Lake Crabtree Park in Morrisville will be a lot more accessible to people of all abilities when a new accessible boat dock is installed next year.
The boat dock will allow people in wheelchairs and with other physical limitations to more easily access the water and take part in water sports such as kayaking, rowing and adaptive fishing. That includes kids with disabilities, who might not otherwise have an opportunity to take part in these sports.
The dock comes thanks to MetLife, who is partnering with Bridge II Sports, a nonprofit that provides athletic opportunities for people with disabilities, to bring the amenity to Lake Crabtree, part of the Wake County parks system. Bridge II Sports is involved in the annual Valor Games Southeast, which is held at Lake Crabtree. The donation was announced during the games, which were held earlier this month and offer competition for disabled veterans and members of military.
Once it's installed, it will be the only four-slip accessible dock in the region and the only one with mechanisms to transfer athletes and their watercraft to the water, according to a press release. The dock will allow people with disabilities to station a canoe or other water craft securely as they transfer from the dock into the craft, the release says.
“The addition of this dock to the Triangle region is a giant leap for people with disabilities and for sports in general,” said Ashley Thomas, executive director of Durham-based Bridge II Sports, in the release. Thomas said Paralympic rowing, canoe/kayak and fishing organizations are interested in using the dock to develop athletes in the southeast and to hold official Paralympic competitions.
Bridge II Sports will use the dock from time to time for its programs. The nonprofit is involved in a variety of programs across the state, including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and Girls Inspired Girls Empowered, a program that offers life and style skills for girls in wheelchairs.