To transform the Huron River corridor into a destination for people at home and beyond our immediate area, we are encouraging local river communities to face the river instead of away from it. We partner with public and private entities to develop the 104-mile Huron River Water Trail to make it easy for river recreationists to enjoy amenities along their journey.
In Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flat Rock, water trail users are greeted by FOUR-SIDED STONE KIOSKS with information about the HRWT and trail-based amenities in each town.
These benches on the riverside are a welcome respite for visitors.
Canoe and Kayak Lockers
We created an inspired design for safe and attractive storage solutions in the Trail Towns. A prototype is installed in Ann Arbor’s Bandemer Park.
TRAIL TOWN POINTS OF INTEREST
Trail Town Interpretive Plan
The MDNR and local partners developed a plan for the lower Huron River to help communities and stakeholders incorporate heritage on the lower reach of the Huron River National Water Trail, which will create a more meaningful trail experience and a greater sense of place.
Ypsilanti’s Automotive Heritage Trail District
The district spans from downtown Ypsilanti to the Ford Lake Dam and connects trail users to the community’s auto and labor movement history through interpretive signs with MotorCities and audio stories. Click here to listen to some short interviews about the history of the auto heritage district.
TRAIL TOWN VISIONING AND PLANNING
The 5 largest communities on the river are becoming destinations for users of the water trail, hike-bike trails, and equestrian trails in order to improve the trail user experience and encourage them to spend more time in each community.
Each Trail Town has developed TRAIL TOWN STRATEGIC PLANS for communicating its vision as Trail Towns and identifying priority projects.
Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flat Rock to Lake Erie communities held visioning exercises. They created planning maps and held community conversations.
River Business Development
A new riverfront brewery in Milford. Two new kayak and canoe outfitters in Flat Rock, and a new one in Dexter. Expanded services from existing outfitters to meet the demand, and fly-fishing guide shops with ever-increasing following. And more on the way.
ART ON THE RIVER
Detroit Institute of the Arts Inside | Out Exhibit
Arts and Cultural Programming: in 2015, the Trail Towns hosted the first multi-location installation of the popular DIA Inside|Out program. Art installations were from the vantage point of paddlers on the HRWT.
Mural in Ypsilanti
This waterfront mural is part of a public + private river access improvement project. Over two years, local volunteers and businesses renovated the canoe and kayak launch with support from HRWC and City of Ypsilanti.
Flux + Flow Interactive Exhibit
This project will be on Fleming Creek, Superior Township and is being built so stay tuned! Park visitors will be delighted and surprised by this interpretation of water meeting land.
MEASURING VALUE AND REVITALIZATION
Measuring the Huron River Economy (Report)
What is the economic impact of the river corridor to local communities? How popular is the river for outdoor recreation? What is the value of preserving the natural areas and water quality of the river to local communities? This 2017 report from Grand Valley State University provides answers.
Measuring the Huron River Economy (Video)
In 2016, the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) commissioned a unique study to measure the economic impact of the river on local communities, focusing on Huron River Water Trail activities and the value of natural systems that maintain a healthy, clean river. One of the key takeaways is that the Huron River contributes enormous benefit to the local economy.
CONNECTING LAND-BASED TRAILS
Several trail systems follow the Huron River like the Border-to-Border Trail, Downriver Linked Greenways, Lakelands Trail, and the Governor’s Iron Belle Trail. Our work supports trail development, connection to the water trail, and elevating the outdoor recreation sector in southeastern Michigan.