Maple Grove to State Road
GREAT's final paddle of the 2015 season brought out 60 participants. The weather was perfect and with the fall colors running a little late this year, the trees were just starting to turn. This is the section of the Grand River where the dredge ended its work of straightening the river in 1920 from downtown Jackson to around Berry Road. Also, a section between Berry Road and Lansing Avenue bridges the large rocks in the river were placed there by Native American to create a dam to help catch fish. Because of many fallen trees and difficulty of cutting in deep and mucky water, it took GREAT 70 hours of chain saw work to clear the river for the paddle event, even though it had been previously cut only three prior. After, several went to the Pleasant Lake Pub (PLP to sociallize with good food and drink.
Saylors Landing to Historic Bridge Park
After two attempts in the last two years to run this route, but only to have this section of the river closed after the authorities originally said otherwise, GREAT finally completed the trip. This is the section in 2010 was subject to the oil spill from a burst Enbridge Company pipeline on Talmadge Creek, a tributary to the river. Prior to our launch, GREAT Board member and August trip leader, Mary Leonard, explained the damage and the clean-up efforts to our 36 participants of which she helped with. As part of its rehabilitation, Enbridge funded the upgraded launch facilities of the both the Saylor's Landing Park and Historic Bridge Park (including equipment to help handicap put-in and take-out their boats) and the removal of Ceresco Dam. Many gathered after at the Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall.
Vandercook Lake to Sharp Park
The beautiful day brought 64 participants to paddle this route which is mostly in Summit Township. Paddlers experienced great variety with two big residential lakes, one lake with almost no development, wetlands, woods, and neighborhoods with beautiful homes and properties on the river. Higher than the normal seasonal river levels, gave paddlers opportunities to have a wider, deeper, and faster river to navigate. Several joined up after at the Bone Island Grille in Vandercook Lake for food and beverages. The Bone Island offers a free card which after so many sales points, the "Bone" will make a contribution to your designated charity such as GREAT !
Clinton to Tecumseh
Even though the River Raisin had dropped significantly from the high waters of earlier in the week, the water was still moving fast of which many paddlers enjoyed. However, a GREAT record of nine boats capsized each qualifying for our "Swimmer Award" certificate. The 62 participants encountered: some fun rapids and navigated through a swift River Raisin; paddled Red Mill Pond, with a portage at the dam under Evans Street bridge; cruised into Standish Pond which merged into the Community Center Pond. A record number, remained to socialize at the JTrees Winery at the Tecumseh Community Center. Prior to the trip Mark Johnson of the Tecumseh paddling Company (livery at the community center) assisted us in doing a fine tuning of chain saw work to improve the navigation of the river.
In spite of the April trip being cancelled because of low water, 74 participants showed up for food and the paddle of the Grand River from Liberty Dam to Jefferson Rd. at US 127. The first section to Culver bridge had paddlers portaging some low homeowner bridges and rock dams in addition to several short stretches of low water, but the remainder of the 4 mile route to Gates bridge and Jefferson had good water levels and many river bends. A warm sunny day made wadding less negative. Participants enjoyed the picnic of pull pork sandwiches, salad, drink and cookies at the Liberty Township pavilion prior the launch. Participating was Michigan canoe book author, "Doc" Fletcher and his friend Paul. Doc was reviewing the route for his upcoming book about canoeing near Michigan college campuses as the route is not far from Jackson College. It took 74 work hours of chain saw and lopper work to prepare the river for the trip, likely a GREAT per-mile record!
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In spite of the cloudy day, that drew a lower crowd, the 9th Annual Earth Day event was successful. GREAT had 100 paddlers use our canoes and kayaks (past average 129), with a majority being youth. Sponsored by the Jackson Area Outdoor Coalition, this is a very nice event for young families and adults of all ages.