I’m feeling kinda strange here in mid-Michigan. There’s a metal seasonal ADA kayak launch mechanism that every community is going koo-koo for. It’s a nifty device, and I see a role for them. But these are places that have never lifted a finger to promote or assist paddling otherwise. It makes me rub my eyes. It’s like the only way to get $ or interest for paddling is if it’s for the handicapped demographic. It seems like a 100% to 0% ratio around here. I feel like I’m on another planet – a common feeling around here.
Otherwise sedentary administrators become paddling fans as soon as they can install this hospital-like apparatus down on our natural riverbanks. Maybe doing anything to acknowledge the greatness of regular paddling for everybody would make them feel guilty as sedentary people? Recreation money can only go to the disabled? Is it like this where you live?
Yes, serve the disabled. But what about the public? Right now the vast portion of our paddling community is “served” by “muddy banks” on every waterway – zero attention, care, time, PR, installation or maintenance. …And, no surprise, nearly nil usage! We have 2 good put-in’s in a hundred miles of river.
Instead of doing something as minimal as making sure the rivers are navigable our municipalities are RUSHING to install these metal ADA docks, which have to be removed seasonally. Offhand, I’d think 3 basic gravel and timber put-in’s could be installed for the cost of every ADA dock.
Yet there hasn’t been a new put-in installed (or maintained) in our region in decades. It’s like paddling didn’t exist until the ADA dock came along – now they’re front and center!
We still don’t hear about plans to maintain navigability. Our second-biggest river, and one right among most of the population, is totally ignored because of dozens of annual treefalls. Instead of treating the river like a park trail and keeping it clear it’s abandoned! Why, how could we put an ADA dock there? Head slap!
The paddle community is hardly asked about these docks, that I know of. (A plastic kayak livery was asked, that’s it. Not local paddlers, that I’ve heard.) They’re even planning to put them on narrow, floody waterways where they won’t last a season.
How are they for canoes? for nicer boats? for kevlar hulls?
Then there’s natural beauty and environmental friendliness. Does a shiny silver metal and plastic dock fit in with all quiet park riverbank settings?
Yeah, politics is goofy – but is it the same everywhere? Are all communities installing these now, more than any other type of facility?
I like innovation. They’re a nifty gadget. Maybe I’d find them easy to use. But are they first and best use of money to promote paddling? Offhand, I can see installing one of these for every 10 regular put-in’s, and in places suitable for looped-travel – so you don’t need a second one downstream. Here’n’there at public beaches perhaps, where equipment is already being removed seasonally.
…But maybe I’m missing something. Maybe they’re great for all kinds of paddling and it’s better having a few of these than a bunch of regular put-in’s. ???