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Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

Registration Now Open for 2014 State of the Huron Conference

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.

Amy and Dave Freeman will share their enthusiasm for river adventure. credit: D. Freeman

 

Snow: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Fleming Creek in winter. Photo: John Lloyd

Fleming Creek in winter. Photo: John Lloyd

Bucking the conventional feeling this winter, I have been loving all of this snow — this is how every winter should be!  Avid cross country skiers everywhere agree.

Lest the record snow and polar vortexes (vortices?) distract us, or worse, make us wonder how we could be in the grip of global warming, take a look at the latest

New York Times article on the topic.

The article describes the alarming long term trends in snowfall and snowpack worldwide, and it reminds us all that, taken alone, local weather events on any given day or month cannot support or refute global climate change.

Among many alarming trends the article points out is that Europe has lost half its glacial ice since 1850; 2/3′s of Europe’s ski resorts could be closed by 2100; and the American West may lose 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by then.

In the Great Lakes region, the number of days with snow cover has decreased by 5 days per decade, since 1975. The average snow depth has also decreased.  Future projections predict later arrival of winter and earlier arrival of spring resulting in more precipitation falling as rain than snow  (GLISA, Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region).

Of course, global warming is not just about inconveniencing a bunch of skiers.  Those winter snows provide drinking water for us all and drought protection for farmers and forests.

So, next time you curse the snow delaying your morning commute, think about the likely future if current trends continue, and when you eventually get to the office or other workplace, give your Senator or Representative a call.

Get out and enjoy the snow while it's here!

Get out and enjoy the snow while it’s here!

 

Quiet Water Symposium, Saturday, March 1, 2014

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 fromQuiet Water Symposium 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.

Anita Twardesky joins RiverUp!

LinkedIn profile imageThe Huron River Watershed Council is pleased to announce that  Anita Twardesky has joined the RiverUp! initiative as Trail Towns Coordinator. Anita will guide the five largest communities on the river – Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flat Rock – in becoming Trail Towns, trailside and gateway communities that are true recreational destinations. The Huron River Water Trail is a project of RiverUp!, the initiative to make the Huron River a new “Main Street” for the river towns where residents and tourists recreate, live, commute, do business, and treasure their riverfronts.

Anita is an experienced and respected recreation and trails professional. She  also serves as Public Relations & Community Outreach for Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte where she is responsible for promoting outdoor recreation, paddlesports, and the ecotourism in the region. Previously, she served as Parks & Recreation Director for the cities of Woodhaven and Flat Rock. Her appointments include co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, Chair of the Trails Committee for the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association, and a member of the State Wide Advisory Group Michigan Water Trails.

The Huron River Water Trail is a 104-mile inland paddling trail connecting people to the river’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!.

Bids on the River Open Nov 25-Dec 2

HRWC’s holiday auction includes our largest collection of fabulous items for your bidding pleasure! This year we have over 40 items listed online at BiddingForGood and all proceeds benefit HRWC’s efforts to restore and protect the watershed.

Bids on the River is online now until December 2 and is the perfect shopping opportunity for the holidays or any occasion.

It’s a toss up between Paddle Board Lessons and Schultz Outfitters Fly Fishing Lessons or a Jolly Irish Christmas. Something for everyone. Outdoor recreation, birding, paddle boarding, baked goods, entertainment, unique experiences and cooking lessons.

Bid early and remember to check back for new items.

The auction closes on Dec 2 so start your bidding soon and check back often. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to purchase a beautiful gift for yourself or special someone and support HRWC with just a couple of clicks! Auction proceeds this year will support HRWC’s core programs, such as water quality monitoring.

 

 

Now Showing: Portaging Argo Dam

 

Portaging Argo Dam is a bit of a challenge.  Do you float the cascades, or walk your watercraft around them and the dam?

 

This video, developed for the Huron River Water Trail, will give the proper directions for your trip! And hopefully it will make you laugh a little bit too. Make sure your sound is on!

 

The Huron River Water Trail website contains many useful trip planning tools to guide you on your next paddling excursion. The website include online maps, a store to purchase the waterproof  Paddler’s Companion, tips on river safety and trail etiquette, real-time river flows, fishing updates, and suggested itineraries.

Rafting on the River…for work!

On Wednesday afternoon I joined a group of paddlers (all women!) to test drive a few rafts down the river with the idea of developing senior programming for the City of Ann Arbor and possibly in concert with the UM Turner Geriatric Center. Yep, I never thought of rafting the river but it is a great way to get small children and senior citizens out on the river safely while providing some education and guidance about the river.

It was a gorgeous sunny day to take the trip from Argo livery to Gallup Park.  Gallup Park canoe livery and launch is under construction but you can take out at the boat launch just a bit downstream.  Unfortunately the river in this section was considerably impacted by some odd operations at Barton Dam so the water level dropped off.  Where we were expecting about 400-500 cubic feet per second (CFS) of water in the river; we were greeted with only a mere 200 cfs.  This made the ride through the Argo Cascades very bumpy and wet and then past the cascades, it meant a lot of walking and pulling the raft over rocky bottom.

We were the only boats on the river and it provided us an opportunity to see many birds.  We saw two osprey as they hunted their way down the river from Riverside Park in Ann Arbor to downstream of Island Park.  And we saw numerous blue herons (its hard to tell if you are seeing the same 2 over and over again, or new ones).  They enjoy perching on logs or taller branches overlooking  the river.  Despite the river being very low, the water clarity was great and being up on a raft allowed a better vantage point to see the tons of fish and river bottom.  The section below Island Park back by Fuller fields seems like a great, remote fishing spot.

In terms of senior programming, we had a few findings:

  • the Argo Gallup trip is too long for seniors to sit without back support and being jostled.  A shorter trip (maybe Argo to Island Park–our new launch!) was a better offering than the longer trip to Gallup;
  • getting in and out of the raft using the docks works very well for creaky bones and limited mobility;
  • one camp chair fits in the middle of the raft for someone in need of back support;
  • an experienced and “youthful” river guide is needed to steer the boat and assist entry and exit;
  • we would need to set a lower limit of water in the river (probably 400-500 cfs) so you can stay in the boat the whole trip!;
  • and finally, we need to tie in a pre-raft class at Turner as part of the programming.

If you have ideas about river trip programming for seniors please let me know as we will be developing our ideas over the winter.

I’m sorry I have no pictures of the trip, but my phone was in the drybag the whole time!  Highly advised when you go through the Cascades in low water.

Not quite this....

Not quite this….

but more like this!

but more like this!

RiverUp! scores another win for river users

  • Quiet waters for landing and launching at Island Park Quiet waters for landing and launching at Island Park
  • Soil erosion and sediment control measures are installed prior to earth-moving Soil erosion and sediment control measures are installed prior to earth-moving
  • The site is graded to achieve an easy slope for hauling canoes and kayaks The site is graded to achieve an easy slope for hauling canoes and kayaks
  • Boulders at the site are used to stabilize the new design. This gravel won't scratch canoes and kayaks Boulders at the site are used to stabilize the new design. This gravel won't scratch canoes and kayaks
  • Our friend Mike happened to be fly fishing near the project site. Catch anything? Our friend Mike happened to be fly fishing near the project site. Catch anything?
  • The perfect spot for one, two or ten boats to rest. The perfect spot for one, two or ten boats to rest.
     

RiverUp! strikes again! Another makeover at the river’s edge is nearing completion, this time in Ann Arbor’s Island Park.

The construction crew just wrapped up at the new canoe and kayak access located at river mile 49.4 on the Huron River Water Trail. The new launch and landing replaces the eroded and undersized (and unofficial) landing just upstream near the footbridge that had become the taking out spot for paddlers. Way-finding signage will be installed soon directing river users to the improved access point.

City of Ann Arbor Liveries Manager Cheryl Saam envisioned a better option at the new site. RiverUp! program staff and project consultant SmithGroupJJR worked with Cheryl and the city to design and implement the project. Upon visiting the site this week, Cheryl offered, “All looks really good. I think the landing is easily seen from the main river, and I really like the pea gravel mix for boat dragging.” Island Park is situated along the popular Argo to Gallup paddle trip. Cheryl adds, “We will be directing many groups to this launch since Island Park is the best stopping off point for wading, playing, picnicking and restroom breaks.”

This river access improvement was made possible through the generous support of Marguerite Smith whose own experiences with the river motivates her philanthropy. “My husband was an avid outdoorsman and particularly enjoyed solo canoeing,” shares Marguerite. “The Huron River was a favorite of his and he paddled the entire length over a period of two summers,”  she recalls, “He would be pleased with the improvements that are underway through RiverUp! to enhance access and enjoyment of this wonderful resource.”

RiverUp! is the signature placemaking initiative for the Huron River and its communities. Through this effort, we are working to assist communities to maximize the Huron River as a community asset to attract residents, visitors, and businesses. From the launch of the initiative in August 2011 to present, RiverUp! is generating interest in the river and its communities, and is part of a broader Great Lakes vision to maximize freshwater resources for community development.

 

Reflections on the River

It’s the end of the first week of September, and, for many of us, the start of a new school year (at least for our kids). As the days start getting shorter, the leaves start falling and the nights begin to cool, this time of year often causes me to reflect on the past year or at least the past summer.

Big blue stem grass on prairie run along the Huron.

Big blue stem grass on prairie run along the Huron.

In particular, last night, as I ran along the river, I reflected on the many ways I’ve interacted with the Huron over the past summer and year. Like a number of us on staff, I like to run along the many trails that border the river. Last night, as sunset was approaching, the river and natural area views were particularly striking. It reminded me how hard many of us have worked to protect these important ecosystems and how lucky we are to have a high quality river because of it.

As I ran along the river, I observed some bikers out for a challenge among the riverside hills, a few paddlers out for a late afternoon float, two sets of high school seniors posing for their senior photos, and different sets of rowers perfecting their technique on the impounded quiet waters of Argo Pond. People experience the river in many different ways, and, for most of us, the relationship is a personal one. The river can be a source of challenge, a source of inspiration and energy, a muse, or a place of solitude. The river can provide provide physical, emotional and spiritual sustenance.

I personally have found myself in the Huron’s waters quite often this summer in many old and some surprisingly new ways. Each experience provided a slightly new perspective on this tremendous resource that I spend so much of my life working to maintain. I invite any of you reading this post to share your experiences with the Huron (or any other of Michigan’s many waters) this summer. We would love to read about them.

I hope your summer was as refreshing as mine and that you will continue to work with me and the rest of the staff here at HRWC to pass along this tremendous legacy to those who just embarked on a new year of learning and exploration. Roll on, sister Huron!

Paddle Trip: There and back again…

This past weekend we held our second to last paddle trip of the summer. Early Saturday morning we set out to paddle up river from the Michigan Sailing Club (MSC) on Baseline Lake, through the chain of lakes, to our halfway point at Zukey Lake Tavern. Paddling up to the docks at Zukey Lake Tavern, we anticipated taking a break from paddling and eating a delicious lunch. After refueling at Zukey Lake Tavern we set out on our return trip back to the Michigan Sailing Club.

Participants

Setting out early proved to be a very calming experience as we paddled in the morning fog through the chain of lakes. The morning sun revealed a dramatic color scheme normally not witnessed in mid-August. The tree’s leaves had begun changing colors and portrayed a beautiful fall paddling experience.

After our lunch at Zukey Lake Tavern we experienced a very different return trip. The lake residents had came out to enjoy the beautiful weather, just as we were. Paddling through the chain of lakes felt like we were on an express way for watercrafts. Upon our entrance to Baseline Lake we were greeted by nearly twenty pontoon’s and circling speed boats. This produced a very different paddling experience than we had in the early morning. Chaotic at times, but we made it safely back to MSC with a very fulfilling paddling experience. Thanks to Barry Lonik and HRWC staff Paul Steen for providing a unique and educational paddling experience!

We have one more paddle of the season. Please join us as we say good-bye to summer! More information HERE.


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