BROCKPORT, N.Y. — The village of Brockport wants to help more people get out and enjoy paddling the Erie Canal. There's a new adaptive kayak launch and accessible dock at the Welcome Center in the village on Water Street.
The new adaptive kayak launch is designed to make it easy and safe for everyone, especially adaptive paddlers, to get in and out of a kayak. It has a ramp, graduated steps, guard rails and overhead straps to help you get in and out of the kayak. The kayak rests in a channel, and when you’re ready, just start paddling and enjoy the canal.
Anita O’Brien is an avid kayaker. She also heads up at the nonprofit Rochester Accessible Adventures to ensure individuals with disabilities can access recreation opportunities. O’Brien and the village of Brockport worked together to secure funding, including a grant from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, to purchase and install the new inclusive launch.
“What’s fantastic about this is that it has a variety of ways for a variety of people,” said O’ Brien. “So I may not need any of this, but I may find out it is exactly what I need. It goes with the idea of being universally acceptable. The more universal in the design, the more you would expect people to come to places like this. It really helps to make things easier for everybody."
Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman loves to kayak. She’s thrilled the village is able to provide a launch for everyone to use.
“It’s gotten a tremendous amount of use already, said Blackman. “That is the best, seeing people utilizing it. And I came across a women who was kayaking that said she was trying to get out there, and that she has a husband who is disabled and is in a wheelchair, and she wants him to be able to use this.“
The launch is free and open to the public. Rochester Accessible Adventures is planning some demonstrations and classes to help more people of all abilities try kayaking. A ribbon cutting is planned at the new launch July 15 at 5:30 p.m.