Port Terminal kayak launch now open for launching!

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on March 24th, 2022

A new kayak launch is now available to ease paddlers’ way into the Tar River.

The ADA-accessible kayak launch at the Port Terminal boat launch in Greenville was completed just in time for warmer weather.

“It’s coming up on peak paddle and boating season, and Port Terminal is a notoriously busy boat ramp for boat motorists and paddlers,” said Clay Barber, Sound Rivers’ environmental projects coordinator.

Sound Rivers put the project in motion with a state Recreational Trails Program grant, with assistance from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Division of Water Resources and the City of Greenville.

“We had the property available for improvements to be made and increasing the access for paddlers is one of the city’s top priorities,” said Mark Nottingham, a planner with the City of Greenville’s Recreation and Parks department. “Promoting the overall connection and use of the river is one of the goals of city council, and this is an element, or an amenity, that works toward that goal. … It’s a mutually beneficial partnership. We can use all the partners like Sound Rivers we can get.”

The Port Terminal launch is the third kayak launch Sound Rivers has completed in partnership with WRC, DWR and local municipalities — part of a movement to make waterways more accessible for all. The first two opened for launching last summer at Havens Garden and Mason’s Landing in Washington.

The new kayak launch should also help with launch waits for both paddlers and those putting motorboats in the water, according to Clay.

“This is going to help resolve a lot of friction, conflict issues between folks using the ramps, because paddlers and motorists will be able to have their own space,” Clay said.

The kayak launch was built into an expansion of the existing Port Terminal boat ramp. Construction started last September to increase the size of the gravel parking lot, add a new boat ramp with docks on either side, and build a concrete parking pad for handicapped vehicles, along with a sidewalk to the new boat ramp.

Clay said the expansion is creating a better experience for everyone hoping to get on the water: “It provides space between motorists and paddlers, less wear and tear on kayaks and canoes and it makes it much easier for anyone to get in and out of the water, especially for first-time paddlers or those with mobility issues,” he said.

Sound Rivers is planning an official ribbon-cutting for the launch: stay tuned for details!

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