Lake Shawnee gets ADA boat ramp for wheelchair users, elderly

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Shawnee Co. Parks + Recreation made it easier for more people to enjoy kayaking on Lake Shawnee.

(WIBW/Eric Ives)

The agency teamed up with a veterans group, the Kansas Chapter of Heroes on the Water, to purchase an ADA accessible kayak launch on the lake’s south boat ramp. It says the new launch will help people in wheelchairs, older boaters, and anyone else needing help getting in and out of kayak get out on the water more easily.

“We are thrilled that this boat launch has been installed for not only our use but for anyone else that uses Lake Shawnee,” said Lyle Babcock, coordinator for the Kansas Chapter of Heroes on the Water, said. “It will help expose individuals to kayaking that never thought they would get the opportunity to experience it.”

Heroes on Water is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans and first responders take advantage of the therapeutic qualities of fishing and kayaking, Parks + Rec explained.

“We let Mother Nature do what Mother Nature does best,” Babcock explained. “It gets vets and first responders back out and reengages the family again.”

The launch is designed to let a person sit on a bench and slide over into the seat of the kayak. They can then push themselves into and out of the water. It cost $53,714.50.