institutition found that Great Lakes restoration would generate between $80 billion and $100 billion in short- and long-term economic gains to the region.
The tour concludes in Rochester, N.Y., on September 6. A schedule follows:

June 4 - 7 Buffalo, N.Y. 
June 11 - 14 Erie, Pa. 
June 18 - 21 Toledo, Ohio 
June 23 - 28 Detroit, Mich.
June 30 - July 11 Port Huron, Mich.
July 1 Sarnia, Ontario
July 12 - 14 Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac Race
July 17 - 18 Chicago, Ill.
July 19 - 21 100th Chicago to Mackinac Race
July 24 - 27 Traverse City, Mich. 
August 6 - 9 Grand Haven, Mich.
August 13 - 16 Milwaukee, Wisc.
August 20 - 23 Bay City, Mich.
August 27 - 30 Cleveland, Ohio
September 3 - 6 Rochester, N.Y.

For more information, visit: