Kayak, canoe and boating access to the Yellow River near Porterdale will soon become much easier.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will install a boat ramp and the city of Porterdale will install a kayak and a canoe launch, as the city continues to promote the Yellow River as a recreational destination.
The city is in the public comment phase of the project until July 17; public notice is required because the city is applying for a variance with the DNR and Georgia Environmental Protection Division to encroach within the state’s required 25-foot buffers for rivers.
City officials hope to put out bids for construction around Aug. 1.
Engineer Marty Boyd, with Watkinsville-based Carter and Sloope, said the boat ramp will be a 60-foot-long, about 15-foot-wide, slanted concrete slab that will allow the public and public safety groups to put small boats — including motorized boats — in the river.
The goal is for the boat ramp to be tied into a new, multi-use trail, though the ramp and the kayak/canoe launch also will be close to the existing Yellow River Park and trail, which has an entrance near Hemlock Street.
The DNR is paying for design and installation of the boat ramp.
The city also is designing a smaller kayak and canoe launch, which will consist of wide concrete steps that will lead down to the river and allow people to easily get seated in their kayaks and canoes and launch into the river from there.
“This is part of the much larger plan of creating recreational opportunities along the Yellow River, including blue trail access and walking access,” Boyd said.
Because the city will still be disturbing a portion of the existing river buffer, it is planning to do mitigation — the process of improving other natural habitats in exchange for disturbing an existing habitat.
Porterdale is planning to plant some permanent, native plants or trees along the river to improve the buffer and also may remove some non-native, invasive plants from the area.
Boyd said none of the old, larger trees by the river will be disturbed.
He said officials have said the mitigation project could be a good fit for an Eagle Scout project or another volunteer community organization.
“I know officials would love to reach out and get community involvement,” Boyd said.
Plans for the project can be seen at Porterdale City Hall, 2400 Main St., and anyone who wants to comment on the disturbance of the buffer can respond in writing to:
Program Manager, NonPoint Source Program
Erosion & Sedimentation Control Unit
Parkway, Suite 101
Atlanta, GA 30354