Paddlers will have at least one more weekend to try out the new Howard Road boat ramp at Alum Creek State Park.
“It’s one of two in the state. Findley State Park has the other one,” said Dawn Potter, state watercraft officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Watercraft. “It’s a very nice addition to the park.”
The new free-standing, floating paddling dock and launch ramp will make it easier for paddlers to get started and remove their hand-powered vessels. Previously, access was only available from a courtesy dock.
“I can’t tell you how many times you see stand-up paddle boarders and canoers and kayakers trying to get in that shoreline,” Potter said. “This is pretty neat engineering. Even the novice paddler can use it.”
Potter said the new ramp uses rollers and rails on both sides, so paddlers can pull themselves in and out. The launch is also compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
“It’s very stable. It doesn’t wobble when you’re on it. The ramp is level and not steep,” Potter said.
In addition, it has a bench in the middle for easier accessibility, and lighting on the outside to illuminate it at night.
Howard Road is in the northern section of the park, between U.S. 36/State Route 37 and State Route 521. It can be reached from Hogback Road, North Three B’s & K Road, and County Road 10A.
“Alum Creek is beautiful, but that north end of the lake, with the no wake zone and the idle speed being posted all the way to 36/37, it’s extremely popular for paddling,” Potter said. “I think that was a really great spot for that, and it’s going to serve the public well.”
In addition, a modern restroom was placed nearby.
“Demolition of the existing restroom began in early August and was replaced with a low-maintenance prefabricated concrete restroom,” stated a press release issued by the ODNR. “The new restroom is also 100 percent compliant with ADA standards and offers single occupant men’s and single occupant women’s bathrooms.”
The project was funded by recreational boaters through the state’s Waterways Safety Fund, derived from a share of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, and the U.S. Coast Guard funding.
Staff at Alum Creek State Park said the ramp will still be in the water this weekend while the weather is still nice and water temperatures are relatively warm. However, it will be pulled out for the winter soon.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.