New Docks at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Environmentally-friendly docks built by Northlands Job Corps

This fall, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum unveiled new floating docks at our waterfront built by Northlands Job Corps. These new docks increase public accessibility to the Museum’s waterfront and on-water activities, while also minimizing negative environmental impacts on the land and lake.

The waterfront at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum serves as a floating Museum and on-water home for our fleet of replica boats, where the public can step aboard boats such as the replica canal schooner Lois McClure. In addition, the new docks play a key role from spring to fall as thousands of middle and high school students and adults use the docks to participate in the Museum’s youth and adult rowing programs and races. These inclusive rowing programs, open to anyone interested, use the six- and four-oar wooden rowing gigs built by high school students in our boat shop. These students launch a new boat into the lake each year.  

After 20 years, as the natural lifecycle of the Museum’s former docks came to an end, we scoped out new plans to replace and improve the docks to make them more accessible and more environmentally friendly. The new docks are wider and have a central steel support railing. In addition, the flotation has been upgraded to marine-grade recycled plastic cubes to reduce microplastic pollution into the lake.

To construct these new docks, we turned to Northlands Job Corps of Vergennes. A longtime partner and friend of the Museum, their building trades teams have constructed exhibit pedestals, benches, and picnic tables for the museum in previous years. Northlands Job Corps not only agreed to construct the new docks for us, they also generously provided all the building materials needed for the 165 feet of docks. Although the COVID-19 pandemic changed daily operations for all, the talented building trades crew at Northlands Job Corps completed the docks ahead of schedule. The new docks were then floated down Otter Creek from Vergennes to the museum’s campus on North Harbor, and installed this summer. As we wrap up our fall rowing season and start to plan our 2022 season, the new docks will now play an important role in our work to share the history and ecology of Lake Champlain, and inspire stewardship and a new generations of leaders of all ages for the lake and its communities.

In addition to Northands Job Corps who constructed the new floating docks, our environmentally-friendly new docks and gangway were also generously supported by the Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation, the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services, Building Communities Grant, and The WaterWheel Foundation.

About Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Founded in 1985 with the mission to preserve and share the cultural and natural heritage of the Lake Champlain region, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is building a healthy future and community for Lake Champlain. Through education, exhibits and historic boats, research, and collections, the museum connects people to the region’s history, ecology, and archaeology and creates opportunities for hands-on learning that will last a lifetime. Year-round education programs serve more than 2,500 K-12 students, as well as hundreds of educators locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.lcmm.org.

About Northlands Job Corps

Northlands Job Corps Center has been established in Vergennes since 1979.  The Center is a residential vocational school operated by Education and Training Resources out of Bowling Green, KY for the Department of Labor.  Northlands offers 7 basic trades and 1 advanced trade.  The students who were responsible for the dock building were enrolled in the Building Construction Technology trade, operated by the Home Builders’ Institute.  These students and their instructor, Todd Lossmann, (from Bristol, VT) fabricated the docks from plans as approved by the Maritime Museum.  The materials and labor costs were donated by Northlands as part of a yearly Career Technical Skills Training project. Learn more about Northlands Job Corps at https://northlands.jobcorps.gov/.

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement (LC – 00A006950) to NEIWPCC in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

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