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Kayak launch to be built in Porterdale by spring

PORTERDALE — Capitalizing on the natural beauty of the Yellow River, Porterdale is setting plans in motion to build a kayak/canoe ramp before the warm weather arrives.

City Manager Bob Thomson said it will cost about $65,000 to build the launch, which will be located adjacent to the walking trail at Yellow River Park.

The launch, trails and signage will be funded through a Department of Natural Resources recreational trails grant for $98,976 and the city will match $39,300 for a project total of $138,276, Thomson said.

“We were given the notice to proceed with the project last week. Carter and Sloope’s Watkinsville manager and chief engineer Marty Boyd is working with the contractor on specifications and contract documents,” Thomson said.

Thomson anticipates the ramp to be built by the spring.

Boyd said the proposed ramp will be a 12 foot by 20 foot reinforced concrete structure.

“It is a stair-step design as opposed to a ramp, meaning that there will be steps that will allow kayakers and canoeists to step down into the water to launch their craft,” Boyd said. “Construction will take approximately four to six weeks depending on weather. Dry weather will help keep the water level down in the Yellow River which will make construction easier.”

Thomson said once the ramp is complete, Porterdale’s Yellow River will be designated as an established trail on the Georgia Water Trails map .

Georgia River Network considers a water trail established once there is a website and map for paddlers to reference.

“A tremendous amount of work and research has gone into the planning of this structure, taking into consideration the ecology of the river and the best way to serve the recreational community,” said Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman. “We are most fortunate to have this natural resource and we hope to make the best use of it for those who enjoy river recreation.”

Chapman said the launch will make access to the Yellow River more efficient and allow for handicap access.

“For the last two summers the Porterdale Yak Club has run a kayak business out of our depot and people have had to go off the bank, to ‘the old ballfield’ located off Hemlock Street to launch into the river,” Chapman said. “If we are to establish the Yellow River in Porterdale as a serious kayaking destination, the ramp will help us achieve that goal.”