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NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com/PressRoom

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com

Huron Boat Access Site and Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources Honored with 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award

The Huron Boat Access Site in Huron, OH.
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 HURON, Ohio. January 19, 2011 –- There’s a long list of challenges facing any community wishing to have a recreational boat launch ramp. Funds are hard to find and waterfront land expensive. Obtaining permits can be difficult. “NIMBY” forces can present roadblocks and in this post 9-11 era, even port security operations can sometimes influence a location. But keeping flexible and having options can overcome many of these hurdles.

That’s what the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) did when working with the City of Huron to overcome security concerns as well as community opposition to successfully open a new four-lane boat ramp launch facility. It has handicapped-accessible docks, restrooms and parking for 135 vehicles / trailers on the city’s harbor front. For its work in completing the project OHDNR is honored with a 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award.

BoatUS (Boat Owners Association of The United States) created the award program in 2007 to highlight successes in protecting water access as boaters and communities were losing marina slips, service yards and boat launching areas. The goal is to draw national attention to innovative solutions and share success stories so that others may help to solve their own waterway access challenges.

“The first site planners chose, at the end of a nearby shipping channel, was the most cost- effective, but port security operations could have closed the ramps without notice,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “When the proposed location was then moved west to the Huron River, where it was eventually located, initially there was opposition about potential bottlenecks in the narrow river channel.” A harbor of refuge, river traffic there can increase significantly when boaters run for the protection of the port during Lake Erie storms.

The state and city listened and made critical design changes to accommodate these concerns. The biggest change was the ramp built “into” the property inside the old river shoreline boundary and sited on an angle - rather than 90-degrees to the river - in order to keep boating traffic flowing. This also helped the sometime onerous permitting process, as construction on the actual river was reduced. A long courtesy dock was installed parallel to shore to facilitate loading and unloading, bathroom breaks and for tying-up boats seeking temporary refuge.

Built entirely with funds paid by the state’s boaters as well as federal angler funds and now maintained by the city, the Huron Boat Launch Ramp facility has become a showcase boating access location. Open free of charge 24 hours a day, it’s located close to Huron’s restaurants, grocery, tackle stores and other amenities, and fishing tournaments are now held at the site, bringing additional economic benefits to the city.

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About BoatUS:

BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services.  For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.