Puyallup Herald

New boat launch on Puyallup River will be the first of its kind in the state

The Puyallup River will be easier to access for recreational boaters and search-and-rescue teams starting in August.

A boat slide will open Aug. 15 at Riverside Park near Sumner

The slide will be the first of its kind in Washington. Rather than a concrete boat launch, the ramp is built of wooden planks and rollers. People will be able to unload their kayaks, canoes or other boats and slide them into the water.

The slide still needs rollers before it’s accessible to the public.

Pierce County resident David Patrick, who spearheaded the project four years ago, said a boat slide is easy to install and doesn’t damage the levee.

“It’s good for anything other than a boat with power,” Patrick said.

The ramp’s location is advantageous for rescue teams.

Police and fire marine units now access the river just upstream from the Emerald Queen Casino on I-5.

“If you fell in the water in Puyallup, it was going to take them a while to get to you,” Patrick said.

Project manager Robert Wenman said the total costs are still undetermined but will be less than $100,000. If the boat slide is a success, he hopes for more state funding.

“The recreational opportunities in the Puyallup are unmet. I’m hoping this isn’t the only slide we, and we get more river access,” said Pierce County Councilwoman Pam Roach.

Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.