Grand River: N. State Rd. to Trestle DNR Pk. (Dixon Rd.)
The final paddle of GREAT's 2013 season had 41 paddlers enjoy a very nice fall day on this 5.5 miles stretch of the Grand River. The put-in was across the river from the take-out of GREAT's 2012 October trip, where a bridge once existed for the state road prior to construction of adjacent US 127. The route features two rail trestles and passage by the Youth Haven Camp for disadvantaged children. The following week ten volunteers did a clean-up of this section as part of a match grant through the Jackson County Conservation District.
Kalamazoo River: Albion to B Drive-North
Paddlers (54) enjoyed the interesting trip from Albion's Rieger Park to the second bridge on B-Drive North. In Albion the river actually goes under several downtown buildings at the superior street bridge. Much of the route is through wooded areas with the several ripples in the fast moving water and two class I-II rapids, with the latter being the fun Marengo Rapids. Five paddlers went double the distance and took out at Marshall. After many joined in at the Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall.
Grand River: Eaton Rapids to Burchfield Park
A beautiful day, 64 paddlers did the 11 miles in 3 to 5 hours. Some from the Eaton Rapids Paddling Club participated and some joined GREAT. A fast water class one rapids provided some fun. Thanks for Kathy Kuchinski, owner of Quiet Water Sports who paid the Burchfield gate fee for GREAT trip participants. Many went to Darbs Patio Restaurant in Eaton Rapids after.
Grand River: Vandercook Lake to Sharp Park
For the second consecutive month, a participation record was broken, this time with 92 paddlers. The Annual Joint Dahlem-GREAT trip, a nice lunch was enjoyed by participants before the put-in near the bank restoration project many GREAT members had worked on last summer. A nice day made up for water on the low side, but the paddlers made to the take-out in decent time.
Goose Creek: Cement City to Lake Columbia
A record number of 85 participated paddling Goose Creek (River Raisin Watershed) to Lake Columbia where GREAT had a one-time special permission to take out at two private parks. It was a beautiful day to enjoy this nice clear creek with a steady current through a variety of environments. Prior to launch, Garret Johnson gave an interesting presentation about Michigan Nature Association's conservancy, a rare wet prairie, marsh, and fen with over 200 native plant species, located at our put-in. After taking out, many joined in at the Clark Lake Golf course restaurant to socialize with food and drink.
GREAT was one of 17 participating organizations in the seventh year of this fine community event, put on by the Jackson Area Outdoor Coalition. An almost perfect day, sunny, warm, with little wind made for good paddling conditions . GREAT had 148 people go out in GREAT's canoes and kayaks, including a 94 minors. Many people picked up GREAT's brochures and other environmental information at our tent.