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Lower Rouge River
While it may not be an urban getaway per se, and rather more of a straight shot right into the belly of the beast, a kayak trip along the Lower Rouge River provides a rare and fascinating close-up of where nature meets industry. The tour, run by Riverside Kayak, begins at the Melvindale boat launch and follows the river's windy route all the way to Belanger Park in River Rouge. Along the way, paddlers are surrounded by v-shaped concrete walls, built along the lower Rouge several decades ago by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent flooding. Trees grow up through the concrete slabs and blue herons can be spotted along the river, signs of renewed life in a section of the river that was once so polluted it caught fire. As paddlers approach the Ford River Rouge Complex — a 600-acre site composed of factories and steel mills — they'll hear the sounds of the automotive industry reverberate over the calm waters.