Shiawassee River Earns “National Water Trail” Designation

Shiawassee River Earns “National Water Trail” Designation

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 26, 2020)

Holly, Fenton, MI- An effort of over five years has finally brought the Shiawassee River into the spotlight with a National Water Trail designation.

“We are excited to have been informed that our application, first submitted in April 2017, to the U.S. National Park Service for consideration as a “National Water Trail”, has finally been approved by the agency,” said David Lossing, Chair of the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition.  “We applied for a grant from the NPS in August 2015 for technical support to begin pulling the needed data and information together for the application.  We appreciate all of the support we’ve been given during that process, and since, to move our Water Trail forward.”

The Shiawassee River Water Trail is eighty-eight miles in length stretching from Holly, MI to Chesaning, MI, crossing through four counties in mid-Michigan.  It is popular among kayakers as well as the nature-lovers that enjoy visits.

The Park Service’s Water Trail Program was formed to “protect and restore America’s rivers, shorelines, and waterways; conserve natural areas along waterways; and increase access to outdoor recreation on shorelines and waterways. The Trails are a distinctive and national network of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained.”

The Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition has numerous members that have been working together to make the designation happen as well as other improvements including a 360-degree photography project, the addition of several launch locations along the river, installing paddling mile markers along the river downstream of Fenton, and installing 30 censors to give real-time reports of the depth and flow of the river.

Holly Township Supervisor George Kullis is excited about the designation.  “It brings notoriety  to the region; it puts us on the map. It will help bring more people to the region. It also opens it up for grant money to help take care of this waterway.

“Holly Township has Seven Lakes State Park. There is a nature conservancy. The DNR owns a lot of land. There’s Holly Recreation, Groveland Oaks, the new Holly ORV Park. This is an area known for recreation, and we’re always looking at what more we can do,” Kullis said.  He added that the Township has some property along the river where they’re considering adding hiking trails.

Organizations that are part of the collaborative effort include Village of Holly, Holly Township, Headwaters Trails, Inc., North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy, City of Fenton, City of Linden, Argentine Township, Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, Sierra Club – Nepsassing Chapter, Ponemah, Squaw and Tupper Lake Association, Keepers of the Shiawassee River, Byron Village Downtown Development Authority, Village of Vernon, City of Corunna, City of Owosso, Shiawassee County Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Shiawassee River, Village of Oakley, Village of Chesaning, Chesaning Township, and Saginaw County Parks and Recreation.

For more information about the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition: https://www.shiawasseewatertrail.org

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