Grey, rainy weather provided the backdrop to site visits that HRWC staff made this week to the canoe portages at the dams on Ford and Belleville Lakes. The visits are part of the needs assessment being done for planning on the Huron River Water Trail. Joining staff on the visits were representatives from HCMA, Ypsilanti Charter Township, and Van Buren Charter Township, and paddling guide Ron Sell.

The landing at Ford Lake dam: Would you want to land a canoe here?

Some basic amenities are in place for the portages, but both sites need attention in the form of signage so paddlers know where to land, launch and portage their canoes and kayaks, as well as better landings, launches, trails, bathrooms and so on. The dams on these lakes (impoundments, really) are federally-regulated, which complicates matters. The Infrastructure Work Group for the Huron River Water Trail is working with the townships and other partners to complete the needs assessment, prioritize which improvements to fund, and seek sources of funding.

Once the portages are improved, paddling the lakes through this middle reach of the Huron River will be much more enjoyable!

Rickety stairs await the intrepid and brave paddler who portages French Landing dam