Mayor Walsh Announces Kayak/Canoe Launch at Inner Harbor

Published on May 25, 2023

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and community leaders today celebrated the installation of a kayak/canoe launch in the Syracuse Inner Harbor.  The launch, located near the intersection of Bear St. and Van Rensselaer St., connects to the Onondaga Creekwalk and is an ADA compliant floating aluminum dock with access ramp for walkers and chair users, and a ramp to slide watercraft to the dock.  The dock has a roller system for ease of launching and is less than a 1-minute walk from ample parking.  The floating dock will be available May 1 to October 31, and placed in storage during winter months.

This launch is the most downstream of the three kayak/canoe access points planned for Onondaga Creek.  An access point was opened at Meachem Field in 2022 and a kayak/canoe ramp is being planned for Kirk Park.  Users can carry-down personal watercrafts, a kayak or canoe, from the state lot or they can rent one from the Syracuse Parks & Recreation. Parks & Recreation rentals at the Inner Harbor will be available this summer through August 19.

“This is a perfect example of what happens when community-minded individuals get together to come up with ideas to better our city,” said Common Councilor Jimmy Monto. “The harbor has been underutilized for decades; we are changing that little by little. Great work!” 

The project also saw participation and input from local groups like disability advocacy group Arise Syracuse and the Creek Rats, a local kayak/canoe group in Syracuse. The Creek Rats participated in the launch development by giving input, aiding with site brush clearing, and helping with restoration.  Arise Syracuse also provided input on the project development. 

“We've been in support of the idea of a launch site at Bear Street as a link for those paddling down Onondaga Creek into the Inner Harbor and those putting into access Onondaga Lake,” said Creek Rats cofounder Steve Seleway. “We're well-pleased with the results and believe it is a great addition to the Inner Harbor.”

The launch officially opened May 25, 2023.

Kayak rental information can be found on

Quick Facts on Kayak Rentals

  • Available June 2 – Aug. 19, 2023 for use in the Inner Harbor Waterway only (no use beyond Hiawatha Boulevard Bridge)
  • Only Fridays, 5 to 7 p.m. and
  • Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 45-minute rental sessions
  • $5 per rental
  • Pre-registration required on and opens 7 days prior to the reservable date.
  • Must be 18 or older to reserve a kayak. Must be at least 14 years old to operate a single kayak. Minors must always be accompanied on the water by parent or guardian responsible for kayak rental.
  • Personal flotation devices must be worn at all times.
  • Refunds will not be issued unless Parks cancels due to weather.