Archive for the ‘Huron River Water Trail’ Category
Day 5: Lower Huron Metropark to Lake Erie
6.5 hrs paddling
After another quiet and peaceful night camping, we’re up early for an 8 am start. Mike George arrives to accompany us as far as Oakwoods Metropark, and Jim Pershing, Superintendent for the Park arrives to bid us a Bon Voyage.
This next stretch of river is perhaps the best kept secret of the whole river. It’s surprisingly remote and mostly natural with few houses or intrusions; only negative is the constant noise of jet traffic overhead (choose a day with north winds if you can when paddling this stretch, as the jets will be taking off in the other direction). Herons, Kingfishers and Orioles escorted us along the banks. Sycamores, Catalpas and Redbuds provided the greenery. We didn’t glimpse the Paw Paw trees but knew they were there. Future Water Trail mile markers and sign posts will be a welcome addition as landmarks are few and far between. Highway and railroad bridges are soon passed and we enter the backwaters of the Flat Rock impoundment and Oakwoods Metropark, a wonderful stretch of oxbows and bayous.
Our weather karma wanes a little as the east wind gets funneled down the lake giving us a stiff headwind for the crossing. Mike George waves goodbye and heads for the Nature Center, and we set our sights on the right end of the Flat Rock Dam anticipating the portage and lunch stop ahead. Flat Rock Metals has graciously left the gate unlocked so the portage is surprisingly quick and easy, we move our gear to the bank below the low dam by the covered bridge and enjoy our well deserved lunch. Ten miles to go.
The current helps along for the next few miles and the woods gradually gives away to more open marsh and wetlands. A few more houses along the banks with some impressive metal breakwalls, and soon the Jefferson St bridge is in view. We pause to collect the group and marvel at the remains of the circa 1800 plank road [editor's note: the road built for the War of 1812 known as Hull's Trace] visible along the shoreline and ready for the last push across the river mouth to Pt. Mouillee. Kay, Klaus and Aileen are there to greet us with our shuttle vehicles await in the parking lot.
What a great adventure. I couldn’t have asked for better paddling companions and our shore support was wonderful. Once I get home and unpacked, notes and photos sorted, I’ll post a Trip Epilogue with more details and observations. Until then, thanks to all that made this adventure truly special.
Total river miles: 101.8
Total hours paddling: 28
Day 3: Hudson Mills to Superior Pond
6.5 hrs paddling
Total miles (so far) 60.09
On the water before 8 am. Up close and personal look at the tornado damage from March 15 2012. Some impressive “tornado art” just above Mill Creek. Great blue herons escorting us all the way down the river. Several elected to run Delhi Rapids; the rest of us chose to portage.
I forget how nice the stretch below Delhi is to paddle, must do it more often.
Our good paddling karma continued with a tailwind across Barton Pond, two egrets and an osprey inspired us on. Quick stop to salute the Huron River Watershed Council staff then on to lunch at the Argo Livery before tackling the Cascades. Be sure to stop and enjoy the Ned Sharples bench in front of the livery–he inspired many of us to paddle and enjoy and protect the river. We ran with empty boats without incident but all dragged our sterns on the rock on the last drop.
Easy run across Gallup Pond and quick portage over the Geddes Dam put us in Superior Pond. We discussed the history of this forgotten and peaceful stretch of river, waiving to the Governor and ogling the mansions on the high bank. We end the day at a secret campsite we’ve nicknamed “Superior Bluffs– a gated community”.
Two days, forty miles, four challenging portages to go…
All is going well for Ron and the crew. Visit HRWC on Facebook for more photos from their trip.
Day 2: Island Lake Camp to Hudson Mills
6.5 hrs paddling
2 hrs stopped
3.4 MPH moving avg
Peaceful camping overnight, no drinking water available on site. Paul Seelbach (one of the original Riverfesters) joined us in the evening for the rest of the trip. 8:00 am start on the water through one of the nicest stretches of the river. Deb and Klaus joined us at Place ways for the day. The rest of the morning was very pleasant paddle dodging fallen trees. First lunch at Huron Meadows, then on to the lakes.
Good paddling karma gave us light following breezes across Strawberry, Woodburn and Galleger Lakes and got us to Base Line where we stopped for second lunch at the Michigan Sailing Club. Paul explained how we were leaving the first phase of the river– upland wetland woodland and entering the section that works its way through the rocky, gravelly glacial moraines.
Mink, muskrat, great blue heron, orioles, catbirds, kingfishers, killdeer, cygnets riding on the back of a swan, owl (barred?), pileated woodpecker.
Many carp splashing, suckers along the bottom and small mouth bass. A fisherman at the rapids at Hudson Mills reported catching (and releasing) 27 this day.
Great day on the river, 60 some miles to go . . .
For the next five days, we’ll post blogs from Ron Sell and his merry crew of paddlers as they complete their through-paddle of the 104-mile long Huron River. We look forward to hearing about their adventures and sharing their observations with you.
A little over 20 years ago, Joan Martin (HRWC Adopt-A-Stream director emeritus) had the wonderful idea of getting a bunch of people together and paddling the whole length of the river. After a year of planning, her simple idea had grown into RIVERFEST, a nine-day celebration of the river from start to finish.
It seemed like time to do the trip again, see what has changed over 20 years. And armed with the new River Paddler’s Companion guide book, find out how close we have come to making a true water trail. Today a smaller group of 7 started the day at Heavner’s Canoe Livery headed to Lake Erie in five days. We’ll report along the way and share our findings as we go. Stay tuned….
Proud Lake to Island Lake canoe camp.
14.63 mi, 4 hrs 29 min
Beautiful weather, lots of birds and fishes. Light tail wind made the 3 mi crossing of Kent Lake a breeze. Two easy portages, nice clean water after the Kent Lake Dam. Canoe camp is very pleasant and secluded. Finished earlier than planned, lots of time to relax.
FLAT ROCK — The culmination of more than 10 years of work will be recognized at 4 p.m. today at Huroc Park with the groundbreaking for the Flat Rock-Oakwoods connector trail. HRWC will be there to celebrate the work of many partners over the past decade who made this important link happen. In addition, we’ll kickoff the Huron River Water Trail Paddlers Companion in this Trail Town.
Sponsored by the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, the one-mile trail will be the final piece of the east-west connector trail. The project includes construction of the path from Huroc Park to Oakwoods Metropark in Huron Township, work at a railroad crossing and route signage.
Funding for the $684,300 trail is provided by federal funds and a local match from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources.
The 24-mile east-west route stretches from Belleville Lake to the shores of Lake Erie. It encompasses nearly 20,000 acres, runs through four metroparks and follows the Huron River. In fact, just a few undeveloped trail miles in Van Buren Charter Township separates the downriver route from the Border to Border Trail system in Washtenaw County, an eventual 35-mile contiguous non-motorized path along the Huron River.
The ceremony will feature remarks from Rodney Stokes, special adviser for city placemaking for Gov. Rick Snyder; Vince Ranger, grant coordinator for the Michigan Department of Transportation; Mayor Jonathan Dropiewski; Tom Woiwode, Community Foundation Southeast Michigan’s Greenways Initiative director; John McCulloch, Huron-Clinton Metroparks director; Elizabeth Riggs, Huron River Watershed Council deputy director; and Anita Twardesky, co-chair of greenways initiative.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-12th District) is invited to attend.
Join us today at 4 p.m. to help celebrate the realization of a vision where residents and visitors come together to live, work and play on the shores of the Huron River.
Title: Huron River Water Trail Partners Meeting
Location: NEW Center, South Conference Room, 1100 N Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Description: Quarterly meeting of the Huron River Water Trail Partners. This meeting will focus on accessibility concerns and solutions for adaptive launches with guest speakers from the Downriver Limb Loss Support Group and KBE Precision Products, regional distributor of the E-Z Dock Launch system; and on the re-design of the website for the Water Trail with The Greenway Collaborative, Inc. Trail Towns Representatives and Partners will share their progress on the Water Trail development.
Start Time: 09:00
End Time: 11:30
While my co-workers are out of the office celebrating the holidays, the first real snowfall and the days growing longer, I am celebrating by myself — at my desk.
I am thrilled to give you a sneak preview of the Huron River Water Trail Paddler’s Companion.
After months of work, the 40-page Companion is ready for the printing press. You’ll be able to pick up your own copy starting with our table at the Quiet Water Symposium on March 2nd at Michigan State University.
Look for more details in 2013 on our website!
For the past year and some change, HRWC has been partnering with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and the Wolfpack to spark a river renaissance known as RiverUp! Our goal is a vibrant, robust and restored river that’s a destination for residents and tourists.
Learn about the ambitious renaissance underway for the Huron River.
Download the full-color report to read about year one accomplishments and the plans for the next three years:
- Making investments in river recreation with the Huron River Water Trail
- Stimulating local economies and improving the river’s health by remediating legacy pollution sites and locating river-friendly businesses along its shore
- Transforming the river corridor through linkages of hike-bike trails, art trails, natural areas and vital downtowns
Grab a paddle and join us in this boat. There’s room enough for everyone.
Photo: Huron River by Barbara Eckstein.
This past Saturday, I went to the ribbon cutting ceremony in Dexter for the Mill Creek Park, a 1.4-acre public park located in the heart of the downtown business district. Wow, is it beautiful. I know the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the Mill Pond was a weed-choked, stinky pond. Now we have an open central park with an amphitheater, trails, fishing piers and overlooks, boat access, benches, and pretty flowers and trees. And then there’s the creek. Anglers have spotted brown trout jumping this past week!
And the increased activity is palpable. Runners, walkers, and cyclists go by on the path, connecting to the downtown, the trails to the library, and to the river where there are trails completed or near completion both upstream and downstream to HCMA parks. There were a half dozen anglers and people learning to fly fish as Colton Bay and Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited folks were giving fly fishing demonstrations. And then the people ambling in from downtown Dexter. People who had just been to the farmers market, the bakery or running errands who came to the water edge to rest and watch.
The Mill Creek dam removal in 2008 sparked the idea of a central park in Dexter. Restoration included some in-stream and bank activities to enhance habitat, direct the stream, and slow flows. The Village of Dexter went to work establishing a vision for a vibrant, beautiful, and well connected park in downtown Dexter. The project includes an amphitheater, boardwalk, two boat launches, two observation and fishing decks and benches along the path.
The project cost $1.24 million with most of the money coming from grant funding. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provided $450,000, the Waterways Infrastructure Program gave $50,000, Washtenaw County assisted with $200,000 in funding, and DTE provided $4,000.
Congratulations to the Village of Dexter and Paul Cousins, Village council member and HRWC board member, who took the lead on the project. At the ribbon cutting on Saturday, Allison Bishop, Community Development Director at the Village, told me that she is receiving numerous calls from residents saying that Dexter is turning in to one of the coolest places to live and is very vibrant. The river is one of the “coolest” things we have going for us in SE Michigan and when we restore it by removing dams, improving access and recreation, and opening up economic opportunities, we are seeing a real river (and community) renaissance.
and more work to come:
A second phase of the park’s construction will probably begin within the next five years. A path to connect Hudson Mills Metropark to Mill Creek Park is slated for this fall/winter.
At Huron River Day on Sunday!
Over 70 H20 Heroes pledged to save water and energy with the help of a 5-minute shower timer at Sunday’s 32nd annual Huron River Day in Ann Arbor. The crowd braved the record warm weather to talk with HRWC volunteers and staff and get a photo with the H2O Hero, meet Congressman John Dingell, try a Huron Mystery Geocache Challenge hosted by the Michigan Geocaching Organization (MiGO), and enjoy food, music, paddling on Gallup Pond, a classic small boat show and plenty of family friendly activities.
HRWC was there presenting information on the Saving Water Saves Energy project and other initiatives like RiverUp! and the Huron River Water Trail. It was inspiring to see so much enthusiasm and excitement for the Huron River.
Thanks to the HRD Committee for organizing such a great event, to Bob and Beth Hospadaruk and Steve Fritz of MiGO, to HRWC volunteers Korinne and Joe Wotell for helping with the HRWC booth, and to Congressman Dingell for his support of HRD.
Hope to see you next time at HRD 33!