Build a human powered boat launch site

We are attempting to build a Water Trail on a tight budget. We have a muddy river bank, on county owned property, in a flood plain. Our launch site is on either side of the bridge abutments. What type of material can we throw down to cover the mud at our launch site?


Small logs?

fat senators?

Small rocks?

rubber tires??? Now here might be a good use for those eye sores!! tied together somehow

Last weekend, my paddling companion stepped out of her kayak into 1 foot of MUD.

Any ideas, suggestions out there?

What type of river bank material do you like to take-out on?

muddy banks
I feel your pain. The mud along the shores of the Red River of the North (between ND and MN)is as bad as any river in North America. Our motorized boat launches become useless after any heavy rainstorm until they are cleared of the deposited mud, and many have been for all practical purposes abandoned because crews cannot keep up with the maintenance.

If that sounds like your river (the Pec?) then I would recommend avoiding anything permanent. Logs will work well until a heavy rain causes the river to rise. Then they’ll either float away or be buried in goo. For that same reason, tires would be a bad idea.

What about an inexpensive makeshift floating dock from barrels and plywood? If properly anchored it will withstand rising water and will allow easy canoe/kayak exit and entrance.

I once brought along a short section of those fences made from vertical wood slats held together with wire. They come in rolls, but I forget what they’re called (brain malfunction). I unrolled it to get into the canoe, then rolled it up, took it with me, and used to get out at the end of the day. It was a giant pain and got mud all over the boat, but it worked like a charm. I’ve always wondered if there was an idea there…hmmm…

Good luck. Let us know what you decide.


mud slide slim
that would be a snow fence i think.

mabey a couple of 1 foot wide plywood planks, lay em down pick em up. or snow shoes would go good with the snow fence!

good luck…jeff

At walden the have this
heavy rubber mat with holes about 1 inch in it. Works a treat! I do not know who makse it but maybe one of the honored pond scum will look for aname on it when they go out there. It is near the bence near the boat ramp.

the thing will last a long time and could be made from recycled tires.

Rubber mats…
Sounds like you might be describing the rubber mats used in food service. They are about 1/2" thick and grease resistant. Here’s an example:

Check with the county before doing anything. It’s their property and they might have regulations reguarding your project. It isn’t wise to construct anything on public land without first contacting the governing agency. That a good way to find yourself before a judge.

Seabees used to use these perforated steel decks to build everything from floating bridges to runways. They’re ugly but pretty much indestructible. Used to be everywhere as surplus, and I’m sure some are still around. At a nearby paddling launch we use a lot, there are these interlocking floating black plastic pillows that are great. Link them together, cable them up the bank and they rise and fall with the water level. They’re always just a few inches above the water, so launching is easy. But I imagine they cost less than rusty old surplus.

Floating dock
I second the idea of a floating dock.

If there is as much muck as you say, it will swallow literally tons of any kind of fill you attempt to dump on top. Plus, as previously mentioned, there are environmental issues to consider.

At Annsville Creek paddle center on the Hudson

There is a very nice floating dock, but I don’t know if it is cheap.

Hi! Are you part of the IPC project on
Pecatonica? Have you thought of putting in the type of landings they have on the Kish? Look at Espenschide and Atwood on the North branch of the Kish. They dug a small inlet and lined it with RR ties that are anchored. They’ve been there over 7 yrs and have survived some major flooding. Considering that the Pec is on the outskirts of a large population area and gets more and more use, the landing should be able to hold up to heavier use.

I vote for NO DOCK or RAMP because the fishing boats and pontoons will try to use them. Boo hiss! If paddlers are building it and maintaining it, don’t make it easy for the bums to abuse it. They have their own launches, but will use canoe launches if they can get away with it.

I have used carpet and it works good for the boats, but it’s hard to get a foothold when it gets wet and/or muddy.

Good luck with the project. Which county bridge are you accessing at? We hope to work on put-ins near Kirkland on the Kish.

NIce! that’s it and it works great in
in walden. some jerk might pick it up and take it away in another setting or even there.

Ted Kennedy
He always manages to get HIMSELF out of the water and mud.

Nothing beats…
…being gently dropped in by a helicopter.

If George Bush II visits the river,
then you can put up a big “misson accomplished” banner, and let the muck remain. The photos will look great! Just make sure that 500 people do not drown at the launch site.

Wood pallets
You can get them free in a lot of places (or cheap at least). They have slatted wood surfaces that sit 4 inches above the bottom slats. Excellent for traction, drainage, etc.

or just stick a bunch of liberals in

– Last Updated: Apr-09-05 9:46 AM EST –

there. They don't have any good thoughts of their own, but they like to throw the muck.

Build a human powered boat launch site
Why is it that people think that they can just go in and do what ever they want on public property! Tires’ Pallets and carpet of all things. Take then to the land fill where they belong and stop trashing the country’s waterways.