Over the past few years, The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources(KDFWR) and the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department have been working together to fund, develop, design, and install a new accessible paddleboat launch at Lake Reba.
According to a press release, this launch was installed as part of a pilot project to provide accessibility to individuals with physical impairments or who utilize a wheelchair, while also expanding services to boaters and anglers on the lake. The project was funded through state and local funding opportunities and was supported by Representative Deanna Frazier.
"I learned about this opportunity as a member of the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation committee." Deanna Frazier, State Representative for Kentucky House District 81, said. Representative Frazier lauded the new accessible boat dock, stating, "I approached the KDFWR (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources) staff to see if there was an opportunity in Madison County. They quickly surveyed our possible locations and felt as though Lake Reba was the most current viable location. This has been an ongoing project since 2019 and of course was affected last year by the coronavirus pandemic. This will be an attraction for not only our citizens to enjoy but will also attract others as this is only the second such kayak launch in the state. This launch will create a much safer and steady entry into the waterway and hopefully will encourage people to enjoy Madison County and all we have to offer."
Individuals who utilize the lake may bring their own kayaks or canoes to Lake Reba to fish or paddle during the day, nights, and weekends during the summer. If the public would like to try kayaking, rentals are available onsite on the weekends, with KY Paddle Adventures (kypaddle.com) or off-site at Mike's Hike & Bike, 309 W. Main Street.
"The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is eager to explore options to accommodate the many people who recreate on the Commonwealth's lakes and streams and reduce congestion on existing boat ramps throughout the state," stated Rich Storm, Commissioner of the KDFW. "Federal dollars from the Sport Fish Restoration Program leveraged by matching funds from the city of Richmond made this project to build a new courtesy dock and accessible paddle craft launch possible at Lake Reba. Canoe and kayak access in urban areas can be limited and this project provides a new access facility. Recreational paddlers and anglers who enjoy fishing from canoes and kayaks will benefit from more efficient and safer facilities through this one-of-a-kind paddle craft launch, and those wishing to launch motorized vessels will see a reduction in traffic at the boat ramp"
This project is only another step towards the Parks Department's overarching mission of creating an atmosphere where everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, feels welcome at any of their parks. It also is an initiative that has drawn a tremendous amount of public praise, with applause ranging from everyday users of Lake Reba to Madison County's local elected officials.
A Grand Opening Celebration will be held on Wednesday May 12th. The public is invited to this Ribbon Cutting at 6:30pm to celebrate the continued push for inclusivity within the Richmond Parks' system. Local and State officials will be present to inaugurate the official opening of the launch and will be available for an opportunity for the public to ask questions and learn more about this latest addition to the Ann L. Durham Lake Reba Recreational Complex. Immediately following the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, The Richmond Outdoors Committee, KY (The ROCK) will be hosting a free workshop- "Introduction to Kayaking" presented by Mike's Hike and Bike. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP with the Richmond Parks Department at 859-623-8753.