Trestle DNR Park (Dixon Rd.) to Tompkins DNR Access
Good weather again blessed GREAT's final public paddle of the 2014 season for the 51 participants. This route has no cross road bridges. The clear, colder, waters of Sandstone Creek join the Grand River just upstream of the take-out at Tompkins Bridge improving the quality of the river. Sandstone Creek supports a trout population. The following weekend, GREAT partnering with the Jackson County Conservation Office had a "mini" clean-up of this route with 16 participants.
B Drive N to 15 Mile (Saylors Park)
For the second year, GREAT had to change its intended August route on the Kalamazoo River. Last year, authorities had not completed the repair of the stretch affected by the 2012 oil spill. This year, much of the that same stretch was shut down because the removal of Ceresco Dam. Therefore, this year's put-in was changed to last year's take-out of the 2103 rerouted trip and the the take-out was where we had originally planned to start this year (and last year). After the first section with a nice current through woods, the 53 paddlers soon encountered Marshall pond which took around an hour to move through this slow and wide body. Several birds species were observed: great blue herring, eagle, swans, and sandhill cranes. Participants encoutered a 250 yard portage around Marshall Dam and after this, paddlers again had a nice current through a park and pristine woods until the end.
CMS Energy to R.A. Greene Park
The Annual Joint Dahlem-GREAT paddle, participants enjoyed cookout food provided by the Dahlem Nature Center at the CMS bandshell prior to the put-in. The water was on the high side, so the 54 paddlers enjoyed paddling through some small rapids in the swiftly moving river through downtown Jackson and after. A few tipped over, but were quickly assisted. Many joined in for conservation , drink, and food at where else but the Grand River Brewery in downtown Jackson.
Onsted State Game Area
GREAT member, Rod Monasmith, in his kayak lead the 46 paddlers embarked from One Mile Lake to proceed at the end of the lake into channels flowing into two other smaller lakes before navigating down the beginning of the River Raisin until stopping at a small rock dam. From there paddlers reversed to return upstream and eventually back into One Mile Lake where many explored the opposite side of the lake and a channel to yet another much smaller lake. Eight students from Toledo University came who were very appreciated for their help loading and unloading our boats. This is one of the areas best kept secrets for a peaceful places to paddle. No buildings, but all natural shoreline with views of the adjacent Irish Hills. No one would think they are within a mile of the world famous MIS Speedway, which on race day becomes the second largest population in the state!
Jefferson Rd. to US 127 2nd Bridge
Delayed or canceled three times in past begriming in 2013 due to river water too high for the bridges, GREAT finally accomplished this very interesting route. This time the weather and river levels were close to perfect for the 54 participants. Riparian land owner, Jack Raby sat by his covered bridge to explain how he and father constructed it in the early1970's. Because of all the twists and turns in this narrow river, many paddlers were very tired at the take-out, but fifteen of us showed up after to relax at the In Good Company Restaurant located between the put in and take-outs.
One of the nicer days ever, the 8th Annual Earth Day event drew a good crowd. GREAT had 160 paddlers use our canoes and kayaks (3rd highest), with many being youth. Sponsored by the Jackson Area Outdoor Coalition, this is a very nice event for young families and adults of all ages.
N. Br. Kalamazoo River Cross Rd to FWT
The rain held off as 40 participants completed GREAT's first paddle of the 2014 season on the river from Cross Rd. Bridge near Sears Road to the Falling Water Trail in Concord. At times, paddlers faced some strong winds from the west, especially on the open back water of Concord Pond. The four mile route had one portage around a farm bridge with low clearance and a tight squeeze under two other farm bridges. Beavers, cranes, ducks, fish, geese, heron, mink, muskrat, swans, and turtles were spotted by paddlers on this beautiful river. Several enjoyed socializing after at the Slice of Spice in Spring Arbor.