May 8, 2021
BATAVIA — It seemed like a lifetime ago that Tom Turnbull, as president of the Batavia Rotary Club, and Jocelyn Sikorski, formerly executive director of the Genesee-Orleans and City of Batavia youth bureaus, first got together to discuss a kayak launch at DeWitt Recreation Area.
The launch is now in place for those who want to bring their own kayaks, youth programs who want to reserve kayaks or when the county Park and Forest has programs. A kayak launch is in place, the result of a collaboration between the county, the city and the Rotary Club.
Deputy Highway Superintendent, Facilities, Parks Recreation and Forestry Paul Osborn said it’s a great location for a kayak launch. “The launch itself is open to the public for anybody to use. They can drop their kayak in and then us it normally. It’s a lot safer than dropping it off the edge and scooching yourself in. Sometimes you have to step in the water and get in. This is a great addition to our floating platform here as it is,” he said.
All a person has to do is slide a kayak into the middle of the launch, between two decks, and then hold onto the handle in the middle and sit down in the kayak.
“We came in with the Rotary Club and we put it together last Friday (April 30) and secured it and just wanted to make sure it was all good and ready to go,” he said following Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We just opened up the parks, our normal summer hours, on Monday. People can just drop them in from here on out until October.”
There are 10 kayaks dedicated for youth programs and county park programs, but not for the public. Members of the public may bring their own and launch it there.
“The youth recreation programs throughout the county — not only the city, but also the towns and the villages have theirs — they just have to call Shannon Lyaski at our Nature Center and reserve them and we’ll do a program with them and help them learn how to use the kayaks.”
“When we do our public programs, we allow people to bring their own. We can have up to 20 people in a program,” he said. “I think this is a great collaboration, as we’ve done even with the Ellicott Trail with the city of Batavia, Rotary Club and the county Youth Board.”
To sign up for activities, people should call Interpretive Nature Center Conservation Education Program Coordinator Shannon Lyaski at (585) 344-1122.