Tourism launching kayak launches on Dorcheat

By Paige Nash

Executive Director of Webster Parish Convention and Visitor Commission Serena Gray and EZ Dock representative Jeremy Lewis are working together to have two docks with kayak launches ordered by the end of the year.  

Together, they attended the Webster Parish Police Jury meeting Tuesday to get the jurors’ advice on placement of the docks. The first phase of dock installation will include the Sibley and Dixie Inn locations on Bayou Dorcheat.

“Today we are just trying to decide the design for the Dixie Inn boat launch and the boat launch in Sibley on 164,” said Gray. “As we move forward into future budgets, we will start adding more of those kayak docks. These are the first two we would like to implement. Next, we will be looking at Springhill.” 

The docks are designed to withstand hurricane force winds, but the biggest issue that has presented itself thus far is the fluctuation of the water levels and how quickly they change. The water level rises up to 20–22-foot regulary. 

Lewis presented two options for installing the decks which included attaching the docks onto a 24-foot pole that is hammered 4-foot into the ground, which would be better for water levels no higher than 20-foot. The quote received for that option totalled $16k. A stiff-arm option is available that would better accommodate the agressivley fluctuating water levels on Bayou Dorcheat and that option increases the total to $24k. 

The funds for the launches will come from money that has been set aside by tourism each year and dedicated to this project. 

These docks will be unique to each location and will include a walkway and a kayak launch.  

“When we have our large events, twice a year, we imagine the people who need more assistance getting on the water would utilize the launch,” said Gray.  

Many accessories are available that can be added at a later time, such as handrails, benches and lights.  

Bassmaster Pro-Angler Homer Humphreys was also in attendance, agreed these docks would be a great asset for fishermen, also. The docks would allow a safer way to launch and park their boats without risking damage to the boat. 

“These types of docks are already being installed all over the state and you hear nothing but compliments about them,” said Humphreys. “We are always the last ones to get the best.” 

The jury made a motion to give Gray and the tourism commission permission to move forward with placing the docks at both the Sibley and Dixie Inn locations. 

Juror for District #11 Steve Ramsey agreed to go with Lewis to look at both locations after the meeting and assist in deciding on an ideal placement for the launches. 

“One of the things I am excited about is that it is creating an attraction in areas in the parish that don’t have attractions,” said Gray. “Springhill and Cotton Valley are a part of this parish, and we want people to get out there and explore those parts of the parish. By placing those launches there kayakers will be drawn to those areas. We are hoping to see more travel to the northern parts of the parish.” 


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