Monday, April 27, 2009

June 7th 2009 Shiawassee River Paddle Event

Press Release
Shiawassee River Paddle Event – June 7th, 2009

Shiawassee River Paddle Event
June 7, 2009

Canoes available for rental thru Heavners Canoe Livery on site that day
Shuttle transport from 1pm - 6 pm for continuous transport of boats/ people

Start : WaterWorks Park in Holly, Michigan

End : Strom Park in Fenton, Michigan

Distance : 7 scenic miles of numerous twists and turns

Schedule :

10:00 am : On-site registration begins WaterWorks Building, Broad Street

11:30 am : Introductory Ceremony North side WaterWorks Park

11:45 am : Experienced Canoeists Start at Millpond, Broad Street

12:15 pm : Novice/Youth Canoeists Start at Millpond, Broad Street

12:45 pm : Kayak/ Single person canoeists Start on Shiawassee River, Broad Street

***1:15 pm : Leisure/fun paddle Start on Shiawassee River, Broad Street*****

6:00 pm : Final river sweep completed

Canoes available for rental thru Heavners Canoe Livery on site that day
Shuttle transport from 1pm - 6 pm for continuous transport of boats/ people

Questions ?

Call Sue Julian, 248-634-3513 or email sjulian @ provide dot net

Call Doug Lanyk 248-634-4551 or email dslanyk @ comcast dot net

Call Willi Gutmann 586-215-6387 or e-mail Willi_H2O @ Yahoo dot Com

Friday, April 24, 2009

Classification of Rapids & Water Levels

As seen from

Classification of Rapids, Water Level, and Canoeists

By I. Herbert Gordon

Part of the planning of a canoe trip entails knowing what to expect on your trip. This is not so difficult to figure out when you are canoeing on a lake. For canoeing on a river, however, you should learn about the ratings given to rapids, water level, and even canoeists.

A skier is aware that a black diamond run is a lot steeper and more difficult than a green circle slope. Rapids, like ski slopes, vary in their intensity. The International Rating system classifies rapids as follows:

* Class A: Lake water. Still. No perceptible movement. met. Even nor
* Class I.- Easy. Smooth water; light riffles; clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves. The most difficult problems might arise when paddling around bridges and other obvious obstructions. classification
* Class II.- Moderate. Medium-quick water; rapids with regular waves; clear and open passages between rocks and ledges. Maneuvering required. Best handled by intermediates who can maneuver canoes and read water.
* Class III.- Moderately difficult. Numerous high and irregular waves; rocks and eddies with passages clear but narrow and requiring experience to run. Visual inspection required if rapids are unknown. Open canoes without flotation bags will have difficulty. These rapids are best left to canoeists with expert skills.
* Class IV- Difficult. Long and powerful rapids and standing waves; souse holes and boiling eddies. Powerful and precise maneuvering required. Visual inspection mandatory. Cannot be run in canoes unless the craft is decked or properlyequipped with flotation bags. Advance preparations for possible rescue work important.
* Class V- Extremely difficult. Long and violent rapids that follow each other almost without interruption. River filled with obstructions. Big drops and violent currents. Extremely steep gradient. Even reconnoitering may be difficult. Rescue preparations mandatory. Can be run only by top experts in specially equipped whitewater canoes, decked craft, and kayaks.
* Class VI.- Extraordinarily difficult. Paddlers face constant threat of death because of extreme danger. Navigable only when water levels and conditions are favorable. This violent whitewater should be left to paddlers of Olympic ability. Every safety precaution must be taken.

Water Level

The characteristics of a river can change remarkably as the water level rises or falls. As you might expect, a set of Class II rapids can become raging Class IV when the water is abnormally high following spring runoff or heavy storms. Conversely, a Class IV can turn into a shallow pussycat when the water level is low in the late summer. Even normally calm stretches become turbulent and dangerous at flood stage, because the force of currents slammed this way and that by rocks and obstructions creates powerful and dangerous surface conditions.

An International Rating system has also been devised to describe river flow. The classification for a specific river may change from season to season; the following letter designations are used to describe water level and rate of flow:

* L, or Low. Below-normal levels for the river. Below-normal depth may interfere with good paddling. Shallows may turn into dry banks and low areas become muddy sandbars.
* M, or Medium. Normal river flow. Medium water generally is used to describe good water for rivers with slight gradients and enough depth for passage on the steeper sections.
* MH, or Medium High. Higher than normal. Faster flow on gentle gradients. The best flow for more difficult river sections with enough water for passage over low ledges and through rock gardens.
* H, or High. Water is becoming difficult to handle. he river is well above normal stage. Canoeists may refer to the strong currents as "heavy." Small debris may come floating by, a warning that the river is dangerous and better left to skilled kayakers or canoeists whose craft are supported by flotation bags.
* HH, or High-High. Very heavy water. Hydraulics are complex. Even slight gradients become treacherous. Debris frequent. Only for experts.
* F, or Flood. Abnormally high water, overflowing the banks; current extremely violent; low-lying areas underwater. TV crews show up to shoot tape for the evening news. Not for any boaters except those with appropriate equipment on dangerous rescue missions.


The Appalachian Mountain Club rates canoeists on a scale of I through V. Check your competence against their ratings:

* Class I.- Beginner. Is familiar with basic strokes and can handle a tandem canoe competently from the bow or stern in flat water; solo canoeist is familiar with basic strokes.
* Class II.- Novice. Can handle more advanced whitewater strokes solo or in either bow or stern of a tandem canoe. Knows how to read water; can negotiate easy and regular rapids with assurance.
* Class III.- Intermediate. Can negotiate rapids requiring linked sequence of maneuvers; understands and can use eddy turns and basic bow-upstream techniques; is skilled in either bow or stern of a tandem canoe; can paddle Class II rapids in a solo canoe or kayak.
* Class IV- Expert. Has established ability to run difficult (Class III and Class IV) rapids in bow or stern of a tandem craft; can paddle solo in a properly equipped canoe or kayak; understands and can maneuver in heavy (Class H) water.
* Class V- Leader. Is an expert canoeist; possesses the experience, judgment, and training to lead a group of any degree of skill on any navigable waterway and in the wilderness.

To the preceding list I would add a "Class A" to describe one who has virtually no familiarity with canoes or canoeing.
Should You Paddle That River?

Three elements must be evaluated before you are competent to judge your ability to handle a river: (1) your ability; (2) the class of rapids; and (3) the river flow level. You should have no trouble deciding whether you should paddle an unknown 12-mile stretch of the Foamy River when a friend tells you:

"The first couple of miles are sort of flat, but then you'll run into five or six sets of Class II rapids just after you pass the old covered bridge on Route 6. There's a rock garden after the river swings past the only island you'll find on your trip. After that it's clear sailing, but the river normally runs pretty fast for the last 2 miles. Of course, you gotta keep in mind we've had a lot of rain the past two weeks, and I know before that the river was running maybe a little below Medium, but it could be Medium-High right now. If it is, you can run a set of ledges to the left of the island. Otherwise, stick to the right. And that rock garden might be a Class III set of rapids, a helluva lot of fun-it's usually just a lot of maneuvering.

A helluva lot of fun is right, that is, if you and your partner have the experience to handle this kind of water.

The moral: Know what to expect from a technical description of a river and from your own skill at the class of rapids and expected water level. Don't put yourself and your partners at risk. If in doubt, personally inspect the river first, or don't run it.

Canoe livery operators are excellent sources of information about the rivers they service and usually are quick to warn customers about any unusual situations. When the waters are dangerous because of high levels or unusual cold temperatures, most operators will cancel all rentals. The better ones will give out rain checks. Even if you have your own canoe, operators will be as ready to warn you about dangerous conditions as they are their own customers.

Excerpted: The Complete Book of Canoeing by I. Herbert Gordon -Falcon Publishing.

Friday, April 03, 2009

2009 Clean Up - May 3rd - Water Works Park

Great day everyone. You missed a beautiful day on the river April 2, 2009. Willi and I traveled from Waterworks Park in Holly to Strom Park in Fenton today. The river was surprisingly clear of trees considering the big windstorms we had over the winter. To start the trip the water was high enough to paddle the original course of the river near Waterworks Park. This was a first for us. It gives a different perspective on the waterworks building and the bridge. Continuing down the river rather than portage most of the blockages we ran into using a chainsaw to go through them seemed the easier choice. (OK I just like using a chainsaw.) We did cut up at least 8 trees and broke up a couple of log jams mostly built from last summers cut trees coming free of their moorings. We did leave 1 small portage and there are multiple spots where you need to duck or perform interesting maneuvers. The sunshine was invigorating, the light breeze cooling, and the water refreshing. I didn't get in past my nipples but was happy to be in the water that deep. (I was wearing chest waders.) The waterfowl were starting their search for nesting sights. Most of the larger river birds common in the region were in generous attendance. On the down side the amount of garbage on the river was the worst I've seen in several years. There are a lot of beverage containers with some assorted buckets and other lawn type decorations scattered throughout our journey.

In short the river is passable, but needs cleaning. The first official cleanup of the year will be on Sunday May 3rd starting at noon from Waterworks Park in Holly. We will need several chainsaw wielding persons along with several litter collectors.

Hope to see you all on the river soon.

Douglas Lanyk.