Building a kayak and canoe launch in Ypsi

On last night’s episode of The Saturday Six Pack, in a discussion with Elizabeth Riggs, the deputy director of the Huron River Watershed Council, about efforts to improve fish habitat along the Huron, Riggs mentioned work that had been done earlier that morning at the north end of Frog Island Park to create an access point for canoes and kayaks. Well, here, in case anyone is interested, are a few photos that I took after completing my shift clearing brush… It’s pretty incredible what a dozen or so volunteers can accomplish in a single morning, especially if they have a few chainsaws, a little backhoe, and an industrial wood-chipper at their disposal.




I may have misheard Bill Kinley, as he was running along the riverbank with a chainsaw at the time, but I’m pretty sure he said that, not too long ago, it had been proposed that the cement staircase, which can be seen above, be removed. [As I understand it, no one really knows why it was put here in the first place.] This, I believe Kinley said, would have cost the city over $200,000. Instead, however, he and folks at the Huron River Watershed Council called in a few favors, and put out the call for volunteers, and we were able to clear the overgrowth around the stairs and create a usable river access point without spending a single dollar of the city’s money. There’s still some work to be done, but a huge number of rocks were pulled from the river, and an entire 40-foot expanse of the riverbank was cleared. So, if all goes according to plan, next spring you’ll be able to put your tubes, kayaks and canoes in at the north end of Frog Island, and travel all the way through the city to Water Works Park.

[Special thanks, as I understand it, are owed to Margolis Nursery, which provided the backhoe, the wood-chipper, and the folks to operate both.]

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  1. Jean Henry
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Well done! I noticed that section had been well cleared on my dog walk. The whole river front, from this landing to Water Street, is really coming together. Accessibility is much improved already. It’s a beautiful stretch of river.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I’m looking at that pile of big rocks, thinking about what what we could do with them. I’m also thinking that we should pain that wall.

  3. maryd
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink


  4. David
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Myself and other I know have kayaked this area of the river for year… It’s to low in spots, not to mention the water is filthy.. If I could Recommend action, it would be as follows. Improve the quality of the water and it’s cleanliness, then build a launch.

  5. Kat
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    It is low in spots, but the Huron, as it passes though Ypsilanti, is not dirty, David.

  6. Ashley
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all of your work. I am sure this will be great. There is a great spot for a canoe launch in Waterworks Park that opens up with a wall along the river. It is opposite where people feed the geese. If your volunteer crew would ever be interested in opening that up to be another canoe launch, then I’d be glad to help. Actually, anything you want to do to make the river more accessible, then I’d love to help.

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