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From today's AC Press:

Boat ramp offers free ride in Lower
By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6711
Published: Friday, January 13, 2006
Updated: Friday, January 13, 2006

LOWER TOWNSHIP-An old anecdote says the happiest two days in a fisherman's life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it.

Another anecdote explains what BOAT stands for: Break Out Another $2,000.

Boats are expensive. They cost a lot of money to buy, maintain and operate. Boaters pay the state a tax each year just for the privilege of owning a boat. Many pay for a place to dock the boat in summer and another fee to store it in winter. Those who trailer their boat usually pay a fee to a private boat ramp just to get into the water for a day of fishing.

There is no free ride, or is there?

Actually, there is about to be a free ride, one small break in the constant expense of owning a boat, here on Schellenger's Landing. The state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife is building a $515,000 free boat ramp on Wissahickon Avenue next to Spicer Creek.

"This project is consistent with the DEP's goals of providing access to waterways and fisheries for fishing and boating," DEP spokeswoman Karen Hershey said Thursday.

For many years, former Mayor Larry Starner pushed the state for a free boat ramp here in a township with miles of Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay coast. More recently, Township Councilman Wayne Mazurek, at the urging of local resident Chris Kobik, revived the idea and enlisted Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, to help get it done.

All the lobbying worked. Construction is now underway and the ramp should be opening sometime this spring.

"They're shooting for the end of April or May," Mazurek said.

The ramp won't help Mazurek with his 37-foot sailboat, which he keeps in Maryland anyway. The ramp goes into shallow Spicer Creek and is really for small boats in the 20-foot range. There was concern about competing with private boat ramps for the larger boat trade, such as boats with twin outboards. This ramp is actually for those who can least afford all the costs of owning a boat.

"It won't hurt the big ramps in town. It's more for the little guy. It's more for the guys fishing the creeks, the canal and the backbays," Mazurek said.

While some marinas are reportedly not happy about the free ramp, Mazurek argues it will be a boost for Schellenger's Landing businesses. It should draw boaters from a much larger area and they will spend money at nearby stores, especially bait and tackle shops.

Mazurek also notes the ramp is not costing the township anything. The construction, led by general contractor Walters Brothers Marine Construction, is being paid by the state and Mazurek said they would also maintain the ramp.

The ramp itself is complete. It has concrete piers, installed by Pfeifer & Co., on either side to walk the boat into the water. The ramp is 30 feet long and 24 feet wide. Plans also call for some floating docks but they are not installed yet. Erosion-fighting gabions will be installed on Spicer Creek.

Workers this week were busy building the clamshell parking lot with wooden car bumpers. Hershey said the parking lot would hold 20 vehicles and boat trailers.

The unseasonably warm weather also brought out the project landscaper, The Dawson Corp., to plant bushes and other vegetation on the land, which is owned by the state.

"I think it's a great deal for the township," Mazurek said.

To e-mail Richard Degener at The Press:

[email protected]
 

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"It's more for the little guy. It's more for the guys fishing the creeks, the canal and the backbays," Mazurek said.

Whatever. I'll believe that when I see it. Its good to see an alternative to relieve the pressure off the BZL ramp. After it opens, check the percentage of trailers over and under 20 ft. I'll guess 75% over.
 

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Good Info, Thanks....
 

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"It's more for the little guy. It's more for the guys fishing the creeks, the canal and the backbays," Mazurek said.

Whatever. I'll believe that when I see it. Its good to see an alternative to relieve the pressure off the BZL ramp. After it opens, check the percentage of trailers over and under 20 ft. I'll guess 75% over.

[ 01-27-2006, 09:47 AM: Message edited by: Red Eye Nester ]
 

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Free, for how long?

Gotta give Van Drew the credit, he got it done in record time.

The bigger ramp is "still" on the design plans as part of the new Two Mile Bridge plans. 5-7 years away.
 

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The ramp won't help Mazurek with his 37-foot sailboat, which he keeps in Maryland anyway. The ramp goes into shallow Spicer Creek and is really for small boats in the 20-foot range. There was concern about competing with private boat ramps for the larger boat trade, such as boats with twin outboards. This ramp is actually for those who can least afford all the costs of owning a boat.

"It won't hurt the big ramps in town. It's more for the little guy. It's more for the guys fishing the creeks, the canal and the backbays," Mazurek said.

Big Ramps in town?? Didn't know there was more than one. Last time I checked, BZL was the only game in town. Just wish the new ramp had a little more parking- I was told by one of the workers parking will be for 20 or so trailers.
 
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