Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category
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.
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.
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.
- Quiet waters for landing and launching at Island Park
- 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
- 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?
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Welcome to the virtual launch for the new Huron River Water Trail website!
While nothing beats trying out the site for yourself, here’s a sample of what to expect:
- Clean, user-friendly interactive trip planning maps
- Extensive trail amenities – where to grab a sandwich? where to pitch a tent? what activities are happening in the Trail Towns?
- Real-time weather and stream flow information
- Outfitters with canoe and kayak rentals
- And much, much more
Are you looking for a lazy float on flat water or a chance to try your whitewater skills? Flat water, flowing river, portages, and other trail features are all mapped with recommended trips to last a few hours to a few days. Investigate the distance, time, level of difficulty, highlights, and more for each recommended trip.
The trail information and graphics complement the new Paddler’s Companion, the indispensable waterproof map book for the Huron River Water Trail. Get your own copy today!
Help us spread the word about the new planning tool for the Huron River Water Trail. Use it to plan your next trip! Tell you friends and family! And become a part of it by sharing your observations and photos.
HRWC acknowledges the planning and design team of The Greenway Collaborative, Inc. and Imageweaver Studio, the Partners of the Huron River Water Trail for their review and recommendations, and the support of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Erb Family Foundation, and the many partners of RiverUp!.
Sunday night we held one of our most unique paddle trips of the year, Full Moon Paddle. Typically, our paddle trips consist of paddling up or down river, however, this paddle was held on Mill Lake in the Waterloo State Recreation Area. Mill Lake is very calm, quiet, and a beautifully natural lake.
Surrounded by various flora and fauna helped produce a mesmerizing orchestra of sights and sounds under the fading sunlight. With the help of our participating birders; Dea Armstrong, City of Ann Arbor Ornithologist, produced a list of 34 species of birds we encountered on the paddle. Once the sun had receded below the tree line we witnessed our first glimpse of the Full Moon that we were anxiously waiting to see. Paddling around, in awe of the Moon’s luminance we couldn’t help but gaze upward in silence. The shimmering Moon light across the still water produced a surreal view of Mill Lake.
Thanks to staff member, Jason Frenzel, we were able to come back to shore with a campfire roaring for us. Thanks to our Huron River guides Barry Lonik and Ron Sell for making sure that each of our paddler’s are safe and the trip’s informative. A special thanks to State Representative Gretchen Driskell for joining us for the Full Moon paddle. Thanks to each participant for made this paddle memorable, including our canine friend who accompanied us.
Find out about our last two paddle trips of the summer here.
HRWC hosted its Sixth Annual Baseline Lake Swim this past 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!
We couldn’t have asked for better swimming weather. 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. Safety paddlers lined the swimmers path to ensure safety and keep them on track. After the swim, we gathered at the Sailing Club for great company, refreshments, breakfast, and a beautiful view of Baseline Lake.
A special thanks to all of the safety paddlers who volunteered their time and effort which helped make this event safe for all swimmers!
Join us next year for the Baseline Lake Swim!
For more information on Summer Recreation event here.
This past Tuesday we had our last guided watershed walk of the summer. The rain didn’t stop us from learning about the restoration process that has been going on at Mill Creek Park in Dexter. Laura Rubin and Paul Evanoff explained how the Village of Dexter removed the Mill Creek dam and how doing so can restore an area of natural beauty for the community to enjoy.
The park consists of a boardwalk surrounded by lush vegetation along the river’s edge, amphitheater, and put-in’s/ take-out’s for paddlers. Local artists have created one of a kind pieces of art for visual enjoyment as well. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy Mill Creek Park; make sure to do so and visit the local shops Downtown while you’re at it!
Thanks to all of those whom braved the rain and to Laura and Paul for informing all of us on the recent restoration processes at Mill Creek Park.