The St. Lawrence County Seat

Recreation: Mountain Warriors Hit the Water on 9/11

September 12, 2021

Canton Recreation to add ADA Kayak and Canoe Launch in Spring ‘22

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, members of the Mountain Warrior Sled Hockey team, based out of Fort Drum Army Base, enjoyed a morning on the water at Taylor Park Beach in Canton.

Tom Lazore of Massena and Allen Fifield of Ogdensburg were on site to test a set of kayaks outrigged with stabilizers. The duo banished their chairs on the beach and found their balance in the shallows before paddling upstream on beautiful fall morning.

Lazore was deployed to Afghanistan shortly after the attacks on 9/11. Fifield had not been in a kayak since his teenage years.

Led by the fundraising efforts of Mark McKenna, the Canton Recreation Department is planning the purchase an ADA Canoe and Kayak Launch to be located at Taylor Park, allowing greater access to the scenic waters of the Grasse River.

McKenna, a Canton native and longtime hockey coach founded the Mountain Warrior Sled Hockey team in 2011 after observing a wounded soldier have difficulty accessing exercise equipment in a gym on Fort Drum. McKenna, a Fort Drum Civil Engineer, recognized a need to provide wounded soldiers and athletes with an opportunity to continue to be physical and compete in competitive athletic activities.

“This is the first of many steps to increase accessibility to all of our recreation facilities. The launch will not only improve access for our disabled community, but for all individuals who need assistance getting in or out of a canoe or kayak,” stated Canton Recreation Director, Meghan Richardson. Richardson continued, “Having the support of Mark and his team is an invaluable resource as we strive to implement the best methods for improving access to recreation programs and facilities.”

Funding is off to a great start with a $10,000 contribution from Peter Wyckoff (and family) and Brookfield Renewable Energy committing $5,000. You can contribute to the project by sending a check to the Village of Canton [60 Main St., Canton, NY 13617] with the memo of “ADA Boat Launch”.

If preparation stays on schedule, the goal is to commemorate the launch at the 60th Canton Canoe Weekend on May 7 and 8, 2022, held annually at Taylor Park in early May.

Last modified: September 12, 2021

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