New Docks Designed For New Yorkers With Physical Challenges Launches Installed at Green Lakes, Buffalo Harbor, Seneca Lake and Wellesley Island State Parks Project Complements Governor's $900 Million NY Parks 2020 Initiative
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a newly designed dock that will make it easier for people with disabilities or physical challenges to launch kayaks and canoes at New York State Parks. An accessible kayak launch was recently installed at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville and others will be installed at Buffalo Harbor State Park later this fall, as well as at Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva and Wellesley Island State Park near Alexandria Bay next year. State Parks will work to expand their availability at popular paddling destinations in the coming years.
"New York is home to exquisite natural beauty that everyone deserves an opportunity to enjoy," Governor Cuomo said. "These improvements reflect New York’s legacy of inclusiveness by making outdoor recreation in these spectacular places more accessible and enjoyable for all New Yorkers and visitors alike."
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, "State Parks is committed to working to ensure our facilities are accessible to visitors of all abilities. Kayaking is becoming more popular, including among seniors, people with disabilities, wounded veterans and people just looking to get into shape. This innovative dock design will help provide people with physical challenges with more independence and better access to some of our state’s beautiful lakes and rivers."
Due to their instability, kayaks and canoes can be difficult to get in and out of, especially for those with physical impairments. The new dock provides two slips with an overhead grab bar to enhance stability for people while entering and exiting the vessel. One of the two slips also has a hinged ramp in the water to better hold the vessel in place before launching, as well as a low-scale stair that will allow wheelchair users to lower themselves into the boat.
The project reflects Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s effort to expand access to outdoor recreation through the NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks and state historic sites from 2011 to 2020. The 2016-17 State Budget allocates $90 million toward this initiative. More information about NY Parks 2020 is available here.
About The State Parks Marine Service Unit
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. The State Parks Marine Service Unit is responsible for the general coordination of boating safety programs and supports marine law enforcement efforts across the state, including patrols, training and funding for local marine enforcement activities.
All boaters can help improve boating safety by taking a safe boating course; refraining from drinking alcohol while boating; and wearing a life jacket. A life jacket is required to be worn on vessels less than 21 feet in length between November 1 and May 1. State Parks encourages paddle boat operators to affix reflective decals or tape to their vessels to improve visibility in low light conditions as well as a vessel identification sticker to help emergency response agencies to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and determine the best course of action if the vessel is found adrift.
More information about boating safety – including listings of boating safety courses – and marine recreation in New York State is available here.