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Nissequogue River State Park to Serve as Launch Site for Canoe Rentals

Nissequogue River Canoe and Kayak Rental will now operate at the Nissequogue State Park Marina.

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."

Dan D April 13, 2013 at 12:51 AM
This decision couldn't possibly have anything to do the owner of the restaurant not wanting canoe and kayak launching near his establishment, would it?
John K Massaro April 13, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Bingo...
new guy April 13, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Not true. Anybody who knows those involved know that there is no love for George. He's a thorn in the side for anyone who is remotely close to the bluff. Bottom line the currents are dangerous. Linda acknowledged that also.
Johnny Boom Bats April 13, 2013 at 07:21 AM
A good compromise. Better for all, especially for the people that rent. Will kinda miss the screaming matches between Linda and George. If that character could put half the effort in the food he serves...
new guy April 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Your right, or better yet they could have worked together. Rent a kayak/canoe and get a burger and coke when your done. Or breakfast before you leave the bluff.
sally pruslow April 13, 2013 at 01:59 PM
sally pruslow I am glad there is a resolution to this situation. I'm sure Linda and her staff are glad they don'y have to deal with George any more. People in the community were going to miss those trips.
Dan D April 13, 2013 at 04:35 PM
The currents are a hazard on the ramp during certain parts of the tide cycle. This wasn't an issue when launching paddle boats off the beach and out of the current was the normal and safe way for handling the current. Then the turf wars started and seemingly at the moment, George may be getting what he wanted all along. Then again, I've had many people tell me they were in Kings Park renting canoes or kayaks to paddle the river and realized there was a restaurant there that they later patronized. No one ever told me they went to eat at the ODI and realized they could rent canoes and kayaks there. As the ODI begins it's 31st year of operations, I wonder how much the restaurant benefitted from all the free publicity they received from all the people who came to rent paddle boats. That will be gone now. Maybe Bob and Linda operating out of the state park wll be a good thing. They won't have to deal with the current. Resident/non resident usage rights and parking won't be an issue. It may even raise awareness and revenue for the park. Maybe a concession stand or snack bar like what is at many state and local parks will make business sense and can be opened there. Paddlers can get a drink, some ice cream or food.
Jon G June 26, 2013 at 03:54 PM
The truth of the situation is this: Before lawsuits were filed against the canoe companies, canoe renters were allowed to use the beach, which was a safe landing and launching spot. The courts found that the beach (below the high-water mark) is public property, and part of the Greenbelt trail, thus making it legal for canoe renters to continue using the beach as a landing and launching zone. Once this judgement was reached, the restaurant owners switched their focus to suing the town of Smithtown, who quickly decided to avoid the hassle of a lengthy lawsuit and began to impose restrictions on the canoe rentals, the main one being the discontinued use of the beach to launch and land rental boats, and only rental boats. Why is it unsafe for a rental company to use the beach behind the ODI, but private canoers and kayakers are legally allowed to launch and land there? Make no mistake, the boat ramps at the Bluff are not safe to launch and land canoes, kayaks or paddle boards. Those who have spent time at the Bluff know that even jet-skis and smaller motor boats are also susceptible to capsizing depending on the tide. The issue here is, why were canoe rentals banned from the beach when a court ruled this small section as public land? Question the safety, rate the pros and cons, but don't forget to ask why a small, local business, which happened to benefit any business in its proximity due to the droves of people that came to the Bluff to rent canoes, was not renewed its lease from the town of Smithtown because of safety issues imposed by the very same town. After you ponder that for a while, ask why the owner of the ODI now has upwards of tens canoes and ten double kayaks on his property.
sally pruslow June 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Sally Pruslow Jon your right on...It is really interesting how an election year, specially this one, can bring out the best in our town board and our local leadership. Let the games continue... It will be along summer but wait till September.

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