Case Study – Longest Floating Boardwalk
Floating boardwalks are expansive floating docks that allow people to walk, bike or run over water or marshland, making these areas more accessible. The longest floating boardwalk in the U.S. is on Lake Weatherford in Weatherford, Texas. EZ Dock and the Weatherford Parks, Rec and Special Events department collaborated to create a floating trail solution for the lake. The goal was to bring more recreational options to the area despite the lake being prone to low water levels.
Read on to learn how EZ Dock turned this concept into the longest floating boardwalk trail.
The boardwalk trail at Lake Weatherford is about 10 feet wide and, at 4,313 feet long, runs for a little under a mile. The boardwalk stretches across the lake to connect East Lake Dr. to West Lake Dr. The trail is flat from end to end, allowing for easy access and low-effort walking. The boardwalk also winds in different directions and through various lake areas to give visitors a variety of perspectives and scenic views.
Water levels at Lake Weatherford can fluctuate between 2 and 8 feet throughout the year, and while some areas are more shallow and marsh-like, others are deeper. With a maximum depth of 39 feet, the lake is relatively shallow and prone to low water levels, especially during dry periods. The Weatherford Parks, Recreation and Special Events department wanted a way for people to enjoy the lake despite being prone to low water levels. The floating boardwalk creates the perfect solution.
We made The Lake Weatherford floating trail with beige polyurethane to resemble wood and blend in with the surroundings without being toxic to the environment or requiring high maintenance. We also included safety rails along the trail and intermittent bench platforms to provide visitors with a place to rest, birdwatch or simply enjoy the scenery.
We anchored the floating boardwalk to the lake bed, though it rises and falls with the water levels. This design was essential to compensate for the fluctuating water levels. Since the boardwalk floats above the water despite its changing depth, the entire boardwalk remains flat and above the water’s surface.
The floating boardwalk project has left a lasting impact on Lake Weatherford and the surrounding area. The success of Texas’s floating boardwalk has led to several community benefits, including:
- Increased appeal to the area: Weatherford, Texas, isn’t as well-known as bigger cities or destinations with flashy attractions to attract tourists. Now that it’s home to the country’s longest floating boardwalk, Weatherford gained appeal from locals and tourists. The city and lake have more to offer residents, tourists and people passing through. The boardwalk has become an attraction that the town can use to attract visitors to the area.
- Encourages physical activity: Adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, while children need at least an hour of daily activity. However, many areas of the country lack places for adults and kids to get the physical activity they need to stay healthy. The floating boardwalk at Lake Weatherford provides a place for people of all ages and abilities to spend time outside, engaged in physical activity.
- Improves lake access: The fluctuating water levels can make many parts of Lake Weatherford challenging to use or even completely inaccessible. The floating boardwalk helps to improve access to the lake in many areas. Visitors can walk across various parts of the lake, allowing them to experience different perspectives and views unattainable from the banks. More people can now access and enjoy more areas of Lake Weatherford.
Features of EZ Trail Floating Dock Walkway
We design EZ Dock floating walkways to add safety and value to various types of waterfront properties. We use our floating trail systems to effectively meet your needs without causing harmful disruption to the surrounding environment. Here are a few features of our EZ Trail® floating walkway system that sets us apart from other boardwalk and docking options:
- Less invasive: We design EZ Dock floating docks to be as minimally invasive as possible. The dock’s light beige color helps the boardwalk blend in with the surrounding environment. Floating docks also avoid disturbing ecosystems by floating on top of the water rather than requiring invasive digging in the lake beds. Additionally, EZ Trail allows light to reach the water below, encouraging natural flora growth beneath the dock and allowing the ecosystem to thrive.
- Easy installation: Our floating docks are easy to install, allowing you to make use of the dock and your property quickly. Traditional dock installation can be a burden — we simplified the installation process, so many of our clients can handle the installation themselves. This feature is especially beneficial in applications that require you to remove your docks during the off-season.
- Move or add sections: EZ Dock floating dock sections are also easy to move, add to or reconfigure, allowing you to add sections and change the dock route as you please. For example, the Weatherford Parks, Recreation and Special Events department could alter the boardwalk to travel through different parts of the lake. They can also choose to add new paths to branch off in new directions.
- ADA accessible: The EZ Trail floating dock walkway and many other EZ Dock products meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. Adhering to these guidelines makes our docks universally accessible — people of all ability levels can access and use our docks.
- Longevity and versatility: EZ Dock floating docks offer unmatched longevity and versatility compared to traditional docking options. Our polyethylene materials are significantly more durable and longer-lasting than treated wood docks and platforms. Our walkways also offer more versatility with increased layout options and water and land use.
- Personal, business or commercial use: You can use EZ Dock walkways and docks for various needs across personal, business and commercial applications, including parks, municipal lands, residential properties and campgrounds. They require minimal maintenance and provide long-term value to any property.
Learn More About EZ Dock Products
You can read about EZ Dock floating dock walkways in numerous other case studies, including at NASA Stennis Space Center and Standing Bear Lake in Nebraska, the latter of which the boardwalk at Lake Weatherford inspired. Explore these other case studies to learn more about how you can use our products in various applications. Whether you have a vision for your floating dock or boardwalk or need some inspiration, we’re happy to work with you to find a docking solution that fits your needs.