Access to Recreation Canoe Launches Win National Awards

transfer design consult (4)The Access to Recreation Project, a project of the Midland Area Community Foundation, started in 2006.  Funded in part by a matching grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and coordinated by the Midwest Community Foundation Ventures, Access to Recreation convenes community partners for the purpose of promoting universal access to recreation sites and build endowments to provide for the long-term focus on accessibility.

In the last year, the project has completed the universally accessible trail at West Midland Family Center, and is now finished with the accessible spray park at the Midland Community Center.  The next project to be completed is the universally accessible canoe launch at Manitou and Chippewa Nature Centers.

Midland’s Access to Recreation Team has received two National Awards for their design and development of a small boat launch system that promotes universal access to recreation for individuals with disabilities. These awards are in recognition of the collaborative with St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Department and the Midland County Parks and Recreation Department through the Access to Recreation Grant in the design and development of a universal floating dock system for Chippewa Nature Center Cabin and Manitou Park on the Chippewa River.

The Associations are the National Recreation and Park Association ( NRPA) and the National Association of County Parks and Recreation Officials (NACPRO).  The NRPA will present the “2009 Great Lakes Regional Council Partnership Award” in Salt Lake City this fall at the NRPA Congress and Exposition in Salt Lake City.  NACPRO presented the “Removing Barriers Initiative Award” on July 26th at their Annual Conference in Nashville Tennessee.

The canoe launches are being installed by St. Clair County to start and will also be installed in Midland County as soon as funds are raised.  The launches will be a unique docking system that will allow people with disabilities to independently launch canoes or kayaks. These launches will be installed at Manitou Park and the Chippewa Nature Center Cabin, allowing canoeists and kayakers to put in at Manitou Park and canoe downstream to Chippewa Nature Center’s Cabin.

The Midland team is comprised of Midland Area Community Foundation, Midland Community Center, Disability Network of Mid-Michigan, Midland County Parks and Recreation, Chippewa Nature Center, and West Midland Family Center.