New boat launch will keep boaters happy, bass nervous

Wayne Vaughn is a professional fisherman who lives in the Enon area. He hasn’t launched his boat from the Dutch Gap boat launch for years.

Mr. Vaughn said, “He has had to put up with lines at the boat launch, and store his truck and trailer somewhere on the Dutch Gap parking lot, which is not safe for his trailer or truck. You just can’t launch your boat by yourself.

Chesterfield County has just approved a boat ramp at the Sustainability Park on Enon Church Road. The “Sustainability Park Boat Ramp” is opposite the Dutch Gap launch in that it will be brand new and safe. The new launch will have the capability to launch two boats at a time with a tie up for boats waiting to be pulled out of the river or after the boat is launched and the boater is arranging his gear.

In order to launch a boat at the Sustainability Park Boat Ramp, one must be a member of a boating group. Boats will be stored on the property ready to launch when the boater is ready.

“Dutch Gap is the only boat ramp in Chesterfield County that somebody can launch their boat in tidal water,” Vaughn said.

The launch at the Sustainability Park will be modern, and initially store over 200 boats, eventually having the capability to store and launch 750 boats.

Facility Services, LLC procured the mounds of permits needed to build such a boat launch on the James River. Roger Habeck facilitated the getting the ramp approved and permitted.

 “All the storage area and ramp is fenced and monitored,” Mr. Habeck said. “There will be total security.”

According to Habeck, permitting was a two-year process. He had to get permits from Marine Resources, the Corp of Engineers, the DEQ as well as the Coast Guard and Chesterfield County.

The location of the landing was once a barge landing for American Tobacco. Today the area is part of the Sustainability Park and access will be gained through the park itself.
Eventually the boat ramp area will include a fueling station and restaurant if Habeck can put it together.

Vaughn will not put his boat in at Dutch Gap and he is even surprised about how Henrico County handles its boating facilities.

“Last year, Henrico turn down the FLA fishing tournament that brings anglers from all over the world to compete,” Vaughn said. “A tournament like that would bring a lot of money to the locality, and the cost to the locality that sponsors the event, is only $15,000. Imagine the amount of money the tournament would bring to hotels and restaurants.  

The 142 acre facility, which includes the Sustainability Park will start at only 8.1 acres but Habeck believes that boaters across the area will be really interested in the Sustainability Park Boat Launch.  The park is limited by about 700 feet of river frontage but the architects, Sekiv Solutions, made use of every foot.

“Everything I’ve heard was ‘it will never happen,’” Habeck said. But it is happening and that will leave a lot of boaters out there just a little bit happier.

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