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Alviso Marina Boat Launch Ramp Honored with 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award
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ALVISO, Calif. January 19, 2011 –- When the new Alviso Marina Boat Launch Ramp opened in June of 2010, it gave Santa Clara County boaters access to San Francisco Bay waters for the first time in 25 years. The former facility had been deemed unusable years ago due to silting and lack of dredging funds, and with the new ramp’s opening on the Alviso Slough, the county hopes to recapture some of it nautical heritage, improve its recreational offerings for citizens, and gain from boaters’ spending.
However, the challenges the county faced in constructing this new, modern facility with two launch ramps - one for boats and one for paddlecraft - along with parking for 26 boat trailers, were numerous. The biggest were the ramp’s location in an environmentally sensitive area, a tough environmental permitting process and significant construction restrictions designed to lessen the impact on the neighboring wetlands, home to several protected species.
For its ability to overcome all of these challenges and again offer boating access to San Francisco Bay, the Alviso Marina Boat Launch Ramp 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 saga at Alviso Slough began in 2003 with two grants from the California Department of Boating and Waterways. A location was chosen in deeper water and where tidal action could minimize silting. Permits were required at the local, state and federal level. With much persistence, ground was finally broken in September of 2009. However, workers were limited to a very short window for in-water construction during low or incoming tides, making an eight-hour work shift impossible.
“Until this ramp opened, the closest public boating access was 25 miles away,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “How the county parks department and the ramp’s supporters were able to methodically pass each hurtle in the permitting process and see this project to completion shows a lot of patience and real persistence. If Alviso can do it, it shows us that boating access can be improved even in sensitive areas,” added Podlich.
Over 600 people attended the ramp’s opening ceremony and today, less than a year old, the ramp has seen significant use. County residents can be found walking the nature trails in the adjacent park and old salt ponds. But most importantly, they can enjoy the water again in a boat.
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.