Submerged Canoe Launch Is Built to Last


Central Florida park relies on water-resistant MoistureShield® Composite Decking

Casey's Clubhouse

Photo credit: Marion County, Florida, Parks & Recreation

Defending decks, docks and boardwalks from rot and damaging insects typically means keeping boards high and dry. This is not always easy in moist climates such as that in Florida, and especially for an in-water access ramp to serve canoes, kayaks and inner tubes.

When the Marion County Florida Parks & Recreation Department built a new river access at the Blue Run of Dunnellon Park (opened April 2012), it chose MoistureShield composite decking for its durability and good looks. The water- and insect-resistant deck boards enabled the county to extend a 12-foot wide ramp directly into the Rainbow River without worries of degradation.

To enable full submersion and ground contact, MoistureShield decking and railing is manufactured with an innovative process that fully encapsulates wood fibers in polyethylene plastic. The products are composed of 95% recycled content, including discarded milk jugs, grocery sacks, plastic wrap and wood pallets, which helps support green building goals.

"In Florida we have a challenge when it comes to dealing with outdoor construction: heat and humidity join to really test any material," said Jim Couillard, PLA, ASLA, landscape architect with the Marion County Park & Recreation Department. "Lumber does not last as long as you would think, so composite decking is a smart choice."

Casey's Clubhouse

Photo credit: Marion County, Florida, Parks & Recreation

The Blue Run river access ramp is designed to make it easier for the approximately 40,000 paddle craft enthusiasts and tubers that use the park each year to get in and out of the water safely, without eroding the riverbanks. The 80-foot long ramp includes a 15-foot portion that extends into the river. Attached railing enhances safety and is part of providing accessibility for handicapped people. The splinter-free deck boards also provide comfort for barefoot park users

Couillard reports that Marion County Parks & Recreation uses MoistureShield composite decking for all of its deck/boardwalk projects. Its other installations include the KP Hole waterfront improvement project, Hope Boat Ramp and a 500-foot long boardwalk over a seasonal wetland.

"We believe in using long-lasting, durable materials that will lessen our long-term maintenance costs," said Couillard. "With MoistureShield we are able to avoid sanding, staining or sealing the surface decking, thus enabling staff to focus on other aspects of their day-to-day activities."

MoistureShield decking and railing is manufactured by Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc., (A.E.R.T.) and is available in multiple attractive colors, with realistic embossed wood grain patterns.