The Clinton River can be utilized for kayaking, canoeing, fishing and other passive recreation. Clinton River Water Trail runs through urban areas, marshlands, parks and forested riverbanks in Oakland and Macomb counties.

The Clinton River can be utilized for kayaking, canoeing, fishing and other passive recreation. Clinton River Water Trail runs through urban areas, marshlands, parks and forested riverbanks in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Photo provided by the Clinton River Watershed Council


Clinton River named state-designated water trail

By: Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published June 19, 2020

METRO DETROIT — The Clinton River is the ninth Michigan waterway to become a state-designated water trail.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently named 72 miles of the 81.5-mile river as a state water trail in recognition of its “quality trail experience, well-marked routes, and easy accessibility and community support.”

“Having the state water trail designation really gives us a leg up in spreading the word that this resource is here, it needs to be protected and you can have fun while you’re doing it,” said Clinton River Watershed Council Watershed Planner Chris Bobryk.

A state water trail, according to the MDNR, is a route on a lake, river, canal or bay that is designed and managed to create a positive outdoor recreation experience for the user.

Paul Yauk, the DNR’s state trails coordinator, said statewide water trails feature well-developed access points; are often near significant historical, environmental or cultural points of interest; and have nearby amenities, like restaurants, hotels and campgrounds.

“We have a lot of close-to-home recreation, and we want to acknowledge trails, and now water trails, that offer a close-to-home opportunity for kayaking, canoeing, fishing and other passive recreation sports,” said Yauk.

Bobryk said the Clinton River Water Trail — which runs through urban areas, marshlands, parks and forested riverbanks in Oakland and Macomb counties — has dedicated kayak and canoe launches near many downtowns, giving paddlers access to restaurants and shops.

The Clinton River, he explained, offers a variety of experiences and accessible points via natural entries within parks, constructed watercraft docks, and a growing number of universally accessible canoe and kayak launches. The river has three universally accessible launch sites — at MacArthur Park in Mount Clemens and at Clinton River Park North and Rotary Park in Sterling Heights. He said four more universally accessible launches are in the design phases and slated for installation in 2020 and 2021 — in Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Orion Township and Rochester Hills.

The CRWC offers an online Clinton River Water Trail map that shows launch site locations and amenities, the distances between landings, potential hazards, mandatory portages, historical markers, and safety advisories.

“As we battle a global pandemic, one of the things that will always remain open is nature,” Clinton River Watershed Council Executive Director Anne Brasie said in a statement. “The water trail designation is particularly significant now as community members seek safe, accessible recreational experiences. Over the past several years, we’ve installed directional and safety signage and worked tirelessly with volunteers to clean up trash in and along the river so that it can be enjoyed by the community.”

With temperatures rising and some outdoor activities allowed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, officials said that a trip on the river might be what some Michiganders need.

“We just want to make sure that if people get on the water, they have personal flotation devices and some experience with paddling. Safety is certainly important,” Yauk said.

The MDNR designated its first eight state water trails in 2018, which include: the Central River Raisin Water Trail, in Monroe County; the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, in Antrim and Kalkaska counties; the Huron River Water Trail, in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties; the Island Loop Route, in St. Clair County; the Flint River Trail, in Genesee and Lapeer counties; the Middle Grand River Water Trail, in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Ionia counties; the Shiawassee River Trail, in Genesee, Oakland, Saginaw and Shiawassee counties; and the Upper Grand River Water Trail, in Eaton, Ingham and Jackson counties.

To learn more about the Clinton River Watershed Council, visit www.crwc.org or call (248) 601-0606.