SNOW HILL – New floating docks are expected to promote safety and encourage paddling on the Pocomoke River.
Recently, the town of Snow Hill installed floating docks in two of its parks.
Ann Gibb, Snow Hill’s grants administrator, said the docks – one located at Sturgis Park and another located at Gateway Park – were purchased with a $18,785 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space.
“It took longer than we expected to get the approvals through,” she said, “so they weren’t ready for use until recently.”
Town officials said the floating docks are part of a concerted effort to brand Snow Hill as a destination for outdoor tourism and would encourage visitors who are interested in paddling sports.
“Access to the river is something Snow Hill is always concerned about,” Gibb said. “We want it to be a destination for people who want to use the water, but getting in and out safely is an issue because it is a deep river. The floating docks were an answer to that need.”
Officials said a 10-by-15-foot modular dock has since been installed at Sturgis Park, which until late last year had no safe access to the Pocomoke River. The feature includes a paddle-on, slide-off kayak launch, or notches paddlers can use to pull the kayak in and out of the water.
“There is a walkway, but no actual dock there,” Gibb said. “This provides safer access.”
At Gateway Park, a 10-by-20-foot dock has been installed along the low-lying boardwalk in front of the Pocomoke River Canoe Company. Officials said the skid-proof surface makes them ideal for kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and canoes.
Despite the cold weather, Gibb explained the floating docks will remain in the water for public use.
“They are in place for next season,” she said. “We don’t have a launching fee. It is free to the public.”
At Sturgis Park, the floating docks will be a part of a larger revitalization effort.
In 2016, the town received a $30,000 operating assistance grant to create a master plan for the park. And with that money, the town hired Campion Hruby Landscape Architects to meet with members of the community and develop the planning document.
While the master plan has since been completed, Gibb said the town is still waiting on grant funding to move forward with the project.
“We have applied for grant funding to begin the first phase, but we have yet to hear back …,” she said.