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Landmark Park Adds Canoe and Kayak Launch

The strategic design ensures that user safety and access are top priorities.

Hubbard Park in the Village of Shorewood is a local landmark in this Wisconsin community. Located on a nearly five-acre, 1,400-foot-long strip of land between the Milwaukee River and the former Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, the park contains the Hubbard Park Lodge and access to the Oak Leaf Trail. However, despite its location along the river, the park lacked easy access to the water’s edge for recreational watercraft. The Shorewood Public Works Department enlisted the services of the Snyder & Associates design team to develop a plan for a canoe and kayak launch that would give users of the park greater access to the Milwaukee River.

Charged with creating a launch that would aesthetically fit with the existing park site, our team worked closely with local river groups, the Wisconsin DNR, and the Public Works leadership to balance the goals of the project and the overall project budget. It was agreed by all stakeholders the canoe and kayak launch had to be highly functional for various river levels, extremely durable for longevity, and easily accessible from a nearby parking area.

Material Challenges Test the Design Team

The design team faced numerous challenges, including matching the high-quality amenities in the park on a limited project budget. This meant the team also needed to source materials that were logistically close to the park to reduce delivery expenses and help keep the overall environmental impact to a minimum. The primary challenge, however, required finding materials that would withstand the river’s elements and Wisconsin’s frigid winters.

Our team’s solution called for snapped, 6″ Eden riser stones that provided a “zero-entry” area for the easy and safe launch of canoes and kayaks. Also, high-quality Eden outcropping stones were arranged to create a natural “amphitheater” area where users could comfortably sit and view the river. By sourcing local products, our team created a locally relevant, structurally timeless amenity and reduced the cost of transit to get the materials onsite.

Following a graded path near the end of N. Morris Blvd. in Hubbard Park, the project area required approximately 35 cubic yards of earthwork grading, the installation of roughly 70 tons of outcrop stones and boulders, and the placement of approximately 16 pieces of snapped stone. With the canoe and kayak launch substantially completed, park users and recreational river enthusiasts now have a more convenient way to access the river that’s safe, aesthetically pleasing, and constructed with durability that will last for generations.