THE WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
“Conserving the woods , fields, streams, wetlands and other natural resources in the headwaters of the Clinton, Flint, Shiawassee and Huron rivers” – North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy (www.nohlc.org )
The North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy believes in conservation collaboration for, and public awareness of, the wilder side of Oakland County. Last Sunday they sponsored a public paddle on the Shiawassee River. There is no better way to embrace the raw radiance of the wild rivers of our county than from a canoe, kayak — or even a paddleboard. The seven-mile stretch of the Shiawassee that was paddled meanders through meadows and woodlands and flows under train tracks and through culverts with tiny rapids and even passes over a small beaver dam on her journey from Holly to Fenton. It’s an exciting adventure, for the Shiawassee River is as old as the glacial retreat that enriched Oakland County with lakes and rivers and as new as the most recent paddle.
NOTE: We paddled the segment of the Shiawassee that started at WaterWorks Park (at 690 S. Broad Street in Holly) all the way to Strom Park on East Street in Fenton, seven miles as the river flows. That section of the river takes about two and one half hours to paddle, sometimes longer if wind resistance is prevalent. Future development of this Heritage Water Trail will enable kayakers, canoeists and perhaps even stand up paddlers to one day reach Saginaw Bay, making for a journey of 110 miles. But for now those easily accessible seven miles on the Shiawassee make for the perfect Pure Michigan adventure on the Wilder Side of Oakland County. Headwaters Trails (headwaterstrailsinc.org ) coordinates with other downstream groups that monitor the health of the river and its paddle accessibility: Keepers of the Shiawassee in Linden and Friends of the Shiawassee in Owosso.