The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced Tuesday that two coastal boat launches for paddlecraft users (canoes and kayaks) have been opened to the public by private landowners—one on Route 1A in Stonington and the other near 570 Riverside Avenue in Westport, both as a direct result of public access requirements of the Connecticut Coastal Management Act.
DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said, “Both Stonington and Westport provide a perfect destination for a day of kayaking or canoeing on the Sound. It is not often that coastal waterways are available on private land so I encourage you to take advantage of these uncommon sites and enjoy a day paddling with family and friends. As always, take account of tide and weather conditions when planning your excursion.”
Saltwater Farm Vineyard Boat Launch in Stonington
The site in Stonington is related to the conversion of a private airport off Route 1A into a vineyard and wedding reception venue. The vineyard is located on 100+-acres of waterfront property.
The boat launch is located at 349 Elm Street (Route 1A) in Stonington and is open from dawn to dusk. The facility allows canoeists and kayakers to easily access a pristine saltwater marsh through Oxacossett Brook which leads to Wequetequock Cove about a half mile away.
The parking area, which accommodates five vehicles, is immediately to the left as you enter the private road. Carry out all that you carry in—no trash barrels are provided. Keeping the area clean is a goal all stakeholders have on this destination property. From the parking area, a short walk along a stone dust path leads to the launch itself. The boulders near the parking area cordon off a wetland area so be sure to stay on the path to avoid trampling the vegetation. The pathway is relatively flat so you can carry in your canoe or kayak or wheel it in if you are so inclined.
Saugatuck Center Canoe & Kayak Launch in Westport
The canoe and kayak launch site on the Saugatuck River in scenic Westport is the result of a commercial development on Riverside Avenue with waterfront access. Paddlers may bring their own kayaks/canoes to access the tidally influenced Saugatuck River or for a small fee the public can rent on site. Additionally, a public access walkway meanders on the site with beautiful water views of the Saugatuck River.
There is both on-street and off-street parking available at 570 Riverside Avenue, located just north of the I-95 overpass. Kayak and paddle board rentals are available seasonally. For information about rentals visit: http://www.downunderkayaking.com/westport.
Information on New Coastal Access Facilities
More information on these new coastal access facilities and nearly 300 other sites that provide public access to Connecticut’s coastal waters can be explored on the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide at http://www.lisrc.uconn.edu/coastalaccess/