A recent decision by the town to not allow canoe and kayak rental companies to launch out of the Kings Park Bluff has prompted one rental company to find a new location.
Nissequogue River Canoe and Kayak Rental, who previously launched at the bluff, will now use Nissequogue River State Park as their location.
Smithtown town officials said last month that they will not be renewing the 2013 permits for canoe rental businesses to operate from the Kings Park Bluff, citing changes in the water's currents, town officials say it's become too risky.
"The currents are dangerous for everyone, but we can't license a concessionaire to take a fee to run a concession for something we know is dangerous," Councilman Thomas McCarthy recently told Patch.
Smithtown Parks Director Charles Barrett has called it a "sticky situation", to allow private individuals, but not companies to launch at the bluff, saying "it is in their best interest and for their own good."
Linda Sandstedt, Kings Park resident and owner of Nissequogue River Canoe and Kayak Rentals, agrees the current is dangerous, but questions why the town is only restricting rental companies.
“I think they are right about the current down there, but if that is the case, then why is anyone allowed to launch there,” said Sandstedt.
The 26-year veteran of the river said she believes that a safer place to launch is off the beach, an area where she used to launch until the town told rental companies they needed to launch at the ramp.
Sandstedt met with officials from the state park on Wednesday and was able to secure the area as a launching site. Trips will be starting on April 15 and will run seven days a week until the end of October. Renters can meet at Paul T. Givens Park, where the rental company will bus them over, or park at the marina for an eight-dollar fee. Customers should call ahead to find out daily launch times as they change with the tide.
“We are really grateful to them,” Sandstedt said about the park. “They have treated us wonderfully.”
In the end, Sandstedt said she is glad to have found another venue to launch out of, but is concerned about the dangers facing small crafts who will continue to launch at the bluff.
"We really care about what happens there and I wish the town would have spoken with me first. I could have given them some insight," she said. "We love the river. It saddens me the way it all happened."