David Park is nothing if not involved in many things civic. He is the outgoing chairman of the Norwalk Historical Commission, is a member of the East Norwalk Improvement Association and serves on the board of the Norwalk River Watershed Association, where he’s helping to evaluate proposals for the Norwalk River Valley Trail. But Park is happiest when he’s in his 17-foot kayak, paddling around the two-dozen islands that dot Long Island Sound off the shore of Norwalk. And he wants others to enjoy these underappreciated recreational jewels as well.
He has written a self-published booklet, “Kayaking In and Around the Norwalk Islands,” that has become a local hit, with 500 copies sold in just more than a year. “I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to write a book,” he said. “It just kind of evolved.” The project began with an effort to catalog the active osprey nests in the area and blossomed from there. The booklet, with color photos, includes information on the Norwalk Islands, coastal and offshore paddling, paddling three local rivers, kayak launching and navigation, along with information on paddling safety, island wildlife and local history.
Park began canoeing as a teen in Weston and took up kayaking 15 years ago – “It just seemed natural, living closer to the Sound than lakes,” he says. He has become a recognized expert on the subject and has given many presentations to beginning and advanced paddlers at area outdoor and aquatic shops and through the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
His next appearance is set for Feb. 27 from noon to 2 p.m. at The Dock Shop Nautical Boutique, 214 East Ave., East Norwalk, and will feature refreshments, door prizes and special sales on kayaking gear.