Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shiawassee River Trail

Great Website -- Shiawassee River Trail

Contact Us

Sara McDonnell
University of Michigan

Center for Applied Environmental Research
432 N. Saginaw St., Ste 1001
Flint, MI 48502-1950
810-767-7272 phone
810-767-7183 fax

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Watersheds of the Shiawassee River

CLICK on picture with mouse to enlarge.
See the path from Oakland County to Saginaw Bay

Expanding the Paddling on Shiawassee River

The information was provided by Sara McDonnell,
Project Coordinator for the Center for Applied Environmental Research
at the University of Michigan - Flint.

"We want to promote the Shiawassee River as a water trail and
encourage people to kayak and canoe close to home," McDonnell said.

The first phase of the project undertaken by Headwaters Trails,
which runs by the Shiawassee River from Holly to Fenton, is already underway.
Their successes include installation of a canoe/kayak launch site,
development of a signage program, annual Holly to Fenton canoe races
and regular river cleanups and paddle trips.
Headwaters Trails is led by Sue Julian and Doug Lanyk.

"The Holly to Fenton section is being managed by Headwaters Trails.

They've already identified launches, emergency takeouts, and where signs need to be installed.

That's the first phase of the Shiawassee River trail," McDonnell said.

"There's funding secured for the signs from Holly to Fenton."

McDonnell also said because of the progress made in the first phase,

Southern Lakes Planning Initiative has taken on the next stretch of the river, from Fenton to Argentine.

"We'll be pursuing funding for signs from Fenton to Argentine this winter," she said.

McDonnell said a group, made up of representatives from Headwaters Trails,

Fenton Area Paddlers, Southern Lakes Parks and Recreation, the cities of Linden and Fenton,

Argentine Township, interested residents, teachers, individuals from the University of Michigan-Flint,

and those interested in the outdoors, met last April.

"(They) discussed the potential of extending the Shiawassee River Heritage Trial in Oakland County,

west through Genesee County by creating signage, recreation-based business, and continued river cleanups," she said.

Mayor David Lossing said people on the trail could stop at the launches and visit the different areas, grabbing a bite to eat on the way.

He said the city would do anything they could to help out this effort which would have a positive impact on the economy.

Councilor Ray Culbert said he thinks it's an excellent idea.

"(It would) really spur the growth of the economy," he said.

"It's such a wonderful asset, creating a regional trail," said Christopher Wren, city manager. "It's a phenomonal idea."

For more information regarding the river trail, visit

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pentax Optio W60 - Waterproof digital camera

Pentax Optio W60

Rugged, Waterproof Aqua-Shooter

Whether you're maxin' at a pool party, snorkeling a reef,
the Optio W60 has you covered.
Super-rugged and waterproof to 13 feet, this easy-to-handle,
10-megapixel aqua-shooter with 5X optical zoom makes
for a surprisingly good all-around compact.
Built for abuse, it's nearly indestructible.
Button layout easy to operate, even underwater.
Image quality is very pleasing.
Fine balance of feature set and price.

Camera Resolution: 10.0 megapixels
Optical Zoom: 5x
Digital Zoom: 5.7x
Style: Rugged, Ultracompact
Media Format: Flash, SD Card
Manufacturer: Pentax
Price: $330

Combine with sticky pod to shoot kayak movies

Sunday, November 16, 2008

GPS waterproof standards

WaterProof.. Submersible.. Spray proof.. What DO these terms mean?

MIL-STD 810 Immersion Standard, Military Specification equipment
MIL-STD 810 Blowing Rain, Military Specification equipment
JIS 2-8 Japanese Water Protection Specs similar to IEC529
CFR Title 46 Part 110.15 Aircraft Civilian specifications
IEC 529 European (ECC) water protection specifications

Of these, only IEC 529 (European Community Specification) and JIS2-8 (Japanese Industry Standard) have graduated test levels. These two specifications are very similar, but IEC 529 is gaining more acceptance in Europe which is a major market for many US manufacturers and is more defined in terms of the actual test. The table below gives a summary of the requirements for IEC 529 for WATER PROTECTION PROVISIONS.

Level Definition
0 Non protected, No special protection
1 Protected against falling water Equivalent to 3-5mm rainfall per minute for a duration of 10 minutes. Unit is placed in its normal operating position.
2 Protected against falling water when tilted up to 15 degrees. Same as (1) above but unit is tested in 4 fixed positions - tilted 15 degree in each direction from normal operating position.
3 Protected against spraying water, Water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical at 10 liters/min at a gage pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 min.
4 Protected against splashing water. Same as level 3 but water is sprayed at all angles.
5 Protected against water jets Water projected at all angles through a 6.3mm nozzle at a flow rate of 12.5 liters/min at a gage pressure of 30kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.
6 Protected against heavy seas. Water projected at all angles through a 12.5mm nozzle at a flow rate of 100 liters/min at a gage pressure of 100kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.
7 Protected against water immersion. Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.
8 Protected against water submersion The equipment is suitable for continuos submersion in water under conditions which are identified by the manufacturer.

*Note: IEC 529 level 7 is designated "IPX7" and is equivalent to JIS 7. The position of "X" being left blank indicates that the unit has no special mechanical protection.
*Note: Garmin typically uses the IEC-529 spec for the design spec for water protection level for their line of GPS equipment. Marine rated GPS equipment is usually tested to IPX7.

Garmin units in current production,
rated for submersion to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

There has been discussion as to the degree of "waterproofness" of Garmin GPS receivers and especially the eTrex and Summit (Legend and Vista use essentially the same package).

Here is Garmin's statement on waterproofness:

Garmin reports (from a past review): "Our specifications for eTrex (and Rino) are that they are waterproof per IEC529-IPX7. IEC is a European specification published by the International Electrotechnical Commission. It is very similar to the Japanese Industry Standard JIS-8. IEC529 gives an excellent breakdown of the relative degrees of protection against water ingress. (IEC529 specification can be found HERE.) (A layman's breakdown of IEC529 can be found HERE.) By the way, our products are more waterproof than virtually everyone else's. We even test 100% of them in our factory. It costs a lot more, but we do it anyway to be sure what we ship meets IPX7. We understand and acknowledge that the marine environment can be very harsh. Even the brass contacts with nickel plating and gold over that will eventually corrode if left exposed to sea water long enough. That's the best contact material available, and we use it on all our external power contacts. All other marine electronic products in the $100-$500 class that we are aware of have this weakness. IEC529 specifies that the immersion test is to be done in fresh water, probably for this reason. The harsh environment does occasionally cause failures and we continually work on improvements to existing products while introducing new ones."

"The classification of IPX7 is for temporary (i.e. accidental) immersion in water. It is not for continuous underwater use. If the end user is looking for something that can be used underwater continuously, they need to find something rated IPX8 or JIS8. However, we are not aware of any or GPS or fish finder that is rated for IPX8 in any price category. You will see in the attached sections of IEC529, that "The manufacturer of the equipment should be consulted to determine the degrees of protection available and the parts of equipment to which the stated degree of protection applies." We recently did start to add to our packaging a note concerning the extended waterproofness of our battery compartments as the seal is rubber and over time and wear and tear, will not be able to maintain as good of a seal as when new. We have a vested interest in presenting truthful, correct information to all of our current and potential customers." (End of Garmin statement.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Silverman Companies development

Silverman Companies new plan for developing on the North side of Grange Hall Rd.
Their revised plans include a very dense mix of residential and commercial use.
The plans DO NOT include previously negotiated plans for a connecting trail
from The Village of Holly to Seven Lakes State park.

Please call the township 248 634 9331 for more details.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Choosing a Kayak

How to Choose a Kayak

In today's world there is a kayak designed to fit almost any recreational need. There are kayaks for white water, placid water, ocean waves, sit-in-side kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks, sea/touring kayaks, Olympic racing kayaks, fishing kayaks, marathon kayaks and ocean racing kayaks, kayaks for one person and kayaks for two. Whew! With so many options where does one begin? The best answer is to try before you buy ! Go on a guided tour from a local kayak outfitter, participate in a demo day held by kayak retailers, or visit your local kayak shop and talk about paddling.

In a perfect world all kayaks that are used on open water, ponds, lakes, estuaries, or oceans should have positive flotation in the bow and stern of the kayak. Two of the best ways to ensure positive flotation are with bulkheads, which create watertight compartments at the front and back of the kayak and will keep your kayak floating even if the cockpit is full of water, or with flotation bags that are placed and secured in the front and back of the kayak and perform as bulkheads in keeping the kayak from sinking. The need for positive flotation in a sit–on-top kayak is not essential since they are built as an airtight pontoon and will not sink if you fall off.

Proper outfitting for touring kayaks used in open water should include safety lines around the perimeter of the deck that allow you to grab and stay with the kayak in case you fall out or off. For a sit-in kayak, a crisscrossing arrangement of thick elastic deck lines behind the cockpit is essential since this is where you secure your paddle when performing a paddle float self-rescue in the event of a capsize. A good specialty outdoor paddle shop or outfitter can give instruction in these important safety aspects of kayaking.

Footbraces that are adjustable are an important feature so that you can rest your feet comfortably in the kayak against a proper support. In addition, a good seat and backrest will help you to sit upright when paddling and make you feel and look good on the water. In kayaks that are 12 feet in length or shorter, the backrest is usually very substantial. Kayaks that are longer than 12 feet usually have a lower-lumbar-support backband that allows greater freedom of movement for the paddler.

Most experts in the kayak world agree that a kayak under 12 feet in length does not go in a straight line very well when paddling in open water, so look for a kayak that is known to track well (go in a straight line). These kayaks will almost always be 12 feet long whether they are sit-in kayaks or sit-on-top kayaks. They are usually designed without rudders or skegs and are called recreational kayaks, as opposed to the longer kayaks that are called touring or sea kayaks. Whitewater kayaks are specifically designed to be paddled in rivers with fast currents and whitewater rapids. Whitewater kayaks are not used to paddle coastal areas, large lakes, lazy rivers, or oceans.

Some kayaks are equipped with foot-controlled rudders that assist you in staying on course. These are often found in touring/sea kayaks over 12 feet. A common misconception is that rudders are used for steering a kayak. While rudders can be used for casual steering to the left and right, rudders are actually designed to help keep you going straight when there are currents, wind, and wave action affecting your travel.

A popular activity with touring/sea kayaks is self-sustained travel along coastal areas, oceans, estuaries, or down lazy rivers with no whitewater. These touring/sea kayaks have hatches in the deck that allow for a week or two worth of groceries, fine libations, and all your camping gear. Another popular activity with touring/sea kayaks is fitness paddling and racing. A longer waterline length and a narrow beam (or width) generally means more speed with your double-blade paddle. Kayaking for fitness is exciting, cruising along with dolphins is fun, and you will learn to sprint if you kayak in gator territory.

Fishing kayaks are very popular and allow you to sneak up on your fish with all your favorite rods, bait, and tackle and are much less expensive than a power boat to operate. In the southeast fishing kayaks are usually sit–on-top models that allow you to get in and out easily in shallow water.

Kayaking is a wonderful lifetime sport and can be almost anything you want it to be. You can float down a river leisurely dipping your paddle in and out of the water basking in the sun. Shoot down rapids in Class I to V whitewater. Race long or short distances over the water. Let the miles glide under the hull of your touring kayak as you journey to your next destination. Paddle to your favorite fishing spot and bringing home the "fish for dinner." Some kayaks even make great photo platforms for wildlife photographers, allowing close encounters with wildlife and marine mammals. The point is, there's a great kayaking experience waiting out there for everyone.

Kayaks are made from different materials:

Polyethylene which is an almost indestructible plastic used in all types of kayaks. The major drawback with this material is the heavy weight.

Thermoplastics which are used by some manufacturers in short recreational kayaks and some touring kayaks. This material is lighter than polyethylene but not known for being very durable and is difficult or impossible to repair.

Fiberglass is used in touring/sea kayaks and is lighter than polyethylene, easily repaired, very durable, and gives better performance.

Kevlar is also used in touring/sea kayaks, however not because it is bulletproof, but because it is lighter than fiberglass and has the same durability and is easy to repair.

Carbon Fiber is the ultimate in lightness; an 18-foot-long touring kayak can weigh 36 pounds! This material gives great performance, is very tough, and is easily repaired contrary to widespread rumor that it is difficult to work with.

All kayaks are easily transported on the roof of your car, SUV, or truck. I never leave for a vacation (or a day at work) without my kayak. There are even bicycle trailers for kayaks. Kayaking is fun, healthy, and adventuresome. There's never been a better time to begin kayaking than today.