Archive for the ‘paddling’ Category
There’s more good news for kayakers and canoeists on the Huron! In late November, we installed a one-of-a-kind canoe and kayak slide on the steep portage route at Barton Dam in Ann Arbor. The unique design allows a paddler to guide a boat up or down depending on the direction of the trip and eliminates the need for trudging on the hill with a boat overhead. This project is just the latest to come out of the public/private placemaking initiative led by HRWC called RiverUp!. RiverUp! Construction Manager, Andrea Kline, guest blogs on the most recent Huron River Water Trail project:
I confess, at first I was skeptical. I’ve slogged hundreds of pounds of gear across dozens of portages from Ontario to Maine but I have never seen, much less used, a canoe slide. But here I was at the Barton Dam, canoe slide plans in hand, ready to start a new adventure on the Huron River Water Trail.
The design of the slide was somewhat challenging since the rails would have to bend both horizontally and vertically to match the curves of the dam face and the trail next to the slide. All of the steel pieces had to be manufactured off-site. Hopefully, it would all fit together once the pieces arrived on-site.
Step 1: Install the bases. Since we were not allowed to dig deep foundations into the embankment and the bases had to line up exactly to accommodate the curves of the slide, our crew laid stone pads, about three feet square, at the locations that the surveyors had staked the week before. Once the stone pads were in place, the 13 concrete bases, each weighing over 300 pounds, were set carefully in place.
Step 2: Secure the steel slide rails to each of the bases. The moment of truth had arrived. Would the rails fit together like we had envisioned when putting the design on paper? The rails were fabricated in 14 pieces, each labeled to be installed in a particular location. Piece by piece, the railing was installed. The slide was taking shape, and I was getting excited about how it was looking. The dog walkers and joggers who looked at us skeptically at the beginning of the project now nodded in recognition when we explained what we were building and how it would work.
Step 3: Test the slide. We carried the canoe up the hill and placed it on the slide. It slid easily down the rails with a little prompting. Cameras and phones at the ready, we all took turns sliding the canoe down and back up the slide. High fives all around – it works!
The slide is now ready for paddlers to use in navigating around Barton Dam. Give it a try and let us know what you think! We are eager to share the design with other water trail organizations and are hopeful that this might be a prototype for other portages in our watershed and around the country.
Thank you to the Jeffrey and Joanna Post Family for their financial support and to our talented and dedicated project team: SmithGroupJJR for the design and Future Fence Company of Warren for the fabrication and installation.
Andrea Kline, RiverUp! Construction Manager, is the author of today’s post about Ypsilanti’s Peninsular Park and the recent investments in its amenities for paddlers and residents in the neighborhood.
Fall is shaping up to be a busy time on the Huron River Water Trail! After lots of
collaborating with our partners, planning, permitting and paperwork, we finally celebrated the opening of the new floating dock at Peninsular Park in Ypsilanti. The new dock replaces an older dock on the upstream side of the portage around the Peninsular Dam that had seen better days. Huron River Water Trail signage was installed, as well.
The ribbon cutting was attended by 40 people, including many representatives of the five Huron River Trail Towns who attended a meeting earlier in the day to share their efforts to promote the exciting experiences that await river users who visit Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Flat Rock. Several participants shared their memories of college rituals from their days at EMU that included jumping into the river from the original dock, usually under the cover of darkness!
The Peninsular Paper Mill and Dam were originally built in the 1860s, reportedly
to produce newsprint for the Chicago Tribune and the dam to power it. In 1986, the dam and 6.5 acres on the north side of the river were sold to Ypsilanti for $1. This area is now managed by the City of Ypsilanti as Peninsular Park.
If you have ever driven on North Huron River Drive near the campus of EMU, you may remember seeing the landmark Peninsular Paper Co. sign that still stands at the top of the old power house. Although it has been abandoned for some time, the powerhouse still retains some of the beautiful classical architectural features that made it a city landmark in its heyday.
Local residents and neighbors have formed The Friends of Peninsular Park to lead efforts to restore the park to its former glory. Updates and news are shared on the group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PeninsularPark. We’re glad that the new floating dock can bring back old memories and will contribute to memories of more “good old days” in the future!
Thank you to our RiverUp! funders, especially the Austin Memorial Foundation, for investing in this section of the Huron River.
We have a paddle trip for people looking for adventure and an interest in trying their skills at biking and paddling. This Sunday, September 21st, at 1:00 we are hosting a paddle trip from Hudson Mill Metropark to Dexter-Huron Metropark with a bike to the beginning along the recently completed border to border trail.
Ron Sell and Barry Lonik, experienced paddlers (and bikers), will be leading this trip down a beautiful stretch of the river in the Natural River’s zone. Elizabeth Riggs, HRWC’s River-Up Manager will be on the trip too, adding her expertise and knowledge of RiverUp! and Huron River Water Trail improvement projects within this section of the river. Join the fun and learn about the river and try your skill with paddling and pedaling! Register here.
Michigan summers do a great job of bringing people out-of-doors. Schools starts soon and so I’m thinking back about all the fun that I had. I truly hope that you were busy having as much fun as I did. Our Trails Towns of Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flat Rock were filled with wonderful events all summer long.
I had planned to golf more, ride my bike daily, and plant some new flower beds, but instead I . . .
* Paddled my kayak and pedaled my bike from Flat Rock to Oakwoods Nature Center on National Trails Day in June.
* Visited every fun display and enjoyed watching kids play in the sand area at Huron River Days in Ann Arbor’s Gallup Park. There were plenty of kayakers and handmade kayaks to see. What a busy day on the River!
* Bought kettle corn, set up a lawn chair, and enjoyed outside dining in Milford as part of their Farmers Market and Concert Series. I had such a good time, I went twice! How exciting their Amphitheater at Central Park along the River is under construction!
* Enjoyed a great BBQ dinner and root beer float at Dexter Daze. I had a great time visiting with all kinds of people to share fun facts about the Huron River Water Trail and promoting our Super Moon Paddle.
* Walked across the “tridge” and marveled how pretty the Huron is in Ypsilanti during Heritage Days in Riverside Park. A hidden gem. I had great fun selling kayak raffle tickets and seeing the happy winner! It is a wonderful community event that brings together all of Ypsilanti with festivities.
The fun isn’t over yet! Flat Rock Riverfest is coming up from September 19 to 21 at HuRoc Park.
With fall on its way, you’ll find me with a cup of hot apple cider, relaxing, and watching the leaves fall. Our Trail Towns on the 104-mile will put on a spectacular display. I’m sure that we won’t be disappointed.
A few weeks ago I promised to share an update on the status of the bills package being considered in Lansing to expand the definition of ‘trails’ to include water trails and provide funding to support trails across the state.
Today, Governor Rick Snyder signed the bills, now Public Acts 210-215 of 2014 that redefines the designation process of special trails in the state and supports the development of a statewide network of multiple use trails and water trails.
The bills give the director of the Department of Natural Resources the authority to name trailways as “Pure Michigan Trails,” water trails as “Pure Michigan Water Trails” and towns as “Pure Michigan Trail Towns,” pending approval from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. They also allow statewide volunteer activities to include trail enhancement programs in support of trail upkeep and maintenance.
More from the State’s press release here.
Our RiverUp! work includes establishing the Huron River Water Trail and developing Trail Towns in each of 5 largest towns on the river. We’ll all pretty excited here about this new investment that can benefit these efforts. Anita Twardesky, our Trail Towns Coordinator, shares, “What an exciting time for trails in our State! Southeast Michigan is home to many water trails, Trail Town programs and bike paths. Our trail systems are poised to become a great addition to the statewide system.”
We applaud this legislation and look forward to working with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that Southeast Michigan is well-represented to help showcase our unlimited outdoor recreation activities.
There is still room available on our next paddle trip; don’t miss an opportunity to experience the quiet waters of the Huron River with expert paddlers Ron Sell, Barry Lonik, and the HRWC staff. Our summer solstice paddle includes discussion regarding the river’s water ecology, history, and unique features. Shuttle transportation is provided. Bring your own watercraft, gear, food, drinking water and appropriate clothing for the weather. Every paddler must wear a flotation device – bring your own!
For a Paddler’s Safety Checklist click HERE.
- Saturday, June 21
Summer Solstice Paddle
Island Park to Peninsular Dam*
*Exact location of each put-in will be sent to participants upon registration.
Registration is required and available HERE.
More information and how to register for all of our summer recreation events HERE.
River and RiverSide Recreation! Take Your Pick June 7-8!
In addition to the fabulous line-up of Huron River Summer Recreation Events hosted by HRWC, there are a number of opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the River.
June 7. Flat Rock to Oakwoods Metropark Pedal & Paddle. 10am-2pm. Pedal a family-friendly one mile from Huroc Park to Oakwoods Metropark on the newly completed paved Flat Rock-HCMA Connector trail then jump into the Huron River for a 30-minute paddle.
Group pedal kick-off, 10am at Huroc Park, 28600 Arsenal Road, includes bike inspections, a scavenger hunt, local bike vendors and a Trikke carving vehicle demo. While at Oakwoods, park your bike in a secure corral and join the National Trails Day Celebration (ends at 4pm) where the afternoon will be filled with a wide variety of activities for the entire family including hikes, kayaking demos, birding walks, geocaching, “how-to” discussions, prize drawings, entertainment, and much more.
All activities are free, but onsite kayak rentals are $10 for 30-min (until 2pm). Hosted by Riverside Kayak Connection, Huron River Watershed Council, Downriver Linked Greenways, City of Flat Rock, Friends of Oakwoods and Oakwoods Metropark.
June 7. Hudson Mills Metropark to Village of Dexter Run. 9am. Celebrate the Grand Opening of the newest segment of the Border-to-Border (B2B) trail with a 10k race and fun run/walk that will be enjoyable for all ability levels – bring the whole family! The race will start at Hudson Mills, North Territorial Road entrance. The 6.2-mile scenic route will take you along the Huron River to the finish line in the Village of Dexter at Mill Creek Park where you can enjoy entertainment and refreshments after the run. Free shuttle buses will transport participants back to the starting point. Pre-register online or at the event beginning at 7:30am
June 7 and 8. Schultz Outfitters Fly Fishing Demo Days. 10am-6pm Sat, 10am-5pm Sun. This event brings together some of the most respected talent and brands in the fly fishing industry for two days of FREE education and fun. There will be on-stream casting and fishing demonstrations in the park each day, along with classes and seminars at Schultz Outfitters fly shop, a used gear trade and deals galore!
So, get outside and ENJOY your River! More recreation opportunities are posted at huronriverwatertrail.org.
Michigan’s reputation as the #1 Trails State, and Water Trail development, have the potential to grow significantly with increased funding and broader programming through proposed updates to the Michigan Trailways Act.
I have been following these proposed updates of the state’s valuable Trailways Act to a broader statewide network of multi-use trails, including water trails. In March, I testified before the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee in support of the bills package citing the benefits to the Huron River communities located along the Huron River Water Trail. You can read my testimony here.
The updates to the Michigan Trailways Act enjoy broad support from trail users and organizations around the state. However, the $2.5 million appropriations for trails is in jeopardy. The House of Representatives version of the budget removed nearly $11 million from this bill, including the trails funds, from the Executive and Senate versions of the DNR budget for FY 2015. The Conference Committee needs to reconcile the differences. Now is the time to contact the Conference Committee legislators by phone or email to urge restoration of these dollars into the budget. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has compiled the contact information and sample comments.
I will share updates and a final outcome here as they become available.
We are putting together a fantastic conference for you and couldn’t be more excited for the 2014 State of the Huron Conference!
Learn about the focus of the April 24th event including keynote speakers, conference theme, and registration details at www.hrwc.org/sohc2014.
Join us for the only conference dedicated solely to the Huron River where community leaders, planners, scientists, educators, engineers, residents, and business owners engage in a conversation and celebration of this irreplaceable river.
Mark your calendar for this year’s hottest outdoor recreation event!
The 19th Annual Quiet Water Symposium celebrates non-motorized outdoor recreation and a shared concern for our Great Lakes environment with a day of talks and exhibits from outdoor recreation providers and experts.
Date: Saturday March 1, 2014
Location: The Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education
(Farm Lane, south of Mt Hope – on the campus of MSU)
Time: 9am to 5:30pm
Admission: Adults $10.00 Students (with ID) $5.00 – under 12 Free
With 1500 attendees and another 500 exhibitor and volunteers, the Quiet Water Symposium is the largest one day show of its type in the nation.
This year’s program will include entertaining presentations on outdoor activities such as canoeing, camping, hiking and general outdoor skills by noted authors including, Kevin Callan, Cliff Jacobson and the McGuffins. Along with these seminars will be interactive displays manned by knowledgeable enthusiasts and experts on topics such as wooden boat building, camp cooking, cycling, kayaking and protecting our watersheds and environment. In addition to displays, many vendors will be available to help you chose the right gear or classes of interest.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.quietwatersymposium.org
The Huron River Water Trail will be at this year’s QWS. The Water Trail is a 104-mile inland paddling trail connecting people to the Huron’s natural environment, its history, and the communities it touches in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The Huron River Water Trail is a consortium of interested groups and communities, and is a project of the Huron River Watershed Council and RiverUp!. See www.riveruphuron.org and www.huronriverwatertrail.com for more information.