New kayak landing coming to Innovation Hills

By: Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published April 6, 2020

Kayakers along the Clinton River will soon have a spot to take a break, eat some lunch and charge their phones.

The Rochester Hills City Council recently approved a contract for the installation of its first universal design kayak landing, which will be installed this spring at Innovation Hills. 

“This is a really exciting amenity that fits in with our commitment to be ‘Innovative by Nature,’ Council President Ryan Deel said in an email. “In addition to our trails and other outdoor amenities, we will be able to offer our residents another opportunity to get outdoors and take full advantage of the natural features our city has to offer.”

Rochester Hills’ Director of Parks and Natural Resources Ken Elwert said the project — which is slated to cost nearly $200,000 — is part of a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant accepted by the City Council in November 2018. Elwert said the grant covers roughly 50 percent of the cost.

City officials said the landing — which the city plans to have operational by late summer or early fall — will allow a kayaker or canoer to stop at Innovation Hills, use the restrooms, take a lunch break and charge their phone at a solar charging station. 

“It’s meant as step No. 1, to be a stopping point. That’s why we call it a landing,” Elwert said. “We’re going to be putting in a picnic table and a solar charging station, relatively close to that area, so people can stop and have lunch and walk to the bathrooms off the boardwalk.”

The landing — which will rise and fall with the river level — will eventually allow people to launch from the park, which is adjacent to the Clinton River. 

“(The landing is) some 500, 600, 700 feet from the parking lot, so it’s probably too long to carry a kayak or canoe, so you’ll be able to book a cart in the parking lot and push it there. We’re still working out the logistics to that,” Elwert explained.

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said one element that makes Rochester Hills so desirable is the connection it provides people to the natural beauty of the area. 

“The new kayak landing at Innovation Hills will provide the community an opportunity to interact with the Clinton River in a unique way. I am excited for this feature to become a reality,” Barnett said in a statement.

Elwert said the city, in partnership with the Clinton River Watershed Council through the city’s master plan process, has identified two other locations for potential kayak landings. 

“One is Eagle’s Landing, near Livernois and Avon, and the other one will be at Yates Park, near the Yates Cider Mill,” he said.  

Innovation Hills Park is a 130-acre public space located north of Hamlin Road, east of Adams Road. To become an Innovation Hills sponsor, contact the mayor’s office at (248) 656-4664. For more information, visit

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.