Thinking of taking some graduate students on a 5-6 day river trip to “read the landscape” of social and environmental systems in Michigan. Not being from Michigan, does anyone know of a route that could do this? e.g., through a variety of rural/suburban/urban working and wilderness landscapes? Any tips would be appreciated! Thanks, Bethany
Perhaps this site may help you plan:
I primarily paddle Lake Michigan and some of our larger inland lakes, so can’t be of any help with rivers.
I do know there are a couple of members here who live in the Lansing and Grand Rapids areas and are very familiar with our great river trails; hopefully they’ll respond soon.
Not exactly a five day trip but it does go through the heart of southern michigan and ends in lake erie.
I’ve only done this in segments and not in one shot, and that was in 1984, so I don’t have up to date info on launching areas. Some of which were sketchy in the 80s.
To see the real michigan you would probably want to add some trips in the northern lower peninsula too, I don’t have a good idea of the best for variety.
There are also trips by Belle Isle and canalways in detroit that might be interesting.
There are lots of possibilities
Rookie gave a good link to start. I'm located in the Lansing area and often paddle the Grand and Red Cedar and am involved in several local organizations.
You can get water trail information on the Grand from MGROW: http://mgrow.org/
I highly recommend visiting the Quiet Water Symposium (http://www.quietwatersymposium.org/ ) March 5 this year. There will be water trail and watershed groups there among many other exhibits.
Some other thoughts: The Huron may be ideal for your group. It runs through many Metro Parks and there are camping facilities. huronriverwatertrail.org
If you chose the Kalamazoo your group can study the effects of the Enbridge oil spill and the clean up.
June 3 - 5 there will be an organized expedition on the Looking Glass. That is a part of the mid-decade tributary paddles leading up to the fourth (once a decade starting in 1990) source to sea Grand River Expedition.
These are just a few in Southern Michigan. going further north the choices expand although you lose some of the Urban experience.
I enthusiastically second this ^
Seadart’s description is precise. But you can start at a chain of lakes, mostly developed, make your way downstream through a state park and county park, through ag land, through another lake, another county park, and then toward Ann Arbor as the surroundings become more and more developed.
There are still plenty of signs of stress and it gets worse after Ann Arbor. But the city itself has made some significant improvements regarding stormwater quality and has also constructed a set of rapids through an old dam headrace that eliminates the need to portage. Plans were to expand this to a whitewater park.
Here’s a link to a map of the river, for paddlers:
inland waterway from Petoskey to Lake
Huron is a decent northern MI route for what you seem to be looking for. You can tell all your friends you paddled across the state from lake MI to Huron. We've done the return trip around the tip of the mitten and under the bridge.
Headwaters near Petoskey are developed vacation residential, you make your way through a few towns and large lakes, varying levels of development. Plenty of overnight camping spots along the way. Pristine areas east and west of I-75.