New kayak launches will bring accessibility to Tar-Pamlico

Published 5:58 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kayak enthusiasts on the Tar-Pamlico River can look forward to better options and easier accessibility with the installation of two new kayak launches at the Havens Garden and Mason’s Landing boat ramps sometime in 2019.

The new launches will serve as enhancements to the Tar-Pamlico River Water Trail, a series of 11 camping platforms that span the watershed from Franklin County to Blounts Creek. In Beaufort County, there are currently three camping platforms, located at Broad Creek, Blounts Creek and on the southern shore of the Pamlico near Washington. A fourth platform sits just over the Pitt County line on the Tar River.

On Monday, the Washington City Council approved a $19,900 grant from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality needed to fund the construction of the launches. According to Sound Rivers Program Director Matt Butler, these funds from the Water Resources Development Grant will serve as the final piece of a $165,000 puzzle.

HAVENS GARDEN: A popular spot for boaters in Washington, the boat launch at Havens Garden will be enhanced by a new kayak launch to be installed by Sound Rivers. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

“We’ve secured funding through the Recreational Trails Program Grant to build three more camping platforms, which will make 14, hopefully, by the end of the year,” Butler said. “We secured additional funding to buy and install three ADA-accessible kayak launches on the Tar-Pamlico Water Trail as well, and that is where this grant comes in.”

While the new launches will provide opportunities for kayak enthusiasts of all ages, they will likewise increase the accessibility of the river for all. Designed to be compliant with the Americans With Disability Act, the launches will allow people with disabilities or mobility issues to enjoy a paddle on the Pamlico.

“There are fairly good access points on the Tar-Pamlico River, especially in the lower reaches as you get towards Washington,” Butler said. “But there are no current accesses for people who may have disabilities.”

In addition to the two launches to be constructed in Beaufort County, a third will be added to the Port Terminal access ramp in Greenville. Together with the new platforms in the works, Butler says his organization hopes to inspire more people with a love for the river.

“The idea behind the Water Trail is to promote better environmental stewardship,” Butler said. “We hope it will promote more usage of the river, bring people to the Tar-Pamlico region and help us produce more people who care about the river and who want to protect it.”

To learn more about the Tar-Pamlico River Water Trail, visit