Along the Couderay River in Radisson, Wisconsin, an adaptive and accessible kayak launch was installed in October 2022. It provides universal access to the river regardless of ability or disability and has numerous ADA-inspired features.
The installation was the culmination of a 2-year collaboration between BoardSafe Docks and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries.
Wisconsin DNR has been committed to improving outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all abilities. Whether on land or on the water, the DNR is hopeful that everyone will find their niche and enjoy new recreational opportunities. The DNR has been promoting access, inclusion, equity, and healthy living, and encouraging residents and visitors to explore the great outdoors. The BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch will help increase dignity and freedom for individuals with mobility issues and build closer connections among friends and family while increasing accessibility and participation for adaptive paddlers at their parks. See photos below.
Not only does the kayak launch help paddlers into the water; there is also a 120-foot-long accessible composite boardwalk that is leading from a trailhead access area. The boardwalk is supported by fiberglass pilings and consists of prefabricated aluminum deck sections. The frame of the boardwalk is an aluminum tube frame with composite decking featuring the TimberStrong fastening system.
There is an aluminum toe kick along the boardwalk as well as an integrated hinge for attachment to the gangway. The boardwalk leads to a BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch on the Couderay River.
The aluminum gangway measures 5’ wide x 8’ long and is attached to an aluminum floating dock that is 8’ x 16’. The kayak launch has BoardSafe’s adaptive boarding kit for an easy transition in and out of vessels.
- Installed October 2022
- 120-foot-long composite boardwalk
- Fiberglass pilings
- Prefabricated aluminum deck sections
- Aluminum tube frame
- Composite decking featuring the TimberStrong fastening system
- Aluminum toe kick
- Integrated hinge for attachment of gangway
- BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch
- 5’ x 8’ gangway
- 8’ x 16’ floating dock
- BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch
- Adaptive boarding kit
The uniqueness of this accessible project
The accessibility of this project not only assists adaptive paddlers getting to the kayak launch, into their vessel, and out onto the water by utilizing the adaptive features designed to accommodate paddlers in wheelchairs, but boasts a 120-foot long accessible, composite boardwalk leading from the trailhead access area to the river. The 120-ft. boardwalk is supported by fiberglass pilings with prefabricated aluminum deck sections. The frame of the boardwalk is an aluminum tube frame using composite decking connected with the hidden, TimberStrong fastening system. An aluminum, protective toe kick is found along the boardwalk’s edge and an integrated hinge attaches the gangway to its concrete foundation. This custom walkway offers accessibility to the adaptive launch inviting those with physical limitations a safer and easier way to access and paddler on the river. This project models inclusivity and accessibility for all.
Radisson is a small town with less than 300 permanent, year-round residents noted by the latest US Census. Why would a small town invest in a BoardSafe Adaptive Kayak Launch? BoardSafe Docks understands the benefits and impact their adaptive launch system offers to communities and park systems. It offers the safe, easy, and inclusive access to the water. The inclusive launch is fitted for kayaks, canoes, and can also work for SUPS. Kayaking isn’t the only attraction along Radisson’s waterway; kayak fishing is another very popular attraction to the park. Radisson may now offer their inclusive access to various outdoor enthusiasts and become a local treasure for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.
Benefits of River Access
River access points are known to be gateways of opportunities for paddlers to enjoy the experience of being on the water. Accessible river access offers socialization; it brings people together and affords the ability to connect families and friends to nature and to their community.
River access points also offer economic benefit to local communties. Investments in river access can increase visitor spending, create jobs, and support local businesses and government. Diverse partnerships have the potential to develop along river communities and there is demonstrated success for communities who’ve made the investment.
A second Adaptive Kayak Launch was also installed in Couderay, WI, and can be viewed here.
The adaptive features found in BoardSafe’s kayak launch offer safer and easier access to the water and work for a wider range of users. Features typically include a paved pathway from the parking lot to the launch, an ADA-compliant gangway (less than a 1/12 pitch), a protective toe-kick around the perimeter of the floating dock, an adaptive roll cage that includes a 3.5-inch step-down bench, a pullout seat, an overhead grab bar that allows the user to slide down either side of the bench of their preference, optional overhead grab straps to lower oneself into the vessel, a cradle the keeps the kayak level and stable upon entry, and pull bars to enter into the water through a controlled entry.
"The aluminum floating kayak launch system has unique adaptive features that offer paddlers with disabilities or mobility limitations the opportunity to get safely from their wheelchair and into a kayak and back out again," says Scott Tihansky, of BoardSafe Docks.
BoardSafe Docks works regularly with adaptive paddling groups, veteran groups, park and recreation departments, governmental leaders, landscape architects, and design engineers looking to make their waterfront accessible to all.
BoardSafe Docks is the trusted expert for those who desire only the best-engineered and highest-quality aluminum floating docks, gangways, and launch systems.
If you’re looking to make your community's parks, rivers, lakes, and other natural areas more accessible for people of all abilities, contact BoardSafe Docks at 610-899-0286. You may also visit the BoardSafeDocks.com website to see other project profiles and case studies to learn how BoardSafe Docks has the capability to design, engineer, and manufacture accessible and adaptive products for those who appreciate the outdoors and want to ensure all will be able to access the great outdoors.
Just made it down to see the fully completed project at Radisson. WOW! Both look fantastic. I’m going to be showing these off to lots of folks around the state and telling the tale of how nice it was working with your outfit. I have a feeling you’ll be back in Wisconsin for many more jobs!
Please let me know if there is any other follow-up needed from us or if there are any snafus with getting payments. I’m with you all the way to the finish line on this one! Very relieved and happy to have the big install step done though!
P Max H. Wolter, Fisheries Biologist
Hayward Service Center
To make your community's parks, rivers, lakes, and other natural areas more accessible for all abilities, visit BoardSafeDocks.com.