Coalition Wins Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network Grant to Continue Work on Water Trail

Water Trail designation would improve public access and promote outdoor recreational experiences on Shiawassee River from Holly to Chesaning and St Charles. 

July 6, 2016, SHIAWASSEE RIVER, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River is happy to announce that it was just awarded an important grant by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN) to further the work of the so many river advocates as we pursue national water trail designation.  The $21,400 grant will support coordination of a regional coalition’s work with trail development experts from the National Park Service.  Work has already begun to conduct an inventory of public access sites and amenities along the 120 mile stretch of river.  This information will be used to create a water trail management plan and identify funding to implement this project.  The WIN grant also supports development of a public website to promote paddle experiences and the communities and businesses along the Shiawassee River from Holly to Chesaning.

“We are excited to support this project that will really serve as a new template in engaging our urban areas in the broader work of conservation and the enhancement of regional quality of life,” said Michael Kelly, Great Lakes Director of The Conservation Fund.  The Conservation Fund administers the Saginaw Bay WIN project. “By providing this grant, we hope to build new partnerships between a variety of community organizations, while at the same time connecting people to nature through paddling experiences along this 120 mile stretch of the Shiawassee River,” added Kelly.

The Shiawassee River has been supported through past grants from Saginaw Bay WIN for signage in Holly, Linden and Fenton, six river launches, the Chesaning Dam removal and restoration, and the dam removal in Corunna, among many others. Friends of the Shiawassee River couldn’t be more thrilled by the support our Coalition has received from Saginaw Bay WIN as will begin working on this pivotal project to link, enhance and promote one of our region’s greatest assets and economic engines — the Shiawassee River.

“We want to attract new people to our communities and new dollars to our local economies from the river’s headwaters in Holly all the way up to the Shiawassee River National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw Township, said Jeff Deason, President of the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce.  “The river is one of our region’s greatest assets, and our goal is to both improve access to the river, and to package and promote outdoor experiences such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and bird watching.”

Much work has already been accomplished from Holly to Byron, which resulted in the Shiawassee River landing at #7 on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ poll: Top 11 Places to Paddle in Michigan.  The Coalition will work to extend those improvements in recreational access, signage, mapping, programming and public information into the communities of Byron, Durand, Vernon, Corunna, Owosso, Oakley, St. Charles and Chesaning.