ROXBURY, NJ – Visitors to Roxbury’s Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna would be able to navigate the picturesque pond on rented canoes, kayaks and paddleboards as soon as next month if a plan is approved by town officials.
The township has issued a request for proposals (RFP) from companies interested in renting the personal watercraft. It set a date of May 3 for replies, said Roxbury Recreation Director Keith Knudsen.
Unless another, better, vendor comes forward, the likely provider of the rentals will be Ramsey Outdoor, which has a store in Roxbury Mall. It was Ramsey Outdoor that approached Roxbury with the idea last year. The township – by law – must allow other possible providers to make proposals.
Ramsey Outdoor Vice President Michael Levine said his initial inquiry “didn’t go anywhere” However, this year Knudsen and others in town government are more receptive to the idea.
“The Recreation Advisory Committee and Safety Committee reviewed this idea and made a recommendation to council to try a pilot program at Horseshoe Lake for the 2017 summer season,” Knudsen said Wednesday. “If approved by the council, this program could begin as soon as mid-May and continue as late as the fall.”
Knudsen and Levine pointed out that Ramsey Outdoor has experience managing a personal watercraft rental operation at a public lake; it’s been doing it for about three years at Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve on the former Haledon Reservoir.
“Based on the success there, we thought we would also try one out here,” Levine said. “We have a store in Ramsey, about 15 minutes from Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve. We thought a similar operation closer to the Roxbury store would be nice.”
He noted the company has been “doing paddle events” for more than 25 years.
The RFP for the Horseshoe Lake service calls for renting 12 kayaks, four canoes and eight paddleboards. It says the vendor would have to provide a staff of two to four people on the island in Horseshoe Lake, where they would set up a 10-foot by 10-foot canopy with a table to greet the public and rent the equipment.
Levine said Ramsey proposes keeping the watercraft in a container unit that would stay at the park.
He said the company envisions charging the same fees it gets at Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve: $20 per hour and $10 for every additional hour.
Ramsey offered to donate to help with a trail cleanup day, host a free demo day and give Roxbury $500 in merchandise or gift cards that can be used for fundraising purposes.
Although a lifeguard is not envisioned, Levine said Ramsey would provide life jackets that renters would be required to wear. It would also have a staffer, trained in basic rescue techniques, out on the water when patrons are on the lake, he said.