Kayak launch at Lake Shawnee allows for those in need of assistance to sail

Local News

Photo credit: Keith Horinek

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Thanks to the help of a veterans group and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation, a new ADA accessible kayak launch is coming to Lake Shawnee.

The new launch at Lake Shawnee’s south boat ramp will make kayaking accessible to patrons using wheelchairs, the elderly or anyone else who needs some assistance entering and exiting a kayak.

Lyle Babcock, the coordinator for the Kansas Chapter of Heroes on the Water, worked with Shawnee County Parks and Recreation and the Parks for All Foundation to purchase the ramp.

The launch allows the person to sit on a bench, then slide over and down a level over and into the kayak. If the person has upper body strength, they can use the rails alongside the launch to push the boat into and out of the water.

This kayak launch means more than just allowing people to get on the water. Babcock explained that there are therapeutic qualities involved in being able to be outdoors.

“We let Mother Nature do what Mother Nature does best,” Babcock said. “It gets vets and first responders back out and reengages the family again.”

Babcock was excited to be able to share this opportunity with anyone in need of assistance getting on the lake.

“We are thrilled that this boat launch has been installed for not only our use but for anyone else that uses Lake Shawnee,” said Babcock. “It will help expose individuals to kayaking that never thought they would get the opportunity to experience it.”

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