WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — As the weather gets warmer, more people will head back to the water. Sound Rivers, a non-profit organization in Eastern North Carolina, is trying to make access to natural waterways and rivers easier for people.

A kayak launch at Havens Garden has been five years in the making. There was a special guest at Friday’s ribbon-cutting to be the first officially launched kayaker.

Harlan McKendrick is 101 years old, and he’s an avid kayaker. 

Harlan and his daughter, Linda, regularly paddle out onto Pamlico River in Washington. When they found out about the new kayak launch, they couldn’t wait to see its completion. 

 After a few years, the wait is over and Mckendrick got to be the first one to try it out.

“It’s quite an honor and a surprise. I’ve been kayaking from this spot for the past six years, and this is going to make it a heck of a lot easier,” he said.  

The City of Washington worked closely with Sound Rivers in the planning stages and also provided some funding to make the launch happen. It’s adjacent to the existing boat ramp on the creek.

This creates a safer and separate space away from motorists launching their powerboats. 

This is the first of three kayak launches, all funded by the Recreational Trails Program grant. They’ll be located at Mason’s Landing in Washington and Port Terminal in Greenville.