After reading Thomas' comment below I was just wondering why there is a picture up of a rec kayaker running the dam without a helmet nor PFD?
Great place in the lower peninsula (centrally located) for easy in and easy out so you can practice. Great training ground.
Our group of four from the Raw Strength and Courage Kayakers (U Michigan kayak club) checked out the upstream and downstream spots today. Gauge was 390 this morning falling to 360 this evening. We found, just as described, an excellent practice site. This level was good, though 400+ would be better. We also found that the hydraulic below the intact dam made a very enjoyable surfing hole. The intact dam is on the other branch of the river in the upstream of the two parks; the river splits around an island and the weirs are on the river-left branch, while the dam is on the right branch. After running the first three weirs, you come to the downstream tip of the island and can paddle easily upstream to the hole. Be very careful of the broken concrete; only the river-left of the three sluiceway hydraulics is playable. The other two are good places for a fracture, as you can see by scouting from the bridge atop the dam. The concrete in the center and right sections is all points and edges, and very shallow. The playable hydraulic is very tractable, just sticky enough and easy to maneuver around in. The two parks are close enough together that the whole section can be run by dropping boats at the upper, driving to the lower, spotting the car, and walking back. The section of river is pretty, mostly overarched with trees, shady and pleasant. It's also very popular for tubing among the local college students; expect flotillas from time to time in warm weather.
We ran the wiers in March at around 400-500 CFS and had a great afternoon. Water Temp was just above 30 degrees. An open boater running the wiers without a lifejacket capsized and got into some serious trouble, so it's a good idea to keep the PFD's on.
**FYI-I was cautioned that there are submerged concrete blocks with rebar sticking out at the bottom of the dam sluice.**
I kayaked this stretch last weekend. The river was gorgious and I found the dam to be a more interesting run than the 3 or 4 small drops.
Some flow/fun values that we paddled in 2003 for the dam/park
200cfs - fun for novices to practice in current/eddy lines. 3 of the 5 weir locations are too shallow, and the play hole/wave-forming rock at the end is out of the water
500cfs - better level with stronger eddy lines at the weir breaks. Hole at the bottom is small but quasi-retentive. 2 of the 5 weir breaks have surfable waves.
My guess is that 400-500cfs would be optimum.
This river park is probably 200 feet long, 20 feet wide, 5 feet deep, with a Lower Yough "loop" type of arrangement-paved paths for access.
Best learning facility in lower Michigan
8 years ago
by Scott Puthoff
As low as 125 cfs, tame play is available (at 3 of the 5 weirs anyway).
Flows around 500 cfs are more 'optimal'.
Somewhere around 1,000 cfs things start to get pushy and some of the features just 'wash out' though play is still possible.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Alternative to the weirs
On the Chippewa, MI
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