Canoe/kayak launch and boat ramp planned for Yellow River

PORTERDALE -- A canoe and kayak launch and boat ramp are planned for the Yellow River on property owned by the city of Porterdale.

The city is in the process of obtaining a variance from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to encroach on the required 25 foot stream buffer. The property is adjacent to Hemlock Street.

Marty Boyd with Carter and Sloope, the city's engineering consultant said the variance is expected within the next 30 days. Following approval, the project will be put out to bid and he expects a 60 to 90 day timeframe to execute the contract and complete construction.

The city is funding the canoe/kayak launch and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is funding the boat ramp, Boyd said. He said issues related to the variance could affect the project cost and did not want to give an estimate at this time.

No trees will be removed or disturbed for the canoe/kayak launch but it is within the buffer and EPD requires a variance and mitigation. The city plans to mitigate by removing some invasive plants and trees and doing some planting, Boyd said.

The canoe/kayak launch will have a stair step design about 2 to 3 feet deep and 12 feet long that will go down into the river. Canoes or kayaks can be parked on one of the steps and loaded into the river, Boyd said.

The boat ramp will be designed for small motorized boats, as the river can't support large craft, he said. It's also intended to assist public safety personnel in easily accessing the river when there is an emergency, he said.

The project fits into the city's overall plans for the Yellow River Park, which eventually officials hope will include both active and passive recreation space. The city is working with the Georgia River Network, Rockdale County and other stakeholders to develop a "blue trail," or water trail, designed for boating, fishing and recreation, along the Yellow River extending from Conyers to Porterdale. The project would include a plan to preserve, protect and promote 27 acres along the Yellow River.

Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman gave credit to the Yellow River Preservation and Conservation Group for initiating the blue trail idea and encouraging recreation along the Yellow River.