River Boardwalk Trail Allows for Greater Access to the River

New ADA accessible Boardwalk River Trail, ramp, and canoe launch

There is greater access to the river for populations with varying abilities on our new and improved River Boardwalk Trail which includes a new ADA accessible boardwalk and ramp as well as a canoe launch that is open for all to enjoy! We asked Rick Hirsekorn, Board Trustee and Project Manager, and Alicia Thompson, Senior Director of Learning and Engagement to fill us in on how accessibility is improved on the boardwalk, ramp, and canoe launch.  

On the north side of Willeo Road, beginning at the Ben Brady Pavilion and proceeding towards the Pedestrian Bridge, the ramped slopes between 1:20 (5%) and 1:12 (8.33%) and have level 5‘ wide landings at no more than 30’ ramp run intervals.  The remainder of the ramp leading up to the bridge is less than a 1:20 (5%) slope, so no need for any landings!

On the south side of Willeo Road, the ramp section immediately south of the Pedestrian Bridge (between the Pedestrian Bridge and the overlook platform) is greater than 1:20 (5%) slope but less than 30’ in length, and the Overlook Platform serves as a landing. From the Overlook Platform down to the boardwalk, the slope is less than 1:20 (5%), so there is no need for any landings.

Our supplementary ramp adjacent to and south of the Ben Brady Pavilion is NOT ADA-compliant, due to the slope of the concrete entrance ramp, and is to be utilized when not accessing the ramp from the Ben Brady Pavilion.  The ADA-accessible concrete ramp from the area adjacent to the drinking fountain up to the pavilion is the beginning of our ADA-accessible path. One then enters the ramp to the bridge at the corner of the Ben Brady Pavilion and the pathway is then ADA-accessible all the way up to and across the bridge and then down to the boardwalk. The boardwalk itself is less than 1:20 (5%) slope at any point and so is ADA-accessible in its entirety.

On the riverfront side of the River Boardwalk Trail, CNC hosts a private canoe launch where all CNC river adventures begin. The updated, ADA-inspired accessible canoe launch features a deck from which all guests access the river. A wide ramp with grab bars allows canoes to slide into the river without having guests walk in the wetland mud. Should a guest have mobility issues or use a wheelchair, the ramp includes a transfer bench. The bench is designed to allow for ease of movement from a seated position down into a canoe. Guests use the overhead grab bar and ease themselves across 3 low steps and down into a canoe.

To exit the river, a mechanical winch provides an easy way to pull guests with limited mobility up the ramp and back to the main deck. We can’t wait for you to explore the new River Boardwalk Trail!