David Howell, chair of the board of the Friends of the Detroit River, says it was rare to see kayakers on the Detroit River when he first moved here 20 years ago. Now, he says, it's rare not to see kayakers on a summer day.
“This is a recreational asset because it's right here in our backyard,” Howell says.
The watershed council works to provide education and exposure to the waterfront resources in and around the Detroit area.
This week, four local watershed organizations will team up for a series of events highlighting the many opportunities to enjoy metro Detroit's waters by paddle. The celebration will take place across more than 250 miles of watersport trails, with different events for people of all ages.
Each organization is hosting a series of events celebrating Canoe and Kayak Day on Saturday, and will continue to hold events like river cleanups and trail paddles throughout the summer.
The Huron River Watershed Council is hosting a group paddle at Ann Arbor's Bandemer Park. This tour takes paddlers through three of Ann Arbor's nature areas, ending at Barton Dam for the perfect evening adventure ending with a sunset on the river. bring your own watercraft, though a limited number of kayaks are available. (The organization recommends people RSVP.)
From 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 24; Bandemere Park, 1352 Lake Shore Dr., Ann Arbor; hrwc.com. RSVP here.
The Clinton River Watershed Council is hosting a paddling safety workshop perfect for beginning paddlers looking to dive (not literally) into the world of kayaking. After the workshop, participants will go through a guided route on the Clinton River to practice their new skills and experience the river from a new perspective. (Don't worry, a shuttle will take you back to the start.)
Starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 24; 9000 Clinton River Rd., Clinton Twp.; crwc.org; Tickets start at $35.
To celebrate National Canoe and Kayak Day, the Clinton Watershed Council will be hosting a send-off. Members will be on site to answer any questions and provide dry bags, water trail maps, and more.
From 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, June 26; 31300 Metro Pkwy., Harrison Twp.
You’ve heard of BYOB, but this event is BYOK — bring your own kayak. The Friends of the Detroit River host an afternoon of wildlife and water fun.
Starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 26; Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge; 5437 W. Jefferson Ave., Trenton; 734-692-7608; facebook.com/friendsofthedetroitriver.
The Friends of the Rouge is partnering with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and Motor City Canoe and Kayak Rental for a "demo day" session. Newbies can learn the basics of paddling and boating safety with the opportunity to take a kayak out on the Clinton River. Additionally, FOTR will host two group paddles for more experienced kayakers.
From 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, June 26; Kessey Field House, 4300 S. Dearborn St., Melvindale.
More information about National Conroe and Kayak Day is available at canoekayakday.com.
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