A2R Webinar Series Transcript: Boating & Fishing

NATIONAL CENTER ON ACCESSIBILITY
ACCESS TO RECREATION WEBINAR SERIES: Boating & Fishing
 
THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2009
2:00 ‑ 3:30 p.m. Eastern
 
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This is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
 
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JENNIFER SKULSKI
Hello and welcome to the Access to Recreation webinar series hosted by the National Center on Accessibility. We're excited to have you with us today for the next 90 minutes as we talk about some innovative projects and beneficiaries of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Access to Recreation initiative. It is a three‑part series and is brought to you this summer by the Michigan recreation and park association foundation. I'm Jennifer Skulski, and I will serve as your facilitator for this session. Joining me are: Sally Prunty, director of planning for the Champaign County Forest Preserves district. Hi, Sally.
 
SALLY PRUNTY
 Hi.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Along with Sally is Brian, I'm not going to say it right. You'll have to correct me again. DeMuynck. He is a landscape architect from RATIO in Champaign, Illinois. And Mark Brochu, the Director of St. Clair County Parks and Recreation in Michigan.
 
MARK BROCHU
Hello, good afternoon, everyone.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
And Dan Lord, Development Planner for the Michigan DNR. Hi, Dan. Thanks for joining us, everybody.
 
Also here to provide some technical support for all of you are Jacob Gube, Serdar Abaci, and Lauren Sandmann. If you have any questions on the webinar function, you can send any of them a private message through the chat function here in Adobe connect or you can call Lauren at the National Center on Accessibility.
 
This session is being realtime captioned by Voice to Print Captioning. Whether you are deaf, hard‑of‑hearing, think I talk too fast or need to mute your audio to take a phone call, in addition to the audio, you can also follow along with the captioning simply by opening another window in your Internet browser and pasting the URL for the captioning. And that URL is in the note pod below.
 
If you have never used Internet captioning before, this is also a good opportunity to see it in action in order to plan for your next event.
 
Following today's session, you will receive an email request to complete an evaluation of the session. We ask you to take a couple minutes to complete the evaluation as your feedback is very important to us, and we like to hear from you on how we might improve this and other opportunities for learning and sharing information.
 
The format for today's session will give time for each of our panelists to tell a little bit about their project, the concepts, the planning process, input from different disability groups, design decisions and outcomes.
 
Following each speaker, we will have two to three questions for that speaker, then toward the end of the session we will open it up for more Q&A. You can submit questions through the chat pod here in Adobe connect or you can send an email to NCA@indiana.EDU. First let me tell you a little bit about the Access to Recreation initiative. 
 
The Kellogg Foundation has provided more than $15 million in funding to more than 40 projects in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Projects were selected based on their concepts for embracing Universal Design, opportunity to facilitate inclusion of people of all abilities, and opportunity to serve as an exemplar of Universal Design to community planners, recreation practitioners, and advocates. The initiative mission is to be a catalyst for change, enabling communities to create greater access and inclusiveness in recreation facilities, programs and services for people of all ages and all abilities.
 
As such proposals were only accepted from community foundations that had formed partnerships with park and recreation agencies, funding required a 50/50 match, community convening to provide outreach promoting the benefits of Universal Design, and a stipulation that an endowment be established to support ongoing maintenance of the facility once construction was completed. Projects include playgrounds and spray parks, scenic trails for walking and biking, kayak and canoe launches and much more. Our session last month was on playground access. And you can go onto the NCA website if you have interest if you missed the session, you can see the archive there. You can both read the transcript and see the speakers' presentations or view the webinar in its entirety.
 
So, over the last year, the National Center on Accessibility has provided technical consultation to some of their project teams. For those of you that are not familiar with NCA, we're located at Indiana University and provide training and technical assistance and conduct research on the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks, recreation and tourism. And, again, as I said last month, this has just been a fantastic opportunity to work with these different projects. And as I was pulling all the speakers' notes together here for your PowerPoint presentation today, I was so excited to see all the projects and am especially excited to have our speakers here to join and share with you. So with that, we're going to turn our discussion over to our speakers. And we're going to talk about their different projects that are all centered around water access. And for that we're going to first go to Illinois. Our first project is actually a couple different projects in the Champaign‑Urbana area of central Illinois. And to tell us more about those projects is Sally Prunty and Brian DeMuynck.  Sally, and Brian I'll let you guys tag team there.
 
SALLY PRUNTY
Okay. Our fishing pier is on sunset lake at the river bend forest preserve in Muhamat, Illinois. Obviously the intention of this project was to provide an accessible opportunity for people to get out on the water. One of the ideas that we had in mind when we did this project was to develop a water trail in the sense that it would be more than just a fishing pier. It would actually â€‘‑ that people would be able to walk out on it and be more involved with the water. And our goal is to provide fishing opportunities for everyone.
 
We intend to use this pier for interpretive classes through our environmental education department. And we expect it to be a regional destination for accessible fishing.
 
With the community foundation of east central Illinois, we coordinated with various Champaign County agencies, such as people assuming control of their environment or pace the developmental services center, DSC, the swan special care center, the Champaign‑Urbana special recreation association and others.
 
The fishing pier will be located at our boat ramp area at river bend forest preserve.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Sally, are you okay to advance?
 
SALLY PRUNTY
Yeah. Actually, do I need to advance the slides?
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
 You can go ahead and advance it. There you go.
 
 
SALLY PRUNTY
So this is an ariel view of the boat ramp access. And you can see on the lower part of the photo the black line image of where the fishing pier's supposed to be. It's not in yet. And obviously even if it was, we wouldn't have an aerial. But this is the accessible route to get to it from the parking lot.
 
This is a sketch drawing of the finished product, a rendering of it. As you can see, it has three main platforms. Each of the two end platforms are about 20 feet by 20 feet. And it has five accessible fishing stations with benches. And by stations, I just mean that there are areas with benches. There are five bench areas on it. All areas of the pier are accessible.
 
As you can see, there are gaps in the railing so that people sitting in wheelchairs holding their fishing poles have the opportunity to rest their pole, or they can bring their pole up to cast and then they can lay it down in between the railing rather than just only being able to lay it on the railing.
 
One of the two platforms is shaded for relief from summer heat for the elderly and other visitors. And we also expect to have a picnic table on that shaded platform. And we also have special holders for fishing poles attached to the accessible railings. And I put this slide back in just to show that it is actually â€‘‑ that we have the accessible sidewalks are in. And all we need to do at this point is put in the fishing pier.
 
This fishing pier was a prefabricated structure custom built, built at the warehouse by flotation systems Inc. It's aluminum. It's also a very solidly built structure. And we did a lot of research on this. We actually went out for a site visit and saw one of these examples that you see in the photo here. And we just kind of fell in love with the product.
 
Superior Seawalls & Docks is the company in Illinois that does the installation for the pier. And there's Doug Harper and his dog and one of the benches that will be on the dock on the pier.
 
And this shows the pier under construction. And you can see in the foreground the aluminum decking members. And this is one of the walkways. This is the angled walkway.
 
And this shows the solidity of the structure. It's a very, very solidly built structure and very stable, which is one of the main things that we were looking for was for a pier that would not have a lot of movement. And this one, indeed, is extremely stable.
 
Again you see how well‑built it is. It's got a lot of support members in there. Wench‑controlled cables allow it to be raised or lowered depending upon water levels. 
 
This is a completely floating pier. It is not attached to the land other than to stabilize the gangway. So it's not on pylons or anything like that. It's got â€‘‑ underneath it has foam floats that hold it up and stabilize it. And we do have some fluctuation in water level with our lake here, which is an abandoned gravel pit. And therefore we needed something that would be able to go up and down with water levels, plus one of the main reasons we got a floating dock rather than an anchored pylon anchored one is that our gravel pit goes from zero depth to 50‑foot depth fairly quickly. So we didn't really have any soil in the lake to anchor. The pylons would have had to have been too deep.
 
This is just putting the dock in the water.
 
And we had an interesting thing happen during the process of this project. Our abandoned gravel mine, which had been at relatively stable water levels for about 12 or 15 years, suddenly decided to start filling up. In part because of the heavy rains but also in part because of mining activities in an adjacent gravel mine. And they were actually putting water into our lake. So it started to fill up kind of like a bathtub. And there you see what happened to some of our existing structures. So we had to dig a drain and drain the lake. And that's what you see there. And this is a photo of the almost completed pier. We still have to put the roof on it. But it's pretty much ready to go. It's not attached yet. We're still waiting for the water to go down in the lake. It's almost down. But we're almost there but not quite. But we're pretty excited about it. And we're looking forward to the finished product. And there's some closeup photos here. Just to kind of give you a feel for what it's like.
 
I think you can see why we fell in love with it. It's a nice structure. And that's it. And I'll turn it over to Brian.
 
 
BRIAN DeMUYNCK
Thanks, Sally. My name is Brian DeMuynck, I'm a landscape architect in Champaign, Illinois. The grant with the community foundation called for three projection and Sally's in the forest preserve was one of them. And then the Urbana Park District and the Champaign park district had the other two. This first one is for the Urbana Park District. And this is an image of the existing site before anything was done. You can see it is a lake. It doesn't look very wide. It's kind of a long, skinny lake. But that's it. And in the background, there is an existing pier. There's another picture of it, but it's pretty small. And then further to the left, you can see where there's parking right next to where this is. Lots of good shade and pretty good location.
 
That's the existing pier there. We never checked it out to see how many â€‘‑ if it would work as far as accessibility went or not. We just kind of moved on from that and on to a new one.
 
The depths of the water aren't as deep here as they are at river bend. I think they're probably in the 10 to 15‑foot range. So working with the structural engineer, we came up with a concrete pile system. And that's what these are. I think they're about 25 feet long. Maybe a little bit longer. And they just get out there and they pound them in until you get to the â€‘‑ I think it was 5,000 pound bearing weights or something along those lines. This is actually going to skip ahead.
 
This is how the piles go in. They use the steel kind of braces to help them get in the right spot. One thing we learned, you can even see it in this, is that concrete piles don't drive true. They can get them in the right spot, but it may not be plumb. So we had to kind of come up with some ways later on to deal with that problem. So that's how they get put in. This one back here is what they looked like once they're all in the water.
 
Because of the water â€‘‑ that was one big issue that I wasn’t sure how the contractors were going to deal with it. This group decided to build all of the framing in the parking lot. And then they craned it out onto the piles. So you can see where they're â€‘‑ let me see if I can get this cursor â€‘‑ they've got that boxed out down there. That's to slip on top of the piles.
 
So after it was craned out, I chose to not be anywhere near it that day when they're craning that out just in case it didn't go well. I didn't want to see that happen. But it went fine. They craned it out. And once it gets out there, the decking goes on and the railings.
 
This is the completed project. So we're standing in the parking lot looking down the gangway. We had to put in a few drains to make sure we didn't get any erosion issues. But the gangway, one of the issues we dealt with is the park district wanted to get this as low to the water as they could, but they didn't want a long gangway or ramp down to it. So we had to do it as steep as we could. So we went in 1 to 20. I don't remember exactly what the run is there, but as much as we could do. I'm sorry. 1 to 12. So as fast as we could get it.  And then down to the level back. And that's what you're looking at here.
 
There were a few things that like Sally. We participated in Sally's â€‘‑ I did, so we had the same stakeholder groups and a lot of the same information. So this is the same kind of slits here. One thing we ran into was â€‘‑ and maybe others have a better answer to this, but kind of a lack of guidelines. The city didn't really feel like they needed to review this to see if it met code since it didn't fall under any other guidelines.  So we kind of did a combination of the building code and the accessibility code to make sure we met everything along the line.
 
One thing I found is technically â€‘‑ again, somebody might correct me, but I don't think you actually need a railing around these. But all of us chose to have one just for liability reasons. But this is the same slit that Sally showed on hers. A lot of things that I learned on this project, they just kind of make sense. And this is one of them. Whether you're disabled or you're a little kid or whatever the case may be, this type of thing, it helps you to get your pole all the way down toward the ground or the water instead of having to hold it up over the railing. It can make for an easier time of it. So we put a few of these throughout the pier so there's some going off the front, off the sides. We didn't do any off the back. But more or less you can get to all parts of the lake this way.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Brian, do you know what the width of those openings?
 
BRIAN DeMUYNCK
We went with 9 inches on this. And I think we saw that on a few other examples of these. There was some concern about â€‘‑ let me get that cursor again. This piece right in here, about people being able to walk through it and fall in. I think to some degree there's probably some assumed risk any time you're out on something like this. But the park district was comfortable with that being there. And then if you start putting something on to block that off, you kind of defeat the purpose of having the slit there.
 
In this scenario, we also went with the â€‘‑ I think that's 11 inches from the top of the deck to the bottom of that cross piece. The decking, then, extends out a foot past the inside. That way anybody in a chair can pull up and their feet can kind of snug up underneath that and you're able to use the rail better than you would otherwise.
 
Another little detail that this one has is a fishing rod holder notch. It's not quite the same setup as on the other ones. This one uses, you can rest your rod on the armrest. The back of your rod can go through this notch and hold it in place.
 
Benches are something that we spent quite a bit of time on. From a design‑wise standpoint, there's not a ton of details to do for a project like this to make it accessible for everybody. But benches were one of those where we did need to pay a lot of attention to. So we were careful to get the armrests and the heights and the back rests correct. And then also provide space on either side of all of them for anybody who's in a chair or whatever the case may be where they can pull up and then sit next to somebody who's in the bench. Which, you know, that's another one that I've learned on the past projects, that it's a pretty easy thing to accomplish. And I think from here on out, I just mix it into all of my designs.
 
This is a little bit just a different angle. You can start to see how this pier is set up a little bit better. There's one of the slits there in the corner. We did the table, the fishing rod table. That was something we learned about or tackle table. Something we learned about from the stakeholder group. It's a little bit closer image of one of those. At the meeting, we actually had, I can't remember, there were a couple of people that were in wheelchairs. And we just started setting things up and said okay, what's a good height for you for you to utilize a table? And I think we fully understood it's going to be a different answer for everybody. But this is a good way, we thought, to start to tackle that problem.
 
On the design details, they went with the steel cable rail. And that was to open up the view. It's more costly than if we'd used wood, but it allows anybody sitting down, whether you're below the top of the rail or above, you're able to see out with a fairly unencumbered view. And it's a nice little touch to it. This is what the end of it looks like on the end.
 
Someone was asking what's the height of the table was. I think we ended up with 19 inches. And I've actually sat on it. It worked out pretty well for me, at least. This is just a little bit wider view of what the finished product was.
 
This is Kauffman Lake. Like I said, there were three projects for the grant. And this is the second one. This pier project actually kind of spawned a few other projects because the park district decided they needed to do a master plan to decide where the pier goes. So this is something that we helped them out with. And it's going to go up in here where kind of where that boat house is right now. We aren't as far along, but this is a rendering that was created for it. So it's a lot of the same concepts as we just went over with Crystal Lake pier with the slits and the low rails and the table, the tackle box tables and the chairs. This one has another â€‘‑ as part of that master plan, they decided they wanted to be able to pick up and drop people off nearby and make sure there was accessible parking nearby. So that one pier project has driven the park district to look at other ways, other projects. And then how did those places become universally accessible, also. So it started as one smaller thing and it's grown into â€‘‑ could be a fairly major project for them. And that is my final slide.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
We have lots of questions coming in here for both of you. The first one is could you both talk a little bit about cost, what the cost to each project was.
 
BRIAN DeMUYNCK
Yeah. Mine, ours came in right about $160,000. We had trouble actually getting bidders on it. We had to bid it twice. Never did find out the reason why we burned up the phones calling general contractors, carpenters, deck builders, anybody we could think of for the second one to make sure we had a turnout. And even then we had a pretty low turnout. But the price is about $160,000.
 
SALLY PRUNTY
Yeah, ours was about $180,000. And I'm seeing a few questions here that I'll just go ahead and answer real quick. Somebody asked what our cables are attached to. We have 2,000‑pound 2‑ton weights attached. They're just dropped onto the lake bottom and the cables are attached to that. So it's held in place by weights. And the shade structure, we took that into account in construction of the fishing pier. There's a load limit. And we just made sure that we didn't have a problem with the load limit. And the roof that's on it actually has I don't want to say copula, but it has a gap in the top to help with wind load. We will not be removing the structures during the winter. They'll be in place year round. I'd have to check back on the material cost. I know the cost of the whole project is $180,000. And part of that is labor. And, no, we did not assemble that ourselves.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Great, thanks both of you. They're awesome projects. It makes me think of a couple anglers we could take over to Champaign and kind of drop off there today.
 
We're going to move over across Indiana and up into Michigan for our next project. We're actually going to go up to St. Clair County. And from boating or from fishing to boating, we're going to talk with Mark Brochu and talk to him about one of the most innovative projects I have seriously seen to date in terms of a person being able to board and launch their canoe or kayak. So from there, Mark, we'll turn it over to you.
 
MARK BROCHU
Well thank you, Jennifer. I have to say right from the onset that Midland County Michigan also received an access grant. By happenstance, both of us share the same landscape architect. So we both approached our project with the same landscape architect, Pamela Blau. So though I am reporting from St. Clair County, this is very much a cooperative project between the two counties.
 
In our master plan several years back we talked about establishing river trails. So when the Access to Recreation grant program came along, we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to deal with the single biggest issue with river trails other than providing public access points property‑wise is how do you get people from the parking lot into the water. And as part of our research, we found that the common concern of all canoers and kayakers, and I'll just generically call them paddlers, paddlers of all sorts indicated the biggest single obstacle was getting out â€‘‑ getting in and out of the water without getting wet and muddy. And so though we're shooting for 100 percent accessibility for all. We heard from the most able‑bodied people that accessibility was an issue for them.
 
So here's our previous conditions that we have to deal with. Dock fixed docks. For our river trails, we were looking at our inland rivers. And of course those have variable water levels to deal with. And if you do the traditional fixed dock, depending upon the water level on any given year, you may have an easy way to get into your vessel or a big challenge.
 
And then of course if you don't have any kind of a structure, you're wading out into the water and mucky tennis shoes are the norm, from talking to a lot of folks.
 
But we wanted to develop a canoe and kayak launcher that would expand it to more persons, and especially those that accesses are limited by crude or nonexistent facilities.
 
Limiting factors that we identified for people who use wheelchairs have hip and knee replacements, back injuries, or limited ability is one of the limiting factors is: How do they get their canoe or kayak from their vehicle to the launch site? And the good news that we didn't choose to tackle is there appeared to be a lot of products on the market, like this one. It's a little sulky that attaches to the vessel. And then the owner can just pull the one end of the vessel and the other end is on rowers. So we felt that that issue was being addressed by private enterprise. So we didn't need to deal with that.
 
But the other, the path down to the walkway and being able to get from that parking lot with yourself and your vessel was a problem. In a discussion, our ultimate goal would be to allow an individual like this gentleman in a wheelchair to do it all by himself.
 
But knew in the real world to try to get something started, we would correctly or incorrectly make an assumption from folks with impairments that they would come with an able‑bodied person. That way we would solve most of the challenges and not being hindered by trying to do 100 percent accessibility by a lone paddler.
 
We also assumed that a paddler would have some upper body movement. But in many cases, they would have full use of one side of their body but not the other. And in talking to therapists that there are adaptive devices so that an individual with one strong side could paddle their vessel.
 
The goal is also to allow whatever device launch we created to make that as universally accessible to all kinds of canoes and kayaks already available on the market. We did not want to end up with a launch that worked well with Brand X and was bad for everything else. So we went for something that would be usable with the broadest ranges of kayaks and canoes.  
 
The other assumption we wanted to do is have a launch that did not depend on electricity. Did not have cables, pulleys and was intuitive for â€‘‑ that somebody could walk up and generally understand how this thing worked without special training or supervision. Because we are proposing for public park settings, we did not want to have solar panels, electrical connections, motors, cables because generally, in my professional experience, either those become dangerous or they end up in some young man's garage for the next science project. We've had solar panels for water monitoring stations that disappear within two weeks of installation. So we wanted whatever our solution was to be as bulletproof and simple as possible.
 
The full package that we want to achieve is from the parking lot to the launch. And a lot of people, you see the canoes kayaks on top of vehicles, but to make it easier, we wanted to make sure our parking lots provided for lightweight trailers that people may choose to be an easier option for getting their vessel to the parking lot and easier for them to unload and load from their trailer rather than a roof top carrier.
 
One of the sites in the case of Midland County, they identified was Manitou County Park. And again the typical, more rural access point. You're not going to have armored shore line. You're going to have variable water levels.
 
And then the second site that Midland County had was a privately owned but publicly available Chippewa Nature Center, which is an absolutely fabulous facility.
 
The preliminary drawings, they're not the best here, but show a loop parking lot.
 
Let me see if I can do the cursor thing.
 
The parking lot and then an access route down to the river. And all the facilities. So these are sites proposed by Midland County.
 
So, for a preliminary design, we sent our landscape architect on the quest for our first choice was to have a product that is already on the market or a product that could be adapted.
 
So in the course of her research, she came across what she thought was the best product for our vision. And that was a product produced by Easy Dock, which produces plastic molded floating dock systems that have been on the market for many, many years. And at the top photo on your left is a product that's called Easy Port, which was designed for jet skis to motor up and off the water. And said well, maybe that could be adapted.
 
But the system itself floats. And one of the other criteria we had is as any state has, we have the department of environmental quality regulates shorelines. And we did not want to get into a product that we had permitting issues with right off the top. So we contacted our DEQ field staff and asked: What can we do that wouldn't require permitting from your agency? And their answer was two criteria. One, it had to be a floating unit. And, two, it had to be removed in the winter.
 
Now, in both Midland County and our circumstance with doing inland rivers, we were, due to ice flow in the winter and storm surges, we thought that the floating dock would be best taken out in the winter, anyway. So that was our challenge, was go with a floating dock unit that could be taken out in the winter.
 
So on the right you see the design. And if I can do the cursor thing again has a gangway here. There would be a bulk head of some kind and then a gangway up here. And then open onto a pretty expansive series of four modular flotation units. And then here is the key to the whole unit is what I call the launch trough, which is basically two of these jet ski ports without the bow notches put back‑to‑back so that you can enter or exit the launch trough from either side. And this would be a totally floating unit. And there would be plenty of room for a user to come on with their kayak or canoe and wheelchair to have plenty of room here to maneuver their vessel.
 
And here, this is a concept drawing done by a very talented landscape architect under contract from Midland County. And just briefly, Midland County's project is 100 percent dependent on philanthropic funding. Whereas in St. Clair County, we are very blessed to have a property tax millage that is the funding source for our capital project.
 
So for Midland County, they need to have that strong visual to take to the philanthropic community to show the vision. The gentleman did an outstanding job.
 
Again here is the launch trough where it shows a person exiting the trough.
 
The sites that we both have during the majority of the year are slack water. There is a barely discernible current. But you could enter or exit from either way. Obviously the gangway, the abutment and the access point are fully accessible, expansive, wide for both maintenance and accessibility. Walkway in, if they have a restroom there that would be involved or otherwise would be universally accessible. And then universally accessible picnicking sites along the way. And then the full parking lot that would accommodate both vehicles with and without trailers.
 
And, again, this shows another site with Midland County on how, again, they have the access driveway in, the circular parking lot for vehicles with trailers, and then a route down to the waterway and additional picnicking areas with a view to the river.
 
Again, a different version of the same scenario from a different angle.
 
One of the key â€‘‑ two of the key adaptations other than using the jet ski launches in a previously unplanned way, is how do kayakers and canoeists, peddlers, get on and off. And the solution that was designed by the landscape architect and one of the easy dock people was to extend these railings out over the waterway. So you take the tinker toy units of the Easy Dock system, assemble them. Add water to the flotations. We wanted it lowered, say, about 6 inches from what is the normal height. And you do that simply by adding water to the flotation units. And then these handrails make it extremely easy to pull yourself on or launch yourself off of the launch trough.
 
Again, there's another heir gel or overhead schematic â€‘‑ heir gel.
 
The idea was to present plenty of space here. There's a curve around the dock and plenty of maneuver room for boaters to get their boat onto the launch and then be able to sit in it. For lack of a better word, I call it the launch trough.
 
And this is strictly the two launch troughs or the jet ski things mounted back‑to‑back with a custom railing. So this is a modular system that we installed last fall. And the first unit they assembled was at the launch trough. And then they, as a tinker toy, and I say that in only the best of reasoning is really a neat system where they add the pieces and parts. The little black things that they join the sectioning to actually look like and they call them dog bones. They are mounted on both the tops and bottoms of each flotation unit and bolt them together to hold the individual pieces together.
 
And, again, each flotation unit had a port added to it that they could add water to lower it down 6 inches.
 
The main flotation units completely filled with water will float 300 pounds. So by even adding water to the unit, we still had plenty of load capacity. And again here is the pieces and parts. The gentleman right here is putting in a post on that the auger below at the bottom. You put it through the couplers. And then they crank it down. And the auger digs down into the bed of waters and anchors it in. Then the unit slides up with this coupler slides up and down on the post as the water goes up and down.
 
The individual post is then covered with a PCV cover. And then you can see over here, the workmen are adding the curb to prevent folks from rolling off or walking off the flotation unit.
 
And there is circa last fall, the unit. And what we decided we wanted to do was to get the basic unit in the water. It all looked great on paper. Let's get a unit in the water and see if it works for anybody.
 
So obviously by the ramp, it's not accessible at all and there's no adaptive devices on there. But if the basic unit idea didn't work, we were going to have to go back to the drawing board. So we pushed to get just a prototype in the water. And again here is a view of the trough. The units are hooking to here in the middle. And then from here on out, it's an individual, floats separately. You can see the dog bones here. But the rest of the unit as you go either way is not hooked to the floating dock. So when you come up with your boat and put your bow on this unit, it flexes down, so it makes it even easier to pull yourself on or exit off. And the feedback has been by everybody that we've talked to that used it is â€‘‑ hey, it was pretty easy and simple to use, which was one of our criteria, and it took a lot less effort than I thought it would, which  were great goals. Because these were able‑bodied people using two arms. And the goal was to have it easy enough with somebody that had full use of only one side of their body to use the launch.
 
So here's a gentleman that begged to be the first one to use it. He came down with his custom wooden kayak. It was like oh my goodness. I hope this works. It is a very long. It is a big kayak. And we just said, Jerry, figure it out. He came in, put it in, sat down and pulled himself out without any instruction.
 
The launch trough itself has a challenge, let me see if I can get back to it. Is this. We hoped, we knew it wouldn't perfectly match the profile of every canoer or kayaker, but we wanted to be as stable as possible. With Jerry's kayak here, he had a very pronounced keel. So his kayak was tilted a little bit. Didn't cause a problem but didn't have it sit as straight up and down that we had hoped on any launches.
 
And then pulling back every time, when I see somebody pull themselves back on, there's a big smile on their face because the common answer is or quote is it's easier than I thought it would be.
 
So this kind of validate our base design is: Will it work for a canoer or kayak? And the answer for able‑bodied users was yes. And we actually had a couple come down. The husband had bought a kayak for the wife. She launched it and retrieved it. And her husband who had had some joint replacement surgeries thought he was not capable. He said let me try. So he gets in the kayak. Launches. Retrieves. And he is just delighted. And he ends up, as soon as they left, they went and bought him his own kayak. And that's a group of people that have back injuries, slight injuries or hip replacement or mobility issues less than being in a wheelchair are also a big audience for our product.
 
But let me â€‘‑ the next step, I'll click back here, is we are now working with Easy Dock. And now they sell this product, you can go on their website and it's now marketed as Easy Launch. The Easy Port was their jet ski product.  And now they're marketing the Easy Launch.
 
We worked with them last March and got a group of advocates and accessibility folks to meet with an engineer from Easy Dock. And the Easy Dock franchise holder for Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, I believe. And met with them in Saganaw and gave them direct access to an engineer from Easy Dock. And they talked about: If this system works, what do I need as a wheelchair person? And the answer was two things: A wheelchair transfer device, three‑step or otherwise and a grab bar that would go over the launch trough that would allow both them and the able‑bodied to have a fully â€‘‑ a grab bar that they would access. The challenge is going to be to have that grab bar height either universally useful or being adjustable. Easy dock plans on delivering their first attempt at those two accommodations within the next couple weeks. And I understand they produced three. One to go to us. One to go to San Francisco Bay, I think it's the National Center for Accessibility for that area. Got very involved in the discussion. And we're going to test the prototypes. And then Easy Dock will refine the design. So that is the second phase of what we have been successful in having a device that lets a canoer, kayak launch and retrieve easily. And now the second step is the transfer, wheelchair transfer device and the grab bar. So we're excited about it. We're already working with two downtown marinas in our county about doing a finger dock version. This is a rather large unit. And for a marina, they can't afford to give up that space. So we're going to with a different configuration that has features a one way in, one way off launch trough that would be off of a finger dock.
 
So none of that have been put in the water, so we will be doing that for the first time within the next several weeks. So we will provide that information through the Access to Recreation website.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Great, thanks, Mark. As a clumsy person that has kayaked, this design I just think is so neat because it just conserves so many people at various levels of ability. I always think about putting the kayak in the water and the toughest part is sitting down in it and getting back out of it. And so when we saw this, we just thought it was so exciting.
 
Can you talk a little bit, because you're one of the projects â€‘‑ many of the Access to Recreation projects have worked directly with a manufacturer that the project team has identified. We need a product that doesn't currently exist or isn't quite what you have in terms of what's available in your catalog. Can you talk about how the manufacturer responded to your request? And how you went through that process.
 
MARK BROCHU
Unfortunately our experience, we obviously contacted Easy Dock and told them the vision. And, frankly, they didn't want to interact with us. In part because I think the franchise holder for Michigan was coming out with a totally different product of his own design that was of more interest to him.
 
So we understand now in hindsight he was developing another solution to the problem that he was distracted. But after a while, we finally went way up the corporate ladder because to get the prototype in the water last fall, we actually had to fight to even get the units to be delivered.
 
And I had occasion a couple months later and had a conversation with a very high corporate official with the company that owns Easy Dock. And basically I don't know if it was a conversation where I expressed my frustration. And finally for whatever reason I said â€‘‑ he was giving me kind of the responses that I finally came out and said. Look, we're not interested in a patent right. The whole access of the Access to Recreation is to push the limits. And if you and your corporation benefit from this, we don't have any claim to the patent. It's your system. It's your manufacturer's liability insurance. We want to work with you. And I think that was the unspoken barrier. And once that was discovered that, look â€‘‑ and some lawyers said we had some legitimate claim to patent rights. And we said we're not interested in patent rights. And since then, Easy Dock has been a real strong partner. My speculation is they did some checking and knew the market was huge. And so the second phase of the adaptive devices they have been fully enthused and cooperative. And I think they've been working with the Center there at Indiana University for some information. So it's gone from actually a contentious relationship to a very positive one.
 
Once we settled that issue of we're not looking at having any legal rights to this design, the flood gates were opened and they were fully cooperative.
 
And they've already made modifications to this prototype. They have really taken to heart that â€‘‑ and our goal, as I showed some state parks officials the launch this morning, our goal is that our launch would be obsolete in two years, that there's better stuff on the market by either Easy Dock or multiple manufacturers. And that the state‑of‑the‑art has been pushed way forward.
 
One of the observations this morning was all the handrails are very smooth, too. Stainless steel. It doesn't make sense to have more the grippy style finish that some grab rails for bathrooms. So I think that has an opportunity to really advance the design.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Great. Well thank you so much for sharing that one. And we're so excited to continue to watch the progress as some of your new projects come online and people can get more information and follow along with those on the AccesstoRecreation.org website.
 
And we're going to open it up again for questions at the end. But one last question before we go over to Dan. Mark, it's kind of hard for you to give us an idea on cost because this was all a prototype. But if you were to ballpark putting something in like this in a new facility, what would you guess there?
 
MARK BROCHU
Well the cost for the prototype was $25,000 installed on the site. We're working with â€‘‑ the finger dock version of the launch, and that's going to be about the same price. Of course, it's several modifications and another generation of design. And I see on one of the questions. The prototype was installed to test the design. It is not an accessible site. That gangway, you have to step onto. We're having a partnership with the community that accepted the prototype, and they are responsible for providing an ADA‑accessible route down to that gangway by the middle of next summer.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Great. Thanks, Mark.
 
MARK BROCHU
You're welcome.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Well, we're going to stay in Michigan for our third project here. And we're going to kind of cross the state a little bit. We're going to go over to J.W. Wells State Park. This is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. And Dan Lord is going to talk to us about the scope of the project there. Dan?
 
 
DAN LORD
All right. Thanks. Good afternoon, everybody.  I'd like to thank Cathy Clark of Pace and Partners and Jennifer from NCA to have this opportunity, as well as the fellow presenters today. Some really great creative projects going on out there.
I'm very excited to share an example of one of the Access to Recreation projects that the parks and recreation division, which is underneath the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been involved with.
 
Overall, the State Park system in Michigan is comprised of 100 state parks, 16 harbors and over 800 boat access sites. And wells State Park is one of seven State Park projects that has received Access to Recreation funding.
 
One of the goals was to focus on unique and creative design solutions for a range, typical program elements that we offer. And when I say typical program elements, I mean things like hunting and fishing and camping and trails and inland and Great Lake beach access as well as a few not so typical programs such as a question access and a winter luge.
 
Another goal is to have a palate of universally constructive designs that we can utilize in multiple settings in different locations.
 
I think it's important that I explain briefly the relationship or our role with the access initiative. I think it's different than some other entities. Overall the department received $3 million, $2 million going towards State Park projects and $1 million that was used to leverage community‑based projects through the department's Michigan natural resources trust fund program. And on the State Park side, we've leveraged about an additional $1 million all from grants or donations. There hasn't been any operational or capital outlay funds utilized at any of these locations under the current fiscal tight times in Michigan.
 
Historically the department and the consultants we've hired have approached ADA, as I think most other government entities or municipalities have. And that's really with the mind set of what are the minimum requirements and what do we have to do to perform those during new construction and upgrades?
 
With the Access to Recreation initiative, I think we were able to really step outside the box and make the existing ADA guidelines as well as the outdoor developed area guidelines as pretty much the baseline and the focus, which ended up being a great way to approach these projects.
 
Also at the seven locations, we had the option of selecting just one consultant for all the design work but we strategically selected four different design firms. We did that to not only get a range of different design solutions for the same issues or problems but also to hopefully influence their perspective on Universal Design and any future projects that they might be involved with in the hope that other entities could benefit from their experience.
 
Just some basic overall project information at Wells. I'm going to get into the larger scope of the project in a couple other slides. But the construction contract was just under $500,000. And you can see we aligned some matching funds to the project, specifically some Friends Group money, a local group we call them Friends Group from the parks that made up of residents of Wisconsin and Michigan.
 
The professional design consultant was Beckett and Raider Inc. And the general contractor out of the state's low bid system was a local contractor Alfredson Brothers out of Menominee. I am the lucky one to talk about the project. But it was a team project in addition to the entities on the screen, a lot of people involved. I'd like to thank the unit supervisor Manny, and Keith. Along with Jan Miller and John Patrick. And in addition to the consultant services, we had a lot of technical assistance on universal access provided by Cindy Burkaur, who is the grants content manager for all the Michigan Access to Recreation projects. And Beckett & Raeder got the Center for Independent Living and through the various design stages, we brought information to the department's Accessibility Advisory Council, which is a mix of state agencies and citizen groups representing people with disabilities. So there's been a lot of people involved.
 
To step back at our seven location projects, after the initiative was announced, we tried to disseminate the information to our own staff and really give them examples on what types of projects we were looking for. We wanted these to be kind of proposal process brought forward from the local unit supervisors. And we did receive over 30 projects that we kind of reviewed and analyzed and got into a top tier. And initially the project at Wells was just focused on playground effort. The Friends Group that I mentioned had a lot of really neat ideas to raise money. They had auctions and craft sales and came up with a cookbook called Cooking Up a Playground. But when we met with them and explained the overall initiative and some of the ideas we had, they immediately got on board and were excited to help us develop a more holistic project.
 
Some specifics on Wells State Park itself, I don't know if you saw the little star on the previous map, but it may look like the parks in Wisconsin. It's actually about 30 miles from the Wisconsin border. It's a pretty large, year‑round facility. The biggest asset is the three miles of Greenbay shore line which sits on Lake Michigan. The entire park is considered historical district. So any time we do development, we have a lot of involvement from the state historic preservation office as well as our own stewardship unit. You can see that it was developed primarily by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 30s and 40s.
 
Part of our criteria for project selection had to do with building upon recent infrastructure improvements. We thought it would be the best bang for our buck to go and do some of these amenities upgrades where we already had an existing level of accessibility. At Wells recently we've got upgraded, paved roads that included paved camp sites. Newer electrical, water and sewer services as well as a newer modern camp ground toilet shower building.
 
So as far as utilizing the Kellogg funding at this location, we felt that it was a really good, long‑term investment.
 
I know that today's webinar is fishing and boating emphasis, and I had originally intended to highlight a canoe and kayak launch at our Brighton project. But unfortunately the contractor filed bankruptcy and we're dealing with the bonding company. The project's not as complete as I'd like it to be. So in a way, today we are kind of in a little bit of a stretch. But I want to show how we went about locating the Great Lakes swimming and boat access with the theme of the webinar. I've got an overall conceptual plan that was developed early on. It's kind of a master plan. I'll walk through some of it. I know that with universal access, there's a range of definitions and interpretations. For us it was really the specific inclusive design solutions that would go above and beyond the minimum requirements and the guidelines that are out there. For a range of people with disabilities as well as able‑bodied people. But also for us it was the about the connectivity of existing amenities and really trying to provide the most recreational opportunities at one particular facility so that people could come to Wells State Park and really experience quite a bit that the location had to offer.
 
With our State Park system, it was built prior to the ADA, so historically it's been a real piecemeal approach. We're doing upgrades under new construction and renovations, but, again, Access to Recreation projects, we've looked to maximize experience at these seven locations and really create a marketing mechanism of outreach to a portion of the population that historically haven't come to our facilities. And that's being people with disabilities. And marketing's really important since Michigan state parks receive no general fund tax support. And we are the nation's second largest State Park system. So our operations, and we're really dependent on camp site sales and motor vehicle entry stickers, which really leads to how we operate our facilities. And so on this overview map, I'd like to just show you that this is our primary entrance drive that forks off and splits into two major use areas. This is pretty typical within state parks where we really control access into our modern camp grounds, which I'm showing on the left side of the screen. On one end of the project was a playground component. And on the other end which is what we call our day use area, where we have our designated swimming beach, was the Great Lakes access.
 
And then we have this big connection in between. It's about a third of a mile that currently the only way to get from point A to point B for our campers to get to the beach other than walking along a nonaccessible route was to get in their car and come down to the parking. And vice versa if we're making a universally accessible playground, how do we get the day use people over to that location?
 
We came up with a plan that was a trail portion of the project that would connect those two elements. And in between we had some great opportunities for natural resource. Just viewing and observing of a Great Lakes setting as well as some of the wildlife that you might experience there. But also along this route were a series of different activities. Horseshoe pits and a basketball court and a group camp ground, or I'm sorry a group fire circle area. So hopefully you'll see over the next few slides how we kind of linked point A to point B and really I'll end up highlighting quickly some of these other aspects with focusing on the Great Lakes beach access. But this was our former playground. Really typical in the State Park system that we have a huge demand for playground equipment. 
 
Unfortunately when it's competing with Health and Human Services such as electricity and water and sewer and roads, a lot of times they fall to the bottom of the list. But we are starting again on the left side of that graphic in the modern camp ground. And you can see an example of that CCC air construction. Old field stone building. This structure currently isn't being used. It's an old toilet shower building. One thing it offered was a nice central location within the camp ground to make the improvement that we were looking for. So here's the new structure that's in place. A couple things. Just to point out on the universal side. We have dual ramps. One at one side and one on the other. Kind of coming from that building. We've got quite a bit of amenities as far as specific climbers, double slides, spotting scopes. Chime and sensory panels with Braille and other tactile elements. You'll notice that the surfacing all about is poured in place. So you don't see the shade structures that were incorporated, but that was kind of a strategic choice that we really wanted to provide shade around the perimeter but really focus the dollars of the playground on the amenities themselves and not put shade structures on the equipment. But you'll see we did start to incorporate some natural resource theme. We've got some fabricated trees. Our surfacing has a little bit of a theme to it, too, that I'll talk about. On this particular slide we have a dry creek bed on the backside of here. And the long term plan for this building is to use it as an outdoor educational interpretive program center in which we could expand, get rid of the steps, add an accessible ramp from our parking to an observation area to oversee the playground. But we've mimicked that creek bed through the surfacing and actually added quite a bit of landscaping materials through a dry creek bed structure that I'll show you in a second. Another amenity, the on‑deck transfers. As opposed to just the standard transfer. So you've got the transfer at the wheelchair height so a child could get out of the wheelchair and get right onto the slide.
 
Here's the dry creek bed. We did want to provide some parking at this location in case groups or individuals didn't want to make the venture over from the day use area. And this timber ramp leads to if ramp of the playground. These boulders are stacked again at the transferable height that allows a child to interact in this kind of dry creek bed. There's some misting sprinklers in there for another sensory experience. And another quick photo here just fixed benches. And we have a lot of different accessible routes connecting to and through this structure.
 
This is the big open field area that I mentioned. This is pretty much what it looked like, a big open area. A big sea of grass. And again no pedestrian connection or any route in between point A and point B. As I mentioned, it's about a third of a mile from that designated swimming area down to the modern camp ground. So the improvement was to do a 6‑foot wide path. This is stepping back from the camp ground looking down towards that open area. It may look like we're putting dirt on top of aggregate, but this is actually a local material. It's compacted aggregate material. It's called many things in different areas. Some people call it chips and fines. Some people call it a trail mix. There's certain DOT specs. But it's a combination of smaller aggregate sizes that are compacted into several lifts. For us with historical aspects of the park, it was important to the selection as opposed to just putting down asphalt. Again trying to maintain some historical integrity within the facility. Stepping back a little bit towards the camp ground again is we did offer a mix of settings. We've got some wooded wetlands where we've got an ongrade boardwalk that goes through there. We saved some money by not building the entire section out of boardwalk and actually did some striped pavement along the camp ground roads. You can see it connects to our aggregate trail. And in most situations where we are changing surfaces, we've got fixed transition plates. And that was for long‑term maintenance and operations for the settlement of a couple different materials but also to add as a tactil warning where we were making a change from one surface to the other.
 
Connecting amenities along the way was very important. You can see this is connecting to a vault toilet, connecting to the basketball court, connecting to the existing picnic structure, the grill that's next to it. Horseshoe pits. The group camp fire area. And adjacent to one of those large field openings, and what ended up being about halfway between the camp ground were series of little openings when you are get behind the trees and you get some really nice views of Greenbay. We looked at this as not only the resting opportunity but the chance to provide some watchable wildlife as well as just a nice spot to sit and enjoy the scenery. So you'll see what we came up with was right along the civilian conservation corps area masonry work was an observation platform in which we've got this low stone wall. Again the aggregate material, transition plate meeting a concrete surface. You'll see that all of the entire height of the walls are at 32 inches. So there wasn't any obstruction as far as visual opportunities were concerned. Again, another point to point out is that we've got fixed benches so people can't move them on their own. There's also space in between circulation routes around the benches. We did leave space if we wanted to in the future come in and put in a spotting scope or some interpretive signs. But we really wanted to focus on the bigger infrastructure improvements in this first phase, knowing that we could come back and add some site furniture. But that was important for just designing the overall space and the footprint.
 
So now I get down to our focus area. This is at the other end of the spectrum. This is point B, our designated swimming area. Unfortunately this is a real common view at a lot of Michigan's public beaches. It's where the sidewalk ends view. Where we have a big expanse in between existing concrete and the water's edge. To able‑bodied people, it's not that big of a challenge. But to anybody in a wheelchair or a walker, this is a huge hurdle. So there's definitely a different set of challenges at a great lake beach opposed to an inland beach. Storm and wave action are not as fierce as an ocean setting, but there's really some serious forces of nature throughout the year on the Great Lakes from blowing and migrating sand to a lot of ice flow. So at this particular location, we had topographical and historical challenges that had to be designed earlier. You also note the sign there is no beach guard. We don't staff our beaches. So we had to consider short and long term maintenance as part of the solution. What I hope is you will be able to take away some of our solutions for what might be applicable at a great lake beach or a pool setting.
 
I mentioned the topographical challenges. We had a 10 to 12‑foot grade change from the ordinary high water mark to this top step. And we are really looking to get to a level of buoyancy because part of our design solution focused on independence. Very similar to what Mark was pointing out. We didn't want to invest in mechanical lifts and different long‑term things that we would have to maintain and replace. So we wanted to provide some nice improvements but on the minimal side and really encourage independence and how those spaces are utilized.
 
In addition to the topography, you'll see this low stone wall. Again another historical element of the CCC era. So it was something that we couldn't just bull doze and ramp and grade a ramp to the water's edge. We had to incorporate that into the solution. We could come in the end and put something in. But it kind of went back to that old mindset that people with disabilities use that route down there and everybody else uses the steps. So we were looking for a common route of travel. Something that a parent with a stroller or a cooler would use just as easy as someone with a walker or wheelchair.
 
This is just another view to give you an opinion of how or look at how that beach is being used as well as the location for the modern campground in the background. But Mark mentioned permitting issues. In Michigan, we do have the department of environmental quality, which is in essence the state arm of the EPA. And the DEQ had jurisdiction of all of our upland improvements up to the 500‑foot of the ordinary water mark. Once we reached that ordinary water mark, being under great lakes, then we had the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We also needed a design solution that met both of these entities' requirements and approvals. That gets me into the design solution. I just want to point out a couple of things.
 
One is here is our existing pavilion. It's an existing concrete sidewalk coming from that day use parking. Then you see our aggregate trail coming from the camp ground that ties into our group fire circle area up here to our horse shoes. When we get to the picnic pavilion, we are proposing new concrete approach right down to that wall. So there's the wall and the dotted line down here is the ordinary high water mark. Now, the design solution included an integrated Peron step structure with ramped access. So we actually have a set of sets here. And an integrated ramp structure parallel to the historic wall.
 
Now, some of the words that I just used like step structure and ramped access probably sound like nails on a chalk board when associated with universal access. Hopefully after my explanation you'll have a better comfort level with how those terms are used.
 
We mentioned the one solution to come down from the end of the wall and be separate. The other solution was well we can come right from this top step and ramp all the way down to that 2‑foot level of buoyancy. But we really wanted to focus on keeping all of our routes under 5 percent. We felt that that was more important in the design solution. So the combined structure that offers this integrated step system with ramps, and there's a total of four steps. You'll see on another detail. Only the two middle steps are not accessible. The ramped access, which is under 5 percent is running parallel to the stone wall did not impact the historical elements of that wall. And once at the bottom of the ramp, the two lower steps are actually accessible in a similar ramped manner if you're in a wheelchair or with a walker. So people can get to those different points of observation. If they're not interested in getting wet or getting into the water, to be honest, the shores of Greenbay are pretty frigid. So there's not a lot of people that do venture into the water up there. So there's observation opportunities tied in, as well. The on grade boardwalk comes right off of that landing where those two ramp surfaces coming together. This is a seasonal boardwalk. So it's easy to take in and to take out based upon the fluctuation in water changes. But it also met the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' requirements for not having a permanent fixed structure in the water. In addition, we felt that this really preserved our investment because we weren't investing in something that could be washed away, if a big storm was to come over winter. So it is sectional, and it can be adjusted based upon the different water levels.
 
These are a couple of the just construction details. You can see a little bit more of a close-up. You'll see some construction photos. But here's your approach. Here's the tied‑in ramp section. And then actually those two lower steps that you can see here and here are accessible.
 
Kind of go on to the next slide, get into some of the construction photos. You can see that the forming that took place, it's a pretty substantial structure. And our construction began in the fall of 2008. We really took careful consideration, again not to impact that historical wall. So it's actually built right along the line and adjacent to. We didn't remove any sections of that wall. You can see the pretty serious footings. We're intending for this thing to be there for a long time and I really have to compliment the contractor. The flat work and the masonry work at the observation area were just exceptional.
 
Here you can start to see that structure take place. This is a couple of shots looking both directions. You can see that the ramp is starting to appear. And here is a near completed photo. I think it's important now that you can see how our approach comes down. We have ramped access to this lower level. And then you can have continued ramped access. I say the term ramped. Everything is under 5 percent. So it's not a ramp requirement that needs handrails or anything like that. A couple important things that aren't shown here is where the boardwalk would take off from as well as some of our tactile warnings and our striping associated with the steps to indicate that there is a change in the level occurring.
 
The next set of photos, you'll be able to see again where we come down that ramp and where that boardwalk takes over, that on‑grade boardwalk system is attached and anchored. It's something that will come out each year. Our staff will be responsible for grading that out to make sure it's 5 percent to get down to the water. When you get the water. This isn't a grainy photo of the lockness monster. This is the top of the transformer that is adjacent to the 2‑foot level of buoyancy. You can't see it all the time. You can see some white caps up here. Pretty stormy situation. So you had to be pretty strategic when you snapped that photo to catch the top of the transfer platform.
 
You can also see that the boardwalk material, it was surfaced at a brick composite on top to avoid slippage or any falls that might occur. Again, it is anchored. There is literally no gaps in between those timber members.
 
Getting into a little bit more specifics on the transfer platform itself, these are actually criteria that are borrowed from the playground. And instead of going up to an element, we're looking at going down to an element. You can see the design detail here pretty simple in nay tour. And a couple different ways we are utilizing this picture over on the left is that canoe kayak launch that I was hoping to show you today that is currently in an adjustment period, I say. We came up with a dual skid pier design. We have two transfers. The one you're looking at is on a track system. So you can see the parking area behind. That allows a user to bring their canoe and kayak launch, their canoe or kayak underneath that transfer and then the wheelchair comes up. You actually transfer from your chair to that top terrace and then down into your vessel. This is an incomplete photo. So we still got some handrails and adjustments. That needs to lower down to the water a little bit closer. On the other side we have a fixed transfer. That's meant for some larger vessels. But it's pretty much a mounted structure like you see in this picture that acts in the same manner but it's just a way for people to get out of their chair and to a different level of surface knowing that all boat heights are a little bit different. The picture on the right is from our Muskegon project where we have a winter sports complex where this structure is actually pushed up adjacent to the edge of cement which becomes the edge of an ice rink in the wintertime. And it's funny â€‘‑ it's not funny, it's awesome because everyone is starting to use this not only to get their skates on but to have a little extra support to get onto the ice. But it was intended for adaptive sports that occur on the rink. Again for people to get out of their chair into that ice level. So it's a design that we're trying to apply in a couple different forms at different locations.
 
I've been a couple long‑winded but a couple other photos showing upland amenities leading down to the beach area. The picture on the left shows a foot wash and a drinking fountain and a shower combination structure with ample route and clear ground space as well as the photo on the right is where that aggregate trail comes in and ties into our cement work in the picnic pavilion. Trying to tie in some of the support amenities with the beach setting.
 
Kind of ongoing challenges. I mentioned earlier no beach staff. Without any full‑time staff, we've got some challenges. You can see on the photo on the right, I give credit to our supervisor, Manny. He had the contractor out there every day he was still under contract, had him maintaining our boardwalk. But you see that, the area is much calmer. The water is much calmer. But you can see the huge deposit of sand that's left there. We do have short‑term and long‑term continuous maintenance concerns and things we need to address. So while we're make something investment, we're also investing some of our time to be sure that these are kept to an accessible level.
 
Amidst all the challenges, at the end of the project we're still very pleased with the program level elements and examples that were accomplished at Wells. Again, the playground, the trail, the natural resource and wildlife viewing as well as the swimming access, for us it was tying all those elements to at one location and really offering a range of opportunities for people to take advantage of.
 
And just to offer a breakdown from the overall project budget that I showed earlier. The improvements at the swimming area with all the concrete work and everything added up to about $65,000. As mentioned earlier by Mark, I'm confident we can kind of build upon these successes. This is really the first major investment. The first time we've attempted something of this substantial scale at a Great Lakes setting. But with some input and some feedback, I think we're going to be able to improve this the next time we go to do it, assuming that the funding's in place. But, again, I appreciate the opportunity to present the project. I know, Jennifer, if there is any specific questions that you had for me. 
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
If people have questions, they can start typing those into the chat room and we'll just try to take them as they come up.
 
I do, there is a question from Colleen. She asked about how you pulled the boardwalk up in the winter season. Now, is the boardwalk is that a prefabricated system?
 
DAN LORD
It is. From a company called Mr. Boardwalk. It does come in sections. So you can define what your radius turns are going to be. Being that it's sectional in nature, we do take that out. We put it in early in the spring, which we had a lot of our storm activity and you could see that our swim buoys aren't even in this construction picture. So I think we've got some adjustments to make on when do we put this in, when do we take it out? But that was meant to be an operational issue for us, that we had flexibility to lengthen the sections, to shorten the sections. Again, trying to find that level of buoyancy and to avoid the big storm events.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Colleen also mentioned Moby Mat there. That's definitely another one for people to consider as a temporary solution.
 
Let me ask over to Sally and Brian, I think a lot of people were a little bit nervous about the conditions of your fishing pier in the winter in central Illinois. If you could address their questions about what your concerns might be in terms of ice or the fishing piers being hit by ice.
 
SALLY PRUNTY
Yeah. I'm actually â€‘‑ I think we'll have to see how it goes. This particular location we don't get a lot of ice. It's my understanding that these floats have a very tough exterior, that they're not very susceptible to crunching or breaking.
 
So I think the main issue that we're going to have for this float, for this fishing pier in terms of ice is probably ice bumping against the floats. And I think the idea of the bubblers is interesting. I think we'll probably look into that and talk to the dock manufacturer about it. But I think it's a legitimate concern. I guess we've been assured that it's okay. But I do actually still have some questions about that.
 
DAN LORD
Sally, we have a huge investment in our harbor facilities in the bubbler systems. And the most recent one at the straits of Mackinaw Harbor, we invested in one that's augmented by wind power. So I'd be happy to share some of that information if you're interested.
 
SALLY PRUNTY
Actually, I would be. We may have to do that. Again, we're not â€‘‑ central Illinois; we don't get quite so much ice here. But we do get it. And it is a concern. So I definitely would be interested in talking to you about that.
 
 
DAN LORD
Okay, great.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
And there's another question, Dan, I think it was, about the boardwalk, about what was the advantage of putting the boardwalk at grade level as opposed to having it raised? What did you consider about that?
 
DAN LORD
We've utilized another off the shelf product called Brock Dock System which they offer raised and on grade. I think for us it was a couple elements. One is a cost factor for an elevated system. Also, you can get kind of a teetering effect and you have to deal with edge protection, a couple other elements. So for us it was â€‘‑ we were interested in looking at something a little different. The ability to take the tractor out and rough grade once a year and put it out and stake it down kind of appealed to us in this situation. But, granted, if we did want to go back to that kind of a straight shot approach, that one of those might have been applicable to address the coming off the top of the wall. But we were looking at just a little different design solution.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
I think that we're all caught up on our questions here. And we have put all of the presenters' contact information up on the screen. So if you have individual questions on those, please feel free to contact our presenters or you can call the National Center on Accessibility and we'll get you connected there.
 
Before we wrap up, I just kind of want to go around, project to project. Tell us what was the single biggest thing that you learned through this project. And I'm going to go over. We'll put you guys on the spot in Illinois there first.
 
SALLY PRUNTY
Well, I think for our project, we looked at a lot of different docks. I think I learned a lot about what's out there. And we looked at a lot of different dock pier systems. And we chose this one. We'll see how it works. This is the first system of this type that we had, but we did look pretty thoroughly at the structure, you know, the weight of the members, the load on it and that kind of thing. So I think it's a pretty solid structure. So we'll see. And I think the ice issue that people had mentioned, we did think about that. And I'm actually interested in the bubblers. We may have to do some fine-tuning on this. But we're pretty happy with it, in any case. It's a very solid, stable structure. And I think for people who are in wheelchairs, I think that it’s actually going to be a real plus.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Good, thanks, Illinois. Mark, how about up there in St. Clair County?
 
MARK BROCHU
Well I think the single biggest lesson is we had an idea for an existing product in a novel way. If we could have realized the patent issue was an issue from the manufacturer, though unspoken to us, we probably would have had an easier time. So I guess that's our biggest lesson: To say hey, we have an idea for your product that's a little different take on it. And saying we're not interested in any patent rights. I think we might have saved ourselves two or three months of a little consternation and gotten working as a team earlier and more smoothly with Easy Dock. Since we got over that hump, it's been a great relationship.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Good. And what about over at the DNR Dan?
 
DAN LORD
At this particular location and getting water access at a Great Lakes environment tied in with the historical elements? There is just a lot of individual challenge that I think we benefited from having a big team approach as well as getting the Army Corps of Engineers involved, getting the EQ involved, getting the state preservation office involved. Really a team approach and trying to pull in experts and then just bite off the smaller pieces bit by bit. Getting input from the Center of Independent Living was a big benefit, as well.
 
JENNIFER SKULSKI
Great, thanks, Dan. Well we're coming up to the end of today's session. I'd like to thank all of our speakers. Sally Prunty, Brian DeMuynck, Mark Brochu, and Dan Lord and their contact information is on the screen. I see that some of you commented that it was a little difficult to read. So Jacob has added it to the notes section. So you can scroll down to the notes pod to get that. We will have all of their presentations along with the transcript and the webinar archive will be put up both on the National Center for Accessibility website and on the Access to Recreation website, as well.
 
So I'd like to also thank the Michigan Recreation and Park Association Foundation for making this series available. And a special thanks to all of you for your participation in today's session. Please join us for the third and the last of our series on Thursday, August 27th when we will talk to the planning teams of two really unique interpretive trail projects and how they're dealing with program access in Springfield, Illinois, and Kettering, Ohio. Be sure to check out the rest of the Access to Recreation projects on their website, as well.
 
In the meantime, if you have any questions on Universal Design and the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks, recreation and tourism, please feel free to contact the National Center on Accessibility.
 
I'd like to thank everybody. And have a great rest of your day.
(End of meeting)
 
 
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This is being provided in a rough‑draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in Order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.