Metroparks Meetup: Accessible kayak ramps

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LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio (WTVG) - On a hot day in northwest Ohio, there's no finer time for anyone to head out and enjoy the cooler side of the Metroparks -- such as the 10+ acres of crystal-clear water at Wiregrass Lake, a hidden gem in western Lucas County.

Over the last several years, accessible docks with a roller system have been installed at four Metroparks, providing a much more helpful launch point for paddlers of all skills and ability levels.

Outdoor skills specialist Amanda Domalski says these ramps have proven very popular since their installation. "Normally, accessing your kayak would involve sliding off the side of the dock and into your boat," she says, "but we've got flat walkway access, plus pullout benches that come across and allow you to slide in while keeping stable."

"It also keeps you nice and dry; you don't have to wade out into the water to get into your kayak, so a lot of paddlers really appreciate that about this dock."

When we arrived Thursday afternoon, a few families had already taken advantage of the improved access and gorgeous weather to launch their kayaks -- stowing paddles under their arm and grabbing the sidebars to reach the lake.

"It's really cool to see how people have responded," says Domalski. "Here at Metroparks, we're all about getting people outside to enjoy and connect to nature... and really, nothing gets you closer to nature than sitting out on the pond, surrounded by the turtles and birds and frogs."

Side Cut, Cannonball Prairie and Howard Marsh Metroparks also feature these accessible docks, so everyone can experience a sense of adventure practically in their own backyard.

"It's not just for us to use, these are public access places," Domalski offers. "If you have your own boat, you can bring it out (on the lake) and use it during normal park hours, 7am until dark."

For more information, visit the Metroparks website.