Fix the Shem Creek boat landing

  • Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:01 a.m., Updated: Saturday, July 27, 2013 1:46 a.m.
A potential site for a kayak/paddleboat launch on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant.

On July 25 I read with interest a short front-page piece which suggested that the Town of Mount Pleasant would be funding the dredging of Shem Creek alongside the new “commercial” docks at Shem Creek park.

This action would take place concurrently with the Corps of Engineers dredging the mouth of the creek.

Mount Pleasant recreational boaters (motorized and non-motorized) deserve and are in much greater need for long overdue investments in maintenance and expansion of the Harry Hallman Landing at Shem Creek.

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission is responsible for boat landings, but the town has clear standing to take the lead politically and financially to repair and expand this facility, which is rapidly falling into deplorable condition and functional obsolescence.

This is one of the most heavily used landings in the county. As the population has grown, so, too, has the number of boat owners. Adding increased pressure to the already sub-standard facility is the exponential rise in non-motorized users.

The condition of the landing is getting worse every year and now has deteriorated past the point of inconvenience to unsafe.

Broken and missing cleats are the biggest issue, making it difficult to tie off vessels, and at lower tides one side of the floating dock rests on the accumulated sediment and pitches users steeply inside toward the ramp. It’s a very dangerous condition.

This is the only dock at the ramp and on weekends it is shared by boaters, kayakers and standup paddleboarders (SUPs).

There is, however, room for another small dock on the other side of the two-lane ramp.

Adding a dock opposite the current one would alleviate the dangerous competition for ramp and dock space between boaters and the rapidly growing numbers of kayakers and SUPs which have the potential to result in accidental injuries as well as verbal and physical confrontations.

These serious safety issues are being ignored in favor of tourist-centered site improvements with pricetags nearing $10 million.

The most urgent repairs, replacing the broken and missing cleats, would cost less than $1,000 and could be completed in half a day.

A little more costly but also inexpensive would be clearing the mud out from under the listing section of dock (about 15 feet by 8 feet).

Adding a dock to separate non-motorized users from powerboaters and improving signage would cost much more, but relative to the taxpayers’ investment in tourism and to the benefits realized, it’s a very small price to pay.

If you use the ramp at Shem Creek please contact the Town of Mount Pleasant and Charleston County PRC and demand that a meager portion of our taxes and user fees be spent on safety and access improvements at the Harry Hallman Landing on Shem Creek.

Failing to do so will ultimately lead to accidents, injuries and confrontations — if it has not already.

Gary Brown

Ruby Drive

Mount Pleasant

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