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Indiana’s first accessible canoe, kayak launch opens
Start Date: 9/24/2015
Event Description:
A new accessible boat launching facility in northwestern Indiana will make it easier for paddlers of all abilities to get on the water.

The canoe and kayak launch at Michigan City’s Hansen Park complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), making it the first of its kind in Indiana.

Known as an EZ Launch, the facility will help make Trail Creek and the Lake Michigan Water Trails system more accessible for both able-bodied paddlers and paddlers with physical limitations.

A public ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. at Hansen Park, 100 E St. From 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., the public is invited to a free paddle on one of the six Wilderness Inquiry 24-foot voyageur canoes that will be in town all week as part of Trail Creek Week 2015.

Funding for the launching facility was provided in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Lake Michigan Coastal Program.

Other partners were the Michigan City government, including Mayor Ron Meer, the Common Council and the Parks Department, the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission, the Michigan City Port Authority and the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA).

Charlie Ray of Duneland Group provided in-kind design and engineering services.

The facility will be dedicated to local paddler Lorri Kovitz, who helped inspire the project. Kovitz had a leg amputated several years ago. She was an avid cyclist and hiker, according to NWIPA president Dan Plath.

“Once she had her leg removed, paddling was her only way of really connecting to nature as she once did,” Plath said. “We have witnessed for years the struggles that she went through to get into her kayak and on the water.”

The facility has also led to the creation of the Northwest Indiana chapter of Team River Runner. Team River Runner provides wounded and disabled war veterans and their family’s adaptive paddling programs. Team River Runner will provide a training session for volunteers after the ribbon cutting ceremony. Team River Runner has support from NWIPA, the Valparaiso University Office for Veterans’ Programs and Services and the VU Military Veterans’ Law Association. For more information on Team River Runner, contact Plath at (219) 9559 or dplath@nwipa.org.

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.
Contact Information:
Name: Maggie Byrne
Phone: (219) 983-9912
Email: mbyrne@dnr.IN.gov
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State calendar entry type:
Press Release
State calendar entry category:
Announcements
State calendar classification:
  • Residents
  • Visiting and Playing
  • Agency Name:
  • Natural Resources, Department of

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