Second kayak launch officially opens in Washington

The City of Washington and Sound Rivers celebrated the official launch of Washington’s newest kayak launch with a ribbon cutting Friday.

The Mason’s Landing kayak launch on Tranters Creek was built through a partnership and funded by the state Recreational Trails Program, Division of Water Resources, Wildlife Resources Commission and the city. It is the second of three such projects intended to provide greater public access to the Tar-Pamlico Water Trail. The third will be located on the Tar River at Port Terminal in Greenville.

“Beaufort County has the most paddle-friendly shoreline in North Carolina, hundreds of miles of river access as well as a large paddle community in Washington as well as statewide. Many of those folks are older, and it’s challenging to get into and out of a raised dock while the kayak is sitting several feet below,” said Clay Barber, Sound Rivers’ environmental projects coordinator. “We are trying to increase recreation access for them with these universally accessible boat launches, save a lot of wear and tear on their kayaks and simplify things on busy days when motorboat owners are also using the docks.”

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jillian Howell said these launches are unique, and go further to increase accessibility.

“This is an ADA-accessible kayak launch, so both able-bodied paddlers and folks are going to be able to equally use this,” Howell said.

The launches have benches and several other ADA-approved attachments, making them more friendly for those physically impaired.

Washington Mayor Donald Sadler said the new launches add to the area’s tourism draw, as many visit Washington because of river — and its accessibility.

“People are very excited about the opportunity to come out and enjoy the water,” Sadler said.

Sadler was joined by Washington councilmembers Richard Brooks, Betsy Kane, William Pitt and Mike Renn for the official ribbon-cutting, along with Washington Parks and Rec Director Kristi Roberson and Sound Rivers’ Howell.

At the ribbon cutting were (left to right) Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell, Washington City Councilman Mike Renn, Councilwoman Betsy Kane, Mayor Donald Sadler, Councilman Richard Brooks, Councilman William Pitt and Parks and Rec Director Kristi Roberson.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell gives Guy Blackwell a hand with this kayak as Blackwell tests out the new launch.

Longtime Sound Rivers volunteer and avid kayaker Guy Blackwell demonstrates the ease of getting into and out of the water at the new Tranters Creek kayak launch.

An EZ Launch sign demonstrates how to use the ADA-accessible launch at Mason’s Landing.

Water-quality intern Will Shingleton sits with Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell’s puppy, Miller, on the dock at Mason’s Landing, as Howell interviews with local media.

A peek beneath the bridge shows the beauty of the natural landscape up Tranters Creek — a perfect place to explore by kayak.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell talks to WITN reporter Deric Rush about the new kayak launch on Tranters Creek.