By Stan Welch
Work has begun on a kayak and canoe launch and adjoining land access at the Timmerman Boat Ramp in Pelzer. The project, which is funded by a $90,500 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation Water Resources Fund, will be in full compliance with the American Disabilities Act. The grant is a part of a $10 million commitment by the Duke Foundation to provide a million dollars in grants each year for the next decade for projects designed to access water resources in the Duke Energy customer service areas.
A similar launch facility and access has been established at Dolly Cooper Park, and another is planned for the Piedmont area by the Greenville County Recreation Department, according to Anderson County convention and visitor bureau director Glenn Brill. The various facilities and portages are elements of the proposed forty eight mile ‘blue trail’ from the Saluda River Dam to Ware Shoals.
Once completed, the eight foot wide concrete access and the ADA launch facility will complement the fishing pier now at the location. The adjoining parking lot will also be ADA compliant.
West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders, who designed the facility in his professional capacity, explained that the flat water in the facility’s surrounding area makes this portage an important one. “The nature of the river there lets paddlers go either upstream or downstream, and it allows paddle boarders to enjoy the river as well. Once the Piedmont facility is constructed, it will be very convenient for local river users to enjoy a relatively short day trip and take out here in Pelzer.” That Piedmont project is not yet in the design stage, according to Sanders.
Sanders also remarked that the re-connection of the town of Pelzer to the Saluda in such a way is a resumption of the town’s relationship with the Saluda River. “It is really a great thing to see the town reconnecting with the river that has been so central to its history and its heritage. The Saluda is still one of Pelzer’s greatest resources, and this project simply makes access to that resource even easier.”