Black, Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II (for normal flows)|
|BLACK RIVER NEAR BESSEMER, MI|
|usgs-04031000||250 - 2000 cfs||I-II||01h51m||39.1 cfs (too low)|
|Likely too low for any real whitewater. Gauge (200 sq.mi.drainage) is on this reach, so very accurately portrays actual flow.|
Ok, this is really a 'forgotten reach', having no named rapids or falls, stuck after Gabbro Falls, and before the "Narrows" section. Yet, it does have a fine share of low-grade rapids, suitable for novice boaters.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|3.4||Confluence, Kallander Creek||N/A|
|4.7||Hedberg Road / Powdermill Creek||N/A|
|4.8||USGS Gauge location||N/A|
|6.5||Slightly more significant feature||N/A|
|7.1||Confluence, Sixmile Creek||N/A|
|8.1||Confluence, Sapsucker Creek||N/A|
From the put-in below Gabbro Falls, the river is narrow and channelized tripping across boulders as it heads to the parking at the base of Black Jack Ski Area. As it passes under a bridge (variably labeled Black Jack Road or Indian Head Base Road) Jackson Creek comes in from the right, and the Black takes a sharp left. For the next nearly 3/4-mile the river is flanked by railroad (river-right) and the base of the ski hill (river-left) as it runs through random riffles and shoals.
After leaving the base of the ski area, still running alongside the railroad, the river encounters a bit of an island (river-left). Rock gardens lie at the head of the island, and a minor ledge lies before the end of the island. At some favorable flows, this may form an easy playable feature.
As the river crosses under the railroad, Abitosse Creek enters from river-right, and the Black takes a bend to the left. Flatwater is broken up by occasional light riffles and rips.
As the river veers right, away from the railroad tracks, it trips across some minor rips, and as it twists back to the left, Kallander Creek enters from the left. Downstream, an island splits the flow and a short stretch of waves will be encountered.
As the river heads to and passes under Moore Road, more shoals, riffles, and waves are encountered before things return to flatwater.
As you approach Hedberg Road, Powdermill Creek comes in from river-left. (It has a short 'stupid boater tricks' run, mostly for Powdermill Falls. See that description here: Powdermill Creek.
The USGS gauge for the Black (drainage 200 square miles) is located immediately downstream of the Hedberg bridge.
Downstream, flatwater is broken by occasional minor riffles and shoals.
A rocky stretch leads to a slightly more significant rock jumble which may (at some flows) cause more turbulence (and possible play?).
As the Black takes a jaunt to the right, Sixmile Creek enters from river-left. Continued flatwater, broken by minor shoals and rips.
As Sapsucker Creek enters from river-right, the Black veers to the left and encounters one of its longer stretches of light riffles and rips for this section.