Families paddle down the Clinton River Aug. 1.

Families paddle down the Clinton River Aug. 1.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

New path anticipated for Rotary Park kayak launch

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 9, 2019


STERLING HEIGHTS — The wheels are turning on plans to make a dock at Rotary Park even more accessible, according to city officials.

During the Aug. 6 City Council meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois discussed some of the recent questions that residents have asked about Rotary Park and its kayak and canoe landing.

The city recently celebrated two EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System kayak and canoe landings that were built to make it easier for paddlers to go from land to water, and vice versa.

The docks, which are free to use, allow paddlers to sit and slide into their craft and embark or disembark with the help of side rails. The paddle launch sites are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, officials said.

An Aug. 1 ribbon-cutting ceremony at Clinton River Park North celebrated one dock opening, as well as another such dock at Rotary Park. Both have opened within the past year, officials said.

According to Langlois, while the Rotary Park kayak landing is near a private company, Clinton River Canoe and Kayak, the landing itself is still city-owned and on city property.

“One of the first common misconceptions that we have is that the landing is not on city property,” he said.

As part of the Recreating Recreation campaign, city officials said they will be finishing an accessible 10-foot-wide concrete pathway at Rotary Park that will let watercraft owners take their boats to the landing site.

Langlois said the project is still out to bid, but that should be resolved this month. The path construction should begin by mid-September, in time for a late fall opening, he said.

“While there is a path available to link the park to the landing, it has caused some confusion for our residents and river users,” Langlois said. “This new path will be hard-surfaced, universally accessible ... while also clearly establishing the direct pedestrian route to the river and paddle landing.”

Officials said other confusion has centered on the role that Clinton River Canoe and Kayak plays along the river. City officials said Sterling Heights has an arrangement with the kayak company where the latter does upkeep for part of the river to keep it clean enough for boat usage.

Langlois described the arrangement as a “mutually beneficial public-private partnership,” and he praised the company for its dedication to the Clinton River.

“Just today we hauled off a couple trailers full of tires and other debris from the river that were pulled out by Clinton River Canoe and Kayak. They do that on a daily basis and a weekly basis,” he said.  

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said the arrangement between the kayak company and the city is great for residents.

“There was a lot of confusion over the past several weeks over what was going on there and who owned that launch,” Taylor said. “That company is a reputable company. They’re licensed, or at least insured. They have the right to operate on the river. … And they have every authority from the state of Michigan, from the city of Sterling Heights.”

According to the city, residents who have their own kayak or canoe may park in Clinton River Canoe and Kayak’s parking lot for free by showing a photo ID to the company; the cost is $5 for nonresidents. According to city officials, both resident and nonresident launch users may pay an optional $5 at certain times to take a shuttle bus from the parking lot to a spot upstream.

To access the kayak and canoe landings, visit Rotary Park, located at 37328 Utica Road, or Clinton River Park North, located at 8600 Riverland Drive in Sterling Heights.

Find out more about Sterling Heights parks at www.myshpr.net or by calling (586) 446-2700.