Saluda River Rally makes state history with ADA floating launch

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Anderson County dedicated the first public ADA floating kayak launch in the state of South Carolina on Friday as part of the Saluda River Rally in Powdersville. Local residents, Sandy Hanebrink and Ben Otto Sunderman, both of whom are mobility-impaired, had the privilege of making history by being the first to utilize the new launch.

“Although Sandy and Ben have participated in our past Saluda River Rally’s, access to the river has been tough for them,” said County Administrator Rusty Burns. “Providing them with the opportunity to be the first to utilize this new launch is an exciting way for us to christen the first public ADA floating kayak launch in the State and kick off the 3rd Annual Saluda River Rally.”

“Sandy and Ben will make history by transferring independently from their wheelchairs into kayaks on the floating launch facility and make the journey down the Saluda,” Burns said

“This is truly a great day in Anderson County and an excellent way to set the stage for the Saluda River Rally,” said County Councilman Ken Waters, District 6. “Once again, Anderson County has risen to the forefront as a leader in the State, being proactive by providing equal access to recreational opportunities, while simultaneously bolstering our attraction as a recreational destination. This is a win-win situation, not only for residents and visitors who will now have the ability to utilize the Saluda River, but also for the positive economic impact to our local economy.”

“The ADA launch is the heart of Anderson County’s Saluda River Development Plan and will be implemented along various stretches of the river between the Saluda Lake Dam and the Town of Ware Shoals Dam,” said Parks Manager Matt Schell. “This 48-mile access improvement zone, as defined by Anderson County, ties into efforts both above and below to establish miles of paddling opportunities in Upstate South Carolina”

Schell continues, “It is a beautiful thing to offer river access to residents and visitors of Anderson County. This amazing natural resource located right here in our backyard is an asset to be explored and truly opened to the public, regardless of physical limitations. We want to thank the Grady;s Great Outdoors for partnering with Anderson County to make our Saluda River Events such a success – they donated use of kayaks for the monumental event.”

The facility was designed by David Lycke, Place Studios and was purchased locally from Carolina Lift Systems, Shell said. “We want to thank them for working with the County to make sure the launch was in place and ready.

Senior Solutions also joined Anderson County in the endeavor by partnering to promote active living and inclusive recreation opportunities for everyone.

“We were pleased to offer the support of Senior Solutions through the use of our bus fleet to assist in the shuttle service provided during the 2012 Saluda River Rally,” said President and CEO of Senior Solutions, Doug Wright. “This is a great partnership and we look forward to working together with the County. Promoting active living for seniors, families, and disabled residents folds seamlessly into our mission.”