Paddling in Ann Arbor Michigan

It appears paddling around the Argo Dam is operational

Chalk one up for Paddlesports in Michigan.

Paddlers need to continually voice their opinions

regarding dam removal options in Michigan.

Water is for everyone, not just the fishermen.

The catch, fishermen have a very powerful lobby,

as they PAY for licenses and demand a voice because of it.

Paddlers in Michigan often get their voices squashed

because they have no real, viable, lobbying force.

In this case we won, but it doesn’t happen often enough.

huron river
Thanks for the posting! The Huron is such a jewel and we never tire of paddling the upper portion from Argo Park. Now a holiday visit is in order to run this new sluice. Michigan has so many old dams that need to come out and leave the rivers free again.

Looks kind of ho hum
I think it is fine to have something there and it is indeed a win for paddlers. But who would want to paddle it? It is a class II run with no interesting features or challenges.

Might look a little different
with higher water level.

Big trouble in Michigan

– Last Updated: Dec-24-11 11:09 AM EST –

Over 90% of Michigan’s 2,581 dams
- will exceed their designed life by 2020.
Many dams are abandoned, they simply no longer
serve any useful purpose, and pose a safety hazard.

In Michigan there are 166 dams built before 1900
- seriously way past their designed life.
The 2003 Silver Lake Dam failure in Michigan
resulted in over $100 million in damages.

While some projects like this one in Ann Arbor may seem
"lame", "boring", "slow" it promotes PaddleSports.
Blue infrastructure reaps rewards for tourism and
people also want to play near where they work.
Recreational outlets foster home prices in a neighborhood.

You missed my point
I am not against removing dams or putting in paddling runs. But it is not that hard to make the runs interesting to a WW paddler. I also worry that designs like this one will not be maintained. That happened to similar runs after dam removal on the Red Cedar in Williamston and the Chippewa in Mount Pleasant.

Various perspectives on dam removal

– Last Updated: Dec-24-11 2:18 PM EST –

Somehow paddlesports in Michigan gets over run by
what the fisherman want instead of the paddlers.

Way up on the Shiawassee river a bunch of rocks were
thrown in for a very un-interesting flow pattern as well.
As you can see, this guy isn't a paddler at all.
No skills, brand new boat, legs straight, etc., etc.
The video below shows novice kayakers paddling
the fish ladder type weir in Chesaning,Michigan
after the dam was removed.
a.) Chesaning Mayor Pro-tem Damion Frasier
b.) River Restoration Committee member Neil Pullman

I live about an hour from the Argo Project and our club has been watching intently. From what we’ve heard the photos in the first link are about what paddlers are going to get. From a access/bypass perspective it is fine, but for paddlers looking for any type of whitewater play features, the project is devoid of waves.

Basically the design involved bringing in 100 million lbs of rock, just to make those little sluices. Yes there are family canoe liveries along the river and just above Argo dam, so the project appealed to the entry level paddler looking for a 2 second thrill as they pass through the little hump of water from wier to wier and ultimately not have to portage as the pass reconnects with the main river.

Supposidly there are two more whitewater paddle features coming next spring. There is some remediation river bank work that the Feds are requiring of DTE and they have offered to pay for whitewater features as part of the project. Hopefully they acutally put in a surfable wave.

If it’s a class 2 run, then
it has interesting features by definition. It might be ignored if it were on the upper peninsula, but the changes brought by dam removal may be welcome in lower Michigan.

"The Mighty Urine River"
as we used to call the Huron. This spot is pretty urban.

Yeah it seems like not worth getting worked up over. There are a couple of spots west of down with small drops and small rapids

Removal of Shiatown Dam
I’ve been pushing for the removal of the Shiatown Dam

on the Shiawassee in Durand, Michigan.

The river has been split in half for almost 200 years

Not all are interested in whitewater
kayaking. Many treasure just a leisurely paddle to enjoy nature.

To hear WW paddlers,it’s all about the thrill and that’s fine. But there is life other than WW and at times, as with some that do paddling with mostly big water boats,it sounds snobbish, and that is sad.

There are more than each of our own fortes of paddling.

We are all about spending time on the water, whether alone or with friends on creeks/rivers, big water (lake or ocean), and whitewater.

Paddle on and leave no trace, wherever you may go.

Merry Christmas to all.

That is true
But as you know there are lots of rivers in the Lower Peninsula that are routinely paddled but are not whitewater. The opportunities for non-whitewater river paddlers are many. Opportunities for whitewater paddlers are almost non-existent. We need to travel to Wisconsin or Pennsylvania or further. People not interested in whitewater are not being slighted here. Their already abundant opportunities are being added to.


– Last Updated: Dec-25-11 3:53 PM EST –

I'm all about access and paddling opportunities for all walks of life, it just seems like this was a missed opportunity to really make something special.

Looks like it was a lot of work for relatively little thrill. Even at class II entry level paddlers would be able to pass through the middle of the sluices without any trouble and there could have still been a few features for paddlers looking to surf, work on eddy turns, ferrying, basic play moves that all paddlers should know how to do.

They say they can contol the level and it is to be seen if they'll acutally let water flow over those wiers to create waves between the retention areas. We can also pray that DTE is allowed to put in a couple of decent play features when they do their remediation work in the spring. Looks like it's back to Delhi Park for any type of moving water thrill.