New Havens Garden kayak launch launches in Washington

The site of the coming kayak launch at Havens Garden in Washington is adjacent to the boat ramps on Runyon Creek.

Construction is ramping up for a new kayak launch at Havens Garden in Washington.

The kayak launch will be adjacent to the boat ramp on Runyon Creek, and the first of three upcoming kayak launches intended to get people paddling the state’s paddle trails. The two other kayak launches will be located at Mason’s Landing in Washington and Port Terminal in Greenville.

“The goal is increase access to the trail with these launches,” said Clay Barber, Sound Rivers’ environmental projects coordinator.

The kayak launch has been in the planning stages for the past four years, when Sound Rivers received a Recreational Trails Program grant from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources — the same grant used to construct the camping platforms along the Tar-Pamlico water trail — and other funding from the North Carolina Division of Water Resources. The land is owned by the City of Washington, while Wildlife Resources Commission maintains the ramps.

The construction of the launch includes a concrete parking pad, “just big enough for a car to pull in and unload a kayak,” Barber said, which will lead to wood boardwalk that will extend about 70 feet out into the creek, the first half paralleling River Road west of the Washington Park bridge, then angling toward the bridge and running parallel to the existing shoreline. Attached to this section will be a floating dock with two launches, one of which will be ADA compliant.

Barber said the new launch will make kayak launching a much more pleasant experience at the location.

“You won’t have to scrape your boat on the concrete ramp as much. You’ll be able to slide your boat on some nice, appropriate material, and you can just get in and use your hands to grab the rails slide off of the ramp,” Barber said. “It should be pretty available year-round, and it just gives you a little separation from the motorists putting in their boats, and people won’t have to wait and you won’t feel like you’re holding things up — there will be less conflict there.”

Materials for the project began arriving on site this week.