This is a video journal of various parts of the Kalamazoo River from the launch site at 25 1/2 Mile Rd. and B Dr. N. (just outside of Albion, Michigan) to Stuart’s Landing in Marshall, Michigan. Stuart’s Landing is the last park on the south side of the river before going over the dam. Originally we planned to kayak all the way to 15 Mile Rd as this section had just opened up to the public from the Enbridge oil spill in 2010, but
we had to pull out sooner due to timing. This is a great stretch of river and I would highly recommend it. There were a few spots where we had to portage, but overall it was a great experience and probably my favorite so far of the Kalamazoo. If you do decide to paddle this stretch, realize that the last 3 miles is wide open water from the dam with little current to help you.
Also, in this video I got a shot of what I swear was a loon! That may sound strange to some, but I have lived in southern Michigan almost my whole life and have never seen a loon in the wild. Pretty awesome!
Finally, in the video we came across a couple of sticky situations while paddling this stretch….
In our first sticky situation, we came to a place where an old dam was taken out and there was a bit of rapids going as a result. We weren’t prepared to take on the water and so we portaged around the dam. In that part of the video I questioned Michigan law regarding a paddler’s ability to break trespassing laws in order to preserve their personal safety by NOT going over something like that if it posed a serious physical threat. In doing further research today, and in talking with “officials” from the DNR, I was surprised to discover that Michigan boating law does not allow boaters to portage via private land to avoid potentially hazardous obstructions like this. Luckily, “we never left the water” as you will see in the video.
In our second “sticky situation” we came across what appeared to be two yellow barriers that stretched across the entire river. We knew these weren’t from the Enbridge oil spill as we were nowhere near that section, but there were no signs indicating what they were there, nor any signs indicating that we couldn’t continue. In speaking with the Michigan DEQ, Enbridge, as well as the local DEQ and DNR offices, none of them knew anything about it. Very strange.