Professor Richard Beinecke leads kayak trips on the Mystic River


Sawyer Business School Professor Richard Beinecke has been a water person his entire life, a passion that has led him to become a guide and historian with the Mystic River Watershed Association.

“Some say I was a fish in a past life,” said Beinecke, who is writing a book that will serve as a user’s guide to the Mystic River, with information on recreation, the river’s history, and the environmental challenges the Mystic faces today.

Beinecke, chair of Public Administration and an associate professor of Public and Health Administration, began paddling, fishing, and bird watching along the Mystic River and Spy Pond after moving to Arlington a year ago.

“I became curious about what I was seeing along the river – the old pilings, the dams, the marshes – and discovered surprises such as Grandfather’s House (celebrated in the poem "Over the River and Through the Woods") and plaques on the Middlesex Canal and the ice and farming industries,” he said. “While excellent guide books were available to the rivers I had previously paddled, I found none on the Mystic.”

Beinecke soon realized that the Mystic River was one of Boston’s best undiscovered resources, which is why he became involved in the Mystic River Watershed Association, leading organizations working to clean up the river.

Beinecke quickly found himself helping out with the organization.

“It also became a great way as a volunteer to meet people in my new home and to bring together my interest in history with my multiple outdoor activities.”

This past summer, Beinecke began leading kayak trips for the association, regaling other paddlers about the history, birds, and environment of the Mystic River. He also educates people about the towns surrounding the river.

Beinecke led his fourth informative kayak trip on the Mystic River in Medford in October 2012.

Beinecke views the trips and his book as a way to educate people about the river, as well as the recreational resources it provides. He hopes that if people get on the river and learn about it, they will help to clean it up.

“I want people to think about the river as a whole and for the communities along it to work more effectively together, not just in their own communities,” he said. “I hope that the book, the trips, and the many contacts that I am making will facilitate this.”