A journey on some of the 40 navigable miles of the Flint River and a ride through the heart of Hays Nature Preserve just got a little easier.
A new access point to the Flint River for canoes and kayaks was unveiled Thursday, “another shining example of public-private partnership for the City of Huntsville,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “This will be a great asset to the City.”
The access point is at the Flint River Greenway parking lot off Old Highway 431 at the eastern end of Hays Nature Preserve.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has chosen the City’s Hays Nature Preserve for their National Public Lands Project, adding an access point near the Flint River Greenway and providing volunteers to work on enhancements to the area.
“The more everybody else pitches in, the more it helps our city as a whole,” said Joy McKee, director of Landscape Management and Operation Green Team.
Toyota was represented by Toyota Manufacturing president David Fernandes and Kim Ogle, corporate communications analyst. Scott Ammons of North Alabama Canoe and Kayak (NACK) and Robert Brown of Leaf in Creek, two entities that promote the use of the Flint River, were also on hand.
McKee said there have been many requests asking for more convenient launch points along the river, and the new one offers great simplicity. There are steps leading toward the river as well as a ramp that will serve as something of a chute, enabling an easier launch in entering the kayaks and canoes.
Kayak safety lessons will be provided Saturday, September 23. As Robert Brown of Leaf in Creek said, “It’s important to be able to enjoy it, and even more important to do it safely.”
“It’s picturesque and it’s a great way to get back into nature,” Battle said of the river.
“And now,” he said, “you can paddle to your heart’s content.”
How To Navigate The Flint
Saturday, Sept. 23
Kayak Safety 101, presented by NACK and Leaf in Creek
Free to the public
Directions: Highway 431 into Hampton Cove. Turn onto Old Highway 431, go past Hampton Cove Golf Course. Turn right as Old Highway 431 heads south, adjacent to Hampton Cove ballfields. Entrance to parking lot is marked, and on the right