Black, Little, Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||130 fpm|
|Max Gradient||145 fpm|
|virtual-130632||150 - 1000 cfs||III+||02h10m||~ 22.4 cfs (too low)|
|Undoubtedly too low for reasonable whitewater. Virtual gauge approximates theoretical flow here based on relative drainage areas. Correlation is not assured.|
WIth 28 square miles drainage where it crosses Hwy.2, this should see adequate flow with some frequency. Problem is, with that small a drainage, it's likely to suffer from deadfall and snags. That said, it has pretty good gradient, so it could be interesting. After the confluence with the Black, you will run nearly the final mile of the Upper: Ramsey (Mill St) to Gabbro (Baker) Falls stretch (undoubtedly at high flows, if the Little Black has adequate water), running its named drop (Neepikon Falls, really much more of a rapids), and taking out above Gabbro Falls.
We have no first-hand awareness of the feasibility of this run. If you have scouted it or attempted to boat it, what did you find? Is it worthwhile, or a snag-filled portage-fest? Help out your fellow boaters with a comment or report!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|-0.4||USGS Sampling Site||N/A|
|0.6||Baker Blackjack Road||N/A|
USGS lists a sampling site just upstream of our listed put-in and show drainage of 28 square miles at that point.
That is very similar drainage area to E.Br.Huron (26.4 sq.mi. just DS of E.Br.Falls), the Upper Yellow Dog (31.8 sq.mi. at put-in), or the Lower Silver (34.5 sq.mi. at Arvon Rd, take-out for upper, put-in for lower). (NOTE: This is just for size comparison, and is not to suggest the runs are at all comparable, nor that flows would directly correlate, as the watersheds are vastly different.)
Also, just for what it's worth: In case you might wonder why this river is being listed as "Black, Little", which seems inconsistent with various other rivers in the UP are listed as "Little Iron", "Little Carp", etc. The difference is each of those rivers is a separate, distinct river running to Lake Superior, not a tributary of another river. Whereas, the Little Black is actually a tributary of the Black (more like "Huron, E.Br.", "Escanaba, M.Br.", etc.), so is listed as it is to show that relationship/dependency. Thus, we are actually being consistent by listing it thusly!
Pretty close to a half-way point on this piece of the Little Black, this could be an 'out' if starting from above and frustratted by this point by snags, or an alternate 'in' for the bottom ~0.7 mile, if that is any less of a snagfest.
Virtually all maps that I find online appear to have this falls labeled at a point well upstream of the location which has the most apparent action in this stretch of river. As you come round a gentle right-hand bend, the first 'warning drop' occurs. A very brief paddle brings a left-hand bend where the real action begins. This is just a very brief, rocky rapids, but should be rollicking at good flows.