Grant for a kayak & canoe launch in Wilkes-Barre

i Oct 9th 2020

By Chelsea Strub, WNEP-16

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — More and more we are seeing people take advantage of parks and outdoor recreation.

Now, another opportunity to do so is in the works for the city of Wilkes-Barre

“Luzerne County is pleased to announce that we got a $250,000 grant from our friends at DCNR for a kayak launch right here in the city of Wilkes Barre,” said Luzerne County Manager, David Pedri.

Right now there is a boat launch on the other side of the river at Nesbitt Park, but John Maday, the Executive Director of the Riverfront Parks Committee says access to the Susquehanna River is in high demand.

“Oh, it’s extremely busy and I have been noticing throughout this pandemic more and more vehicles with kayaks and there’s quite a bit of activity on this side of the river. So now we have two sides of the river that will accommodate kayaks and canoes. You can’t get any better than that for the, for the enthusiast,” said Maday.

Officials in Luzerne County tell Newswatch 16, they hope this project doesn’t only allow people to come to the city and enjoy the river, but they hope it helps businesses downtown.

“You have your kayak down here, enjoy the outdoors, you would then put your kayak on a rack that we’re going to be providing, lock it up, and then you can go right into the city of Wilkes Barre, you could enjoy a bite to eat, you can go shopping. It’s an all-inclusive experience now,” said Pedri.

Maday says even though there was a boost in outdoor activities because of the pandemic, he thinks the interest will remain once the virus fades away.

“So, we, we know how important that is. And the Outfitters we work with they’ve been extremely busy this year. So those people are not going away. Once they’d have a taste of it coming down that river, it’s extremely unique.”

The county hopes to apply for one more grant to help with the costs and begin construction on the launch next year.