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Flat Rock to Point Mouillee Paddle Trip

Flat Rock to Point Mouillee

Flat Rock to Point Mouillee

HRWC hosted our last paddle trip of the season this past Saturday from Flat Rock to Point Mouillee. We were a smaller group for this trip- a total of eight. It started out as a beautifully chilly and sunny day. Upon arrival at the put-in, we were a bit concerned about the possibility of low water levels and the need to portage through parts of the trip, but this fear faded away quickly once we took to the water. The water was surely shallow due to the extreme lack of rain we’ve had this summer. Some paddlers estimate that water levels were down over four feet.

It began to rain while we were taking our ‘half way’ break and the sky became overcast, but after a while the sun came back out. Above all, this was a very interesting stretch of the river to paddle. The riverbanks throughout the trip were wild with grapevines and towering old trees. We also saw many signs that the river is well-used, such as many chairs set up along the river. The estuary area where the Huron River flows out into Lake Erie was a great destination to end the trip. It was a delicate and rare place to see two ecosystems (the river and the lake) meet. Thank you to all participants who came on the trip! And to those who weren’t able to join us, I hope that you’ll join us for a paddle trip again next summer! Finally, Thank you to Ron Sell and Barry Lonik for serving as HRWC’s expert paddle guides this summer!

This list of birds that were seen on our trip was created by Dea Armstrong, City of Ann Arbor Ornithologist.

Canada Goose  15
Mute Swan  2
Mallard  15
Mallard (Domestic type)  30
Pied-billed Grebe  3
Double-crested Cormorant  12
Great Blue Heron  10
Great Egret  35     most at the mouth of the river
Green Heron  6     Most of these birds were quite streaky on the breast.
Turkey Vulture  2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  3
Cooper’s Hawk  2
Bald Eagle  5     various ages, 2 adults, 1 secoond year that Icould see.
Killdeer  2
Solitary Sandpiper  3
peep sp.  4
Ring-billed Gull  30
Herring Gull  14
Rock Pigeon  17
Mourning Dove  10
Belted Kingfisher  7
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Blue Jay  43
American Crow  3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  X
Tree Swallow  X
swallow sp.  70
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
American Robin  10
Cedar Waxwing  35
Northern Cardinal  5
American Goldfinch  7
House Sparrow  4

Seven Lakes in Three Hours

Bruin Lake to Hell Paddle Trip

Bruin Lake to Hell Paddle Trip

Saturday was a cool, grey day for our paddle trip from Bruin Lake to Hell, Michigan.  When we arrived at Bruin Lake, steam was rising as the warm water met the cool air.  For a lakes region paddle trip, the weather was perfect- if it were a sunny August day, the lakes would have surely been covered in sailboats and motorboats, but our paddle group had the lakes all to ourselves!  With the exception of a few small fishing boats, the lakes were still and quiet.

Crossing Bruin Lake

We were a small group of paddlers, but we were a curious and adventurous group.  We set out from Bruin Lake and explored seven lakes in the Chain of Lakes region.  The small size of our group encouraged meaningful discussion about the lakes, the wildlife, the topography, the flora, and watershed protection.  Barry Lonik, volunteer paddle trip guide, and Kris Olsson, HRWC watershed ecologist, answered many questions as we explored the lakes. From Bruin Lake, we paddled against the current to Watson, Patterson and Woodburn lakes.  We experienced a small stretch of high winds, but for the most part, the water was calm and clear.  When we found the mouth of Portage Creek, we poked around a bit, paddling upstream through a stretch of the river densely lined with cattails.

Stretch of Portage Creek

Stretch of Portage Creek

Next, we paddled back across the lakes with the current to Blind Lake.  Blind Lake is a very special lake as it is the only lake in this region that is bright green in color.  It is also a very secluded lake because there is no public beach or boat launch.  There is a campground along Blind Lake connected to the Potowami Trail, but most people get to it by boat.  We took a short break here to rest and take in the gorgeous green water.  Then, we pressed on to Halfmoon Lake, Hi-Land Lake, and finally the dam in Hell where we ended the trip.

Exploring Halfmoon Lake

Exploring Halfmoon Lake

It was a great trip overall thanks to a great group of folks, calm waters on the lakes, and refreshingly cool weather.  Please join us on our paddle trips next summer!

If you have suggestions for the paddle trips, please contact Emily at recreation@hrwc.org.

Full Moon Paddle Trip

A peaceful evening paddling under the moonlight.

Full Moon Paddle

Yesterday’s paddle trip was a special recreational offering by HWRC and a gem of an experience.  Most of the paddle trips we offer are distance paddle trips starting at ‘point A’ and ending, many hours later, at ‘point B’.  This summer, our paddle trips have included challenging lake crossings, interesting encounters of wildlife, a stretch of residential use, and high traffic on the river.  Each of these occurrences have added to the excitement, spurred great conversations, and increased the educational value of the trips.  But yesterday the water was calm, our surroundings were natural, and we had the lakes to ourselves!  However, we did see many fantastic birds, and thanks to Dea Armstrong (City of Ann Arbor Ornithologist) we kept a trip list to record our sightings!  Our trip list of birds includes a hummingbird, purple martins, and a family of sand hill cranes!

Pickerel Lake

The trip started out on the tiny beach at Pickerel Lake in the Pinckney Recreation Area.  With a small group of paddlers, we gathered together out on the water for an educational discussion led by Barry Lonik on how the local landscape was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago.  He also explained how this area was first settled and how the land in the Pinckney Recreation Area was later protected from development.  In the middle of lake and in the middle of our discussion, a pair of swimmers joined us to explain how the Friends of Pickerel Lake fought to eliminate motorized boat use on the lake!  What a great success for the health of the lake and for its visitors!  After the discussion, our group leisurely paddled around the lake, exploring banks strewn with sedges, reeds, and tamaracks.  We had a great group of folks on the water who savored their surroundings and enjoyed the relaxed nature of the trip.

Sand Hill Cranes at Crooked Lake

From Pickerel Lake, we paddled through a narrow channel lined with pickerelweed, arrowhead, purple fringed orchids, and lily pads.  Barry led us through this channel to Crooked lake, where we got our first glimpse of the full moon and saw a family of sand hill cranes feeding in the lily pads.  We observed them for a while as they fed near their nest and then continued paddling to Crooked Lake Campground.  HRWC staff member Pam Labadie was waiting for us at our campsite with a roaring campfire, s’mores fixings, and plenty of chairs to rest.  Upon the request of Dea Armstrong, many of us made our s’mores with potato chips stuffed in between the marshmallow and chocolate!  Salty-Sweet, as Dea would say.  We all enjoyed the fire into the evening and paddled back to Pickerel Lake under the moonlight.  Thanks to everyone for a great trip!

Potato Chip S'mores

NOTE: the last two paddle trips are  full and registration is closed. Please join us next summer!

If you have any suggestions for summer recreation events, please contact Emily at recreation@hrwc.org.

Fifth Annual Baseline Lake Swim

HRWC hosted its Fifth Annual Baseline Lake Swim on Sunday!  The Huron River flows through Baseline Lake north of Dexter in the Chain of Lakes region. Every year, HRWC hosts this swim across Baseline Lake to celebrate the health of the watershed and the Huron River’s status as the cleanest urban river in Michigan.

It was a warm and sunny day on the lake- excellent swimming conditions- and we had a very happy crowd of swimmers! This HRWC tradition is a one-mile swim across Baseline Lake and back to the dock at the Michigan Sailing Club. This year we had a few swimmers swim the course twice for two-mile swim. After the swim, we gathered at the Sailing Club for great company, refreshments, breakfast, and a beautiful view of Baseline Lake. Please join us next year for this exciting event!

Our thanks to Baseline Lake residents Melinda Colquitt and Suzanne Van Appledorn and Michigan Sailing Club member Donna Snyder for their help making this event happen every year.

Thanks to Paul Cousins for volunteering his time at the event.

Thanks to the Commodore, Kevin Bosley, of the Michigan Sailing Club for his hard work and support at this event.

Thanks to our safety paddlers Deborah Wolter, Peter Margules, Barry Lonik, Gerry Neumeier, Bob Jack, Donald Jacobson, Lynn Jenkinson, Dea Armstrong, Mike Brooks, and Robin Brooks.

Walk Along the Huron

HRWC hosted a Walk Along the Huron on Saturday with our own Kris Olsson, Watershed Ecologist, and one of our expert Bioreserve Project volunteers Robert Ayotte, who is an adjunct Forest Ecologist.

It was a sunny summer day at Huron Meadows Metropark. With a group of twenty-four hikers, we had a range of interest in local geology, plant and tree  identification, insect identification, and natural history. Kris started off the walk with a lesson in how the land was impacted by glaciers thousands of years ago, leaving behind soil and rock, and how the Huron River later cut through the land to appear as it is today. In addition, Kris presented the many different ecosystems we would see throughout our walk, including various types of wetlands and forests.

Our Walk along the Beech Alley trail began with a word on invasive trees such as the Autumn Olive and the Buckthorn. Then, we continued walking down into a wetland area where we saw skunk cabbage, identified poison ivy, and many types of sedges.

The trail took us past a steep cliff along the Huron River, through an area full of Jack Pine trees, and even past a small strip of prairie where the daisies and goldenrod were getting ready to bloom. It was truly an information-packed walk. Thank you to Robert Ayotte for guiding this Walk Along the Huron with us and thank you to all of the participants who joined us for this event!

If you’re interested in joining us on a Bioreserve Project land assessment, please contact Kris at kolsson@hrwc.org.

2012 Single Fly Tournament

Photo taken by Haley Buffman of Source to Sea Photography, 2012.

It was a great day for fly fishing on the Huron River and for meeting new anglers.  The event raised $2,000 for HRWC and will be used for the RiverUp! project.  HRWC greatly values fly fisherman for their stewardship throughout the watershed.  Many times, they serve as our eyes and ears out in the field when we cannot be there.  Our thanks to Schultz Outfitters, Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited, and Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery for supporting this event!

Congratulations to all of the winners of the Tournament! 

First Place Team: James Hughes & Jim Schultz, Total of 696 Points

Second Place Team: Jen Mironas & Kurt Kopala, Total of 646 Points

Third Place Team: John Schultz & Brandon Scero, Total of 542 Points

Biggest Fish: Joe Piontek, 16″

Most Fish: Kurt Kopala, 18

To view a photo gallery of the event taken by local Photographer Haley Buffman of Source to Sea Photography, click HERE

 There are many summer recreational events coming up at HRWC including a walk along the river, paddle trips, a lake swim, a geocache event, and Huron River Day. If you are interested in any of these events please contact Emily to register at recreation@hrwc.org.

Huron Meadows to Zukey Lake Tavern Paddle Trip

The HRWC paddle trip this past Saturday was a great turnout!  Not only did we have many paddlers, but we had many guides and HRWC staff members with us.  Among the expert guides were Ron Sell, Barry Lonik, and Robert Jack.  From HRWC, Elizabeth Riggs and Kris Olsson participated in the trip.  In addition, Joan Martin, a retired HRWC staff member of 20 years joined the trip!  Needless to say, there were many Huron River advocates and watershed experts.

The trip started at Huron Meadows Metropark and headed toward the chain of lakes.  This is an interesting part of the river because paddlers can observe the impacts of development on the river and the importance of riparian buffer zones.  When we arrived at Strawberry Lake, we were met with very high winds.  This was the most challenging stretch of the day, but we persevered and paddled across against the wind.  Finally, we crossed Zukey Lake, which was much calmer and a nice way to wind down the trip.  Our trip ended at Zukey Lake Tavern, where we gathered for a tasty bite to eat and shared stories about the paddle trip! 

Thanks to the volunteers, HRWC Staff, and all of the paddlers for a great trip!

The next paddle trip, the Full Moon Paddle, is on Tuesday, July 31st at 6:30 in the Pinckney Recreation Area.  Contact Emily to register at recreation@hrwc.org

Windy Fly Fishing Adventures with AATU

This past weekend, HRWC partnered with Mike Mouradian of Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited (AATU) to teach four exciting, hands-on, and informative fly fishing lessons. The sky was sunny and blue over Gallup Park, but the thirty mile per hour winds made for quite a fly-casting adventure for many of our beginners. The weekend started off with an ambitious group of parents and children in the family class Saturday morning. Eagerness to learn the art of fly fishing continued through both of our women’s classes, and finally the general class.  Participants learned to set up their fly rods, to fly cast many different ways on the lawn, to tie the most important knots, and at the end of each class, participants applied their new knowledge and fly fished along the Huron River! In addition, Mike taught an introduction on the history of fly fishing, the life cycle and metamorphosis of flies, and where and how to find the best fly fishing spots! It was weekend full of valuable information and memorable experiences on the river. We hope that you will consider joining us for next summer’s fly fishing lessons!

Our thanks to Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited, Ann Arbor State Bank, and Trader Joe’s for sponsoring this event. And thanks to our many volunteers for coming out including folks from Colton Bay Outfitters, Dardevle Detroit Fishing Lures, and AATU.

Proud Lake to Milford Paddle Trip

Group Photo at Proud Lake

We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day this past Saturday on our first paddle trip of the summer! Twenty-one canoes and kayaks put-in at the Proud Lake Recreation Area Saturday morning. We had a great group, with a mix of ages and paddling expertise. Everyone enjoyed the calm waters, the cool breeze, and the sunny sky, which made the shady spots along the river great places to slow down or take a break.

We stopped for a lunch break at Heavner Canoe Livery, where Al Heavner  surprised us with ice cream! After that short and sweet stop, we continued our journey and observed painted turtles, herons, egrets, and one of us even found a spider tagging along in our kayak! Our expert paddlers Ron Sell, Barry Lonik, and Gerry Neumeier guided us throughout the three-hour trip with ease. The old bridge in Milford, built in 1888, marked the end of the journey. This paddle trip was an excellent start to a summer full of recreation events at HRWC.

Thank you to Ron Sell, Barry Lonik, Gerry Neumeier, Elizabeth Riggs, Al Heavner, and to all of our Paddlers to a great paddle trip down the Huron River!

If you are interested in joining the upcoming paddle trip on June 9th from Huron Meadows Metropark to Zukey Lake Tavern, please visit our summer recreation events page and contact Emily Provonsha at recreation@hrwc.org to register.

Peregrine Kayaks Demo Day on Kent Lake Beach

Date: May 6th, 2012

Time: Noon – 4pm

Location: Kent Lake Beach at Island Lake State Rec Area  12950 E. Grand River Ave Brighton, MI 48116

Peregrine Demo Admission: $10



(12:30-1:00)  Overview and Demo of all Peregrine Products

(1:00-1:45)    Comfort Safety & Rescue

(1:45-2:30)    How we Build Our Kayaks

(2:30-3:15)    Advance Your Skills

HRWC is partnering with Peregrine Kayaks, a new local company that builds beautiful hand-crafted kayaks. Please visit their website for information on the design and construction of their kayaks at www.peregrinekayaks.com. Join us out on Kent Lake this Sunday from noon to 4pm for a demo hosted by Peregrine Kayaks. The first seminar and demonstration is all about increasing your comfort, safety and rescue skills out on the water. It will discuss outfitting, comfort, and tips on how to organize your kayak. There will also be a workshop on how Peregine designs, tests and builds the hand-crafted kayaks. It will also cover the nuts and bolts of maintaining and repairing kayaks. The last session, called Advance Your Skills, will offer techniques to track straight, turn, and go sideways! Snacks and refreshments will be provided all day.

We hope that you’ll enjoy us for this fun and informational event out on Kent Lake with Peregrine Kayaks!

Peregrine Kayaks is donating all proceeds of this event to HRWC!

Register and sign-up at www.peregrinekayaks.com  

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