This water park consists of a series of nine tame drops into pools, largely as a canoe bypass around the Argo dam. The city runs two liveries which rent one- and two-person kayaks ('sit-on-tops') and rafts. Separately, it is free to the general public to bring personally-owned inflatables (mostly inner-tubes and the like), canoes or kayaks to run the gentle rips to cool off in summer.
There had also been plans for a more serious whitewater feature or two (which might draw legitimate whitewater boaters' interests) but this has been much more controversial. Additional articles about this venue are available online:Ann Arbor news (2012.03.01)City of Ann Arbor websiteDesign Team websiteNeighborhood Concerns, 2016.06
Enjoy this video 'test paddle' of the course:
Paddled this "portage" about 3 weeks ago with my wife. The flow was around 800 cfs. These are all small class I drops. At 800 cfs there may have been 2 drops approaching class II, and which you could kind of surf on. These drops are very narrow. Can be used to practice basic eddy turns and peel outs. A couple of drops may even be good ferry practice for a beginner. A couple of the pools were deep enough to practice rolling in current. You can pull your boat out and walk it back to the put-in for multiple laps.
I biked past the site last week, and construction is nearly complete. All the rock weirs (made of large rectangular limestone blocks) are in place, and the bank trail is being worked on now. It's a series of pools about 20-30 yards long each, with a drop chute from each to the next. The chutes are obviously sized for easy passage of canoes, and the drops are small, maybe a foot or two.
Gauge/flow analysis (based on USGS data, 1915-2009): Drainage area at gauge is 729 square miles. Minimum daily mean flow (Aug 2, 1931) was 4 cfs, 90% of time flow exceeds 121 cfs, 10% of time flow exceeds 948 cfs, and maximum daily mean flow (Mar 14, 1918) was 5,840 cfs. This gives a 10/90 ratio of 7.83 (10/90 is a measure of 'flashy-ness', with under 3 indicating quite steady flows, over 10 indicaing a river which is subject to very 'flashy' flows).
Generally one should expect very little meaningful whitewater play at flows under 150-200 cfs. Given the historical average "ten percent flow" of only 121 cfs, one should expect that this course might have little or no 'play' at least one month (and more likely at least two months) each year, on average. Flows of 100-200 cfs should keep the course viable as a fish-ladder and canoe bypass for general recreational (non-whitewater) paddlers, though obviously the record low shows that times of drought will be too low for even those purposes.
Permits are not required for this reach.
This will be a play park (park and play boating), so 'shuttle' will be carrying up, hterefore ignore the directions below. However, use the text entry box to input your home or other starting address to get drive time, distance, and directions to this location.
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