BoatU.S. honors access award winners

NOFOLK, Va. – Seven organizations were recognized by BoatU.S. here this week with the first-ever Recreational Boating Access Awards.

Created to honor a group, government body, business, individual or non-profit organization that has succeeded in preserving or improving public waterway access for boaters, the awards evaluated how well access challenges were overcome; the direct impact of the solution; and how adaptable the approach would be in other areas facing similar water access challenges.

“These Access Award winners show us that with creative thinking and concerted action we can gain better access to the water,” said BoatU.S. Founder and Chairman Richard Schwartz in presenting the awards.

The seven BoatU.S. Recreational Boating Access Award winners are:

  • Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, VA, for creation of the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority in response to legislation passed by the General Assembly. The Commission provides a model institutional framework for local governments to address public water access on a regional basis.
  • Shoreline Property Owners and Contractors Association, WA, for their creation of an advocacy organization to preserve and promote recreational boating access by advocating common-sense, science-based permitting and regulation for boating facilities siting, development, construction and maintenance. It is an excellent model for grassroots organizing that joins boater/citizen stakeholders with the affected marine business community in a pro-active, multi-pronged campaign aimed at regulatory and legislative reform.
  • Carryover of the Carolinas, NC, for the development of a unique technological solution — a boat lift that provides waterway access between biologically separate and environmentally sensitive water bodies while eliminating or minimizing environmental impacts. The technology essentially allows boaters to use man-made canals that formerly could not be accessed from any other waterway.
  • Scituate Marine Park, MA, for the successful public acquisition of at-risk waterfront land and the subsequent development and operation of public facilities for boating access as well as for related recreational, cultural and historic uses of benefit to the larger community. This was a textbook case on how to build grassroots momentum for improving boating access, and is a model for local governments faced with imminent loss of waterfront to develop a community supported, user fee-based boating facility.
  • Port of Bellingham, WA, for an industrial waterfront revitalization project that places recreational boating access/facilities development at its core. It is a model process on how to get the public engaged with recreational boaters and the boating industry in a planning and development partnership with local government. It is expected to meet current and future demand for recreational boating facilities while preserving the city’s working waterfront.
  • City of Trenton, MI, for successfully restoring to environmental health the “Black Lagoon,” and thereby transforming a contaminated industrial site into a much-needed marina that will serve transient boaters on the Detroit River. This provides an excellent and successful model that capitalized on a “brownfields” industrial site for recreational boating access facilities by engaging a wide variety of partners, enlisting broad community support and leveraging multiple funding sources.
  • North Carolina General Assembly, for its initiative in creating the state Waterfront Access Study Committee in 2006, the subsequent comprehensive review and the resulting recommendations to protect and promote North Carolina’s working waterfronts. This is an excellent example of a legislative response to a growing challenge faced by one constituent group that other state legislatures could adopt.
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