Future site of the new canoe/kayak ramp at Buckeye Lake

Thorn Township will soon have a canoe/kayak launch just beyond the soon-to-be cleared treeline in the background.

THORNVILLE — The effort to bring a canoe/kayak boat launch site to the east endof Buckeye Lake is one step closer after a Thorn Township monthly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Thorn Township Trustee Chairman Bob Coleman reports that the trustees voted to award a contract to GM Contracting, LLC from Heath, Ohio to construct a canoe/kayak launch in Thorn Township, Perry County. Mike Bline is the company president for GM Contracting, LLC.

Once completed, the new ramp will be the only fully handicapped accessible launch at Buckeye Lake. That will not be the only first that is accomplished when this project is finished. This new canoe/kayak ramp will be the first public boat access on Buckeye Lake to lie in Perry County. Three Ohio counties surround Buckeye Lake: Fairfield, Licking, and Perry.

Coleman extended a twofold special thanks to a pair of contributors who made funding for the project possible.

“I want to thank Sen. Jay Hottinger for his efforts to secure the Capital Funding,” stated Coleman. “I also want to thank the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for their efforts in securing the Paddle Enhancement Grant that made this project possible,” added Coleman.

The location of the new ramp will be on Honey Creek Road immediately after turning off state Route 13 at the traffic light. Work started last Thursday with a hopeful finish date of sometime in late spring 2021. Coleman says this project has been in the drawing stages for over three years. He believes the canoe/kayak ramp is only the beginning of what could be possible in Thorn Township’s future.

“It makes no sense for the county and township to miss the economic opportunity that this lake provides,” stated Coleman

With kayak sales climbing faster than those for any other style of boats, Coleman hopes to bring an all-new clientele to the old canal lake. The canals that line the perimeter of Buckeye will be ideal for anglers in kayaks. Restaurant owners around the lake will no doubt see an uptick in business from a thirsty canoe/kayak crowd.

“There are kayak clubs all over the state, including in Perry County, and they really enjoy hitting all the restaurants around the lake,” says Coleman.

Three years ago when talk of this project began, Coleman said, the township was in negotiations to purchase the acreage in Thorn Township that borders Buckeye Lake. The property owner, Larry Rowe, finally pitched a deal Coleman says they could not pass up.

“Larry leased it to us for 20 years at a cost of $10,” said Coleman.

“We bought this land 30 years ago with the intent to develop it immediately,” explained Larry Rowe. “We were waiting for water and sewer for this area, but things slowed down. I decided it would be nice for the county to have this facility so we made the deal.”

Nice will not be enough of a description when the canoe/kayak ramp is completed, hopefully in time to use next year.

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