By Mike Stout, President and Founder, Michigan Waterways Stewards
Unsure where to put in, I eventually land at McGowan Electric Supply parking long and put in on the east side of the Grand River. It’s a steep slope that leads to the Grand River, too risky for general use. Looking at Google Maps a more user friendly put in location may be upriver at E. Morrell Street.
I’ll assess a distance of 2.75 miles today, ending at Jackson City Wastewater Treatment facility just off of River Street. Overall, it was a pleasant urban paddle and within the city limits it appears there has been considerable care in making it safe to navigate. It wasn’t until after passing underneath I-94 did I come across a single logjam too difficult for me to pass through in my 17’2” open sea kayak.
Generally speaking, the Grand River flowing through Jackson is relatively clean for an urban setting. There are a couple of hot spots along the river I recommend we immediately clean before these messes get washed into the river via rain, snowmelt, and spring floodwaters.
Behind CMS Energy
Under E. Mechanic Street Bridge
The Grand River clear and shallow here. The narrow section where the river carves its deeper channel may be chest deep. Waders may be all that is needed. Certainly a dry suit is ideal. I wore my wetsuit and when I had to wade through the the collection of logs the water was no deeper than my thigh.
I believe our inflatable catamaran, Takacat T380LX with its 5’5” width and 12’6” length should prove fine and allow for safe, pleasant river stewardship. It has the capacity to hold 6 people or 1,410 pounds. I believe three persons is all that we would want in the boat at any single time. The remaining space could be used to carry our materials and collect litter and trash along the way.
In the downtown Jackson we should be able to collect and with a reasonable effort lift over the railings our trash to collected as we make our way down river.
I see that just north of W. North Street, on the east side of the river, is the beginning of Amory Arts Walk. This appears to be paved and will be great for staging collected trash along the way here.
Just north of W. Montroe, on the west of the river, there is another path. This is unnamed (?) and appears to be a well traveled dirt trail. This too will work fine until it comes to an end near I94.
While I94 makes for a good designation of the end of our Jackson Grand River Cleanup event, just past this area you begin to see pockets of floating litter and trash caught in snaky turns of the river. It is my recommendation, to be good stewards, that we continue our work a little further down river. Certainly as far down to the Jackson City Wastewater Treatment plant if allowed to get out there.