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New launches make kayaking more accessible

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Posted at 3:32 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 15:32:34-04

Governor Cuomo announced a newly designed dock that will make it easier for people with physical disabilities to launch kayaks and canoes at New York State Parks.

An accessible kayak launch is expected to be installed at Buffalo Harbor State Park later this fall, along with other parks around the state.

"New York is home to exquisite natural beauty that everyone deserves an opportunity to enjoy," Governor Cuomo said. "These improvements reflect New York's legacy of inclusiveness by making outdoor recreation in these spectacular places more accessible and enjoyable for all New Yorkers and visitors alike."

Kayaks and canoes are unstable and can be can be difficult to get in and out of, especially for those with physical impairments. The new dock will have two slips with an overhead grab bar to increase stability for people while entering and exiting their kayaks or canoes. There is also a hinged ramp to better hold the vessels in place before launching, and a low-scale stair to allow wheelchair users to lower themselves into the boat.

"State Parks is committed to working to ensure our facilities are accessible to visitors of all abilities," said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "Kayaking is becoming more popular, including among seniors, people with disabilities, wounded veterans and people just looking to get into shape. This innovative dock design will help provide people with physical challenges with more independence and better access to some of our state's beautiful lakes and rivers."

This project is part of the NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment to use $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks and state historic sites from 2011 to 2020.