On November 27, 2018 — #GIVINGTUESDAY — we’re introducing #operationLAUNCHpad to raise funds to design and install an ADA compliant kayak launch on Weeks Bay! We’ll be joined by our corporate partner, JubileeScape, in encouraging people throughout coastal Alabama to help us get this launch built.
Every February, the Weeks Bay Foundation holds a kayak and canoe based cleanup to remove trash caught along the Weeks Bay and Fish River shorelines that is not accessible by land. In August, we also sponsor a paddle race and eco-tour around the bay. These two events get hundreds of people out on the water recreating.
Sadly, there is not a kayak and canoe launch on Weeks Bay. Paddlers have to compete with much larger vessels to launch their boats from the motorboat ramp, or walk them into the water across jagged rocks and riprap.
Weeks Bay, with its protected coastline and calm waters, draws thousands of people. They explore by powerboat, by sailboat, and by paddle craft. Paddling on the bay, whether on a kayak, canoe or paddleboard, is a quiet, reflective experience that often includes seeing the more elusive wildlife such as manatees and bald eagles. Numerous rare and endangered species thrive in Weeks Bay.
A new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Accessible) launch, such as the one pictured above, will allow many more of our neighbors to get out on this amazing waterway. This includes groups like Team River Runner of South Alabama. Team River Runner works with disabled veterans using water-based sports as therapeutic exercise.
“An adaptive kayak launch at Weeks Bay will offer greater opportunities for our disabled veteran community to experience a much needed sense of independence and healing unique to paddle sports,” Tonya Butler, EdD, LMT, CARSS 1, with Team River Runner said. “Without safe entry and exit points for people with disabilities, opportunities to experience the beautiful Gulf Coast by kayak or any other non motorized boat is extremely limited. Acquired disabilities take an emotional toll on our wounded warriors and the opportunity to get in the peaceful waters of Week’s Bay contribute to the journey of health and healing.”
Time spent on Weeks Bay is the best way to experience the beauty and benefits of this natural resource, and we want that experience open to ALL of our community members. Please make #operationLAUNCHpad a part of your #givingtuesday.