Sunday, February 14, 2010

Keepers of the Shiawassee Protect, promote and restore

New volunteer group to host meeting

Published: Saturday, February 13, 2010 6:17 AM EST - Tri County Times
Fenton — The Shiawassee River, the liquid ribbon that flows through Holly, Fenton, Linden and Argentine all the way to the Saginaw River, is the topic of discussion for the first Keepers of the Shiawassee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18.

The Keepers of the Shiawassee is a volunteer group that is beginning to develop the river as a paddling trail by organizing cleanups, installation of signage, and canoe/kayak launches. “The Shiawassee River is one of our greatest resources and has the opportunity to provide recreation and economic development to our region,” said Maggie Yerman, an advocate for the Shiawassee River and key organizer of Keepers of the Shiawassee.

Keepers of the Shiawassee has grown out of efforts started by Headwaters Trails, Inc. in Holly that created a paddling trail along the river from Holly to Fenton, and who organize an annual canoe race. Though local river cleanups take place in Fenton, Linden and Argentine, there has not been an organized effort to link volunteers in Genesee County to develop and promote the river. The Keepers of the Shiawassee hope to establish the water trail with safe and legal launch and landing sites and facilities every 4 to 6 river miles for novice and recreational paddlers.

The water trail would not stop in Genesee County. Friends of the Shiawassee River in Shiawassee County spearhead the development and promotion of the river.

At the end of the day, these collective groups hope to see a paddling trail that’s nearly 100 miles long, from Holly all the way to the Shiawassee Flats. Last year, the Fenton Community Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint lent its support by providing a grant to the Center for Applied Environmental Research, UM-Flint for interpretive signage, brochures, and developing a canoe launch.

“We are very pleased to be working with such great communities who embrace the river and see it as an opportunity to bring people in to enjoy nature and see what southern Genesee County has to offer,” said Sara McDonnell, program coordinator at University of Michigan-Flint.

 Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation has been providing administrative support to the group.
They also offer some great kayaking classes for all different levels.
The classes take place in the security of the Fenton High School Pool.

More information is available at their brand new website
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