A new river access point is being built on the French Broad River in Asheville’s River Arts District — a boat ramp on Riverside Drive just south of the Smith Bridge. The City of Asheville partnered with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to make this project happen.
While the ramp and dock are in place, construction is not complete; installation of the driveway, parking lot, signage and landscaping will be built next.
This is the first public boat ramp in Asheville. Unlike other public access points, which have were constructed as wooden or stone stairs, this boat launch is a great place for people with trailers or anglers with bigger boats to get in and out of the river. According to Sara Sherman with NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the idea was to increase and diversify ways that people can get in to the river.
“The Jean Webb river access steps renovation and new Craven Street Bridge Boating Access Area projects will provide additional public recreational access opportunities to the French Broad River,” said Sherman. “These projects are made possible by the generous partnership with City of Asheville. The Commission is extremely appreciative to have been included in the vision and planning for the River Arts District projects.”
Sara and her crew are also responsible for rebuilding the river access at Jean Webb Park earlier this year. The new steps were constructed so that it would be safer and easier to get in and out of the river; the materials used will last longer too. Best of all is that the construction crew added ADA accessible parking spaces nearby, which opens up river recreation to more people in our community. The new steps are just downstream of the former access point. This spot has been very popular with kayakers, canoeists and tubers in the past few years.
The City, Duke Energy and NC Wildlife Resource Commission will continue coordinating construction in the area during the next few month to get the new boat ramp opened.
Look for the new boat launch at the Smith Bridge to be officially open this summer.
During the next three years, this and other river access sites in the RADTIP construction area may be temporarily closed due to construction in the area. Check the City’s RADTIP construction webpage for updates. You can also sign up for email updates on that page.