Location: within Green Bay city limits, east from downtown.
Character: Intimate creek, in a park, with water sheeting across bedrock with short ledges.
Shuttle Length: 0.6 miles (carry up).
Drainage area at put-in: approximately 15.7 square miles.
Nearby ('companion') runs (with drainages, for comparison): Bower Creek (14.8sq.mi.), School Creek (15 sq.mi.), Devil's River (36 sq.mi.), Neshota/West Twin (43 sq.mi.).
Put-in is approximately 662' elevation.
Take-out is approximately 610' elevation.
Thus total elevation change is approximately 52'.General Overview
This short reach lies entirely within a city park, through which there is a paved path plus a system of dirt trails for hiking and off-road biking. Put-in at Moon Valley Drive, just off of Baird Creek Road (with I43 passing overhead). A series of short ledges in this little creek will provide busy entertainment for whitewater boaters -- great fun if you have the skills and proper equipment, significant danger if you do not have the skills and healthy respect for the technical nature of this run at moderate-to-high flows! Caution is urged, as deadfalls and snags are common. Get out as soon as the gradient peters-out and deadfall becomes plentiful. This will maximize the fun, minimize the frustration and danger, and minimize the hike back to your vehicle. Carry up and do it again!It is highly recommended (virtually mandatory!) to walk the whole reach before putting on, to be aware of the overhanging trees and snags and deadfall in the river, and carefully assess your ability to navigate the twists and turns. At virtually any boatable flow, there will be very few (and small) eddies. If you can't catch a 'one boat eddy' (or if you don't even know what that means), you should not be in a boat on this tiny creek! Any downed tree or substantial overhanging branch is potentially deadly if you are swept into it! (And there WILL BE downed trees and overhanging branches!)Technically, the actual rapids almost never rate above a class III. However, at anything above bare minimum flows, you need the manueverability of a proper whitewater boat, and skills more nearly in the class III-IV range! Contrary to logic or expectation, smaller creeks like this can be more dangerous than some larger rivers, precisely because they will have so much UNAVOIDABLE overhanging shrubbery and deadfall, and essentially need to be in flood to run, meaning there won't be many eddies. You will be swept into things, and the strength of the current can make it impossible to get you or your boat out of the flow. If you are not a strong, experienced whitewater paddler, expect to lose your paddle and possibly your boat if you flip or swim.
This and the listed nearby 'companion' runs are fairly similar drainages, so it is quite likely that these will all be 'up' at the same time. These are also all fairly short runs, which should allow for a 'daily double', or triple, or quad! It also gives you a 'backup plan' in the event any of them is unrunnable (due to wood or water level), so you are unlikely to be 'skunked' (unable to find at least one of them boatable when gauges indicate runnable flows).
For what it's worth, while topo maps show additional gradient upstream of our listed put-in, (1) there is little convenient access (other than hiking up, lengthening your walk on muddy trails), (2) the stream is even more narrow and very brushy, and (3) it lacks the bedrock riverbed which creates the rapids in the listed reach.Special Note: The real HUC for this reach should be 04030204. It has been 'faked' below to allow this reach to 'sort' (when listing is pulled up 'by drainage') into the "Southwestern Lake Michigan" rivers, rather than the already bloated list of "Northwestern Lake Michigan" rivers. If this somehow causes problems for anyone using this listing, please send a message to the Regional StreamTeam Leader (which can be done via the "Add a Comment" button which should appear at the bottom of this page for all registered, logged-on users).
From Moon Valley Drive bridge, you will have a short series of waves through a couple of S-bends, and you'll quickly see a bit of a horizon line. This first ledge is the biggest ledge on the run, and can develop a surprisingly sticky hole at some flows. Be prepared to punch this drop -- as soon as you land in the hole, reach forward, dig a paddle deep and pull yourself through the hole to keep from being pulled back into it and surfed or back-endered. (Of course, if you are an accomplished play-boater, you may want to try for a surf here! It will mostly be catch-on-the-fly, since the pool below is short.)
Far less consequential than the first, another ledge occurs here. At some flows, it may be possible for skilled boaters to turn bow-upstream above this, stall their speed, and drop in for a surf-on-the-fly. There is generally not much of an eddy, so repeat play is unlikely.
Another small ledge exists just before the creek passes under a railroad trestle. It may be possible to either catch a surf on-the-fly, or to catch the eddy (you'll have to be very aggressive to do so -- it's a small, short eddy).
Just beyond the railroad, the creek is diverted sharply left as it encounters a vertical wall of rock.
After a very short distance along this wall (as the creek sweeps away from the wall, to the left), there's a tree on river-right which arches over and dips low over the center of the creek. Boaters will have to paddle aggressively to river-left to avoid being swept into this overhanging tree! (It may be neccesary to back-paddle, or turn bow upstream to do an 'upstream ferry' to slow yourself and give yourself time to avoid this potentially serious hazard!)
This is one of the reasons this run is strongly NOT recommeneded for casual recreational kayaks, rafts or touring canoes (canoes not specifically designed for whitewater boating). All such craft will lack the maneuverability to avoid this hazard!
The last good ledge occurs where the new paved path nears the creek from the 'lower' parking lot. (There is also a small pull-through parking area just a bit upstream). There is a decent (not great, but decent) eddy here at good river levels, and experienced boaters may wish to do some surfs in the wave/hole. The feature is shallow, so don't expect more than surfs and flatspins.
Most boaters will get out here as you have run the best of the gradient. There is still a good amount of 'bobble water' downstream, but sooner or later you will encounter an impassible snag or deadfall. Since the creek is so narrow, swift, and twisty, you need to be very vigilant as you proceed. It is very easy to find yourself in a spot with no eddy and no good way to get out of the creek before being swept into a serious hazard. You do not want to get flushed into or under such a snag. Loss of equipment (paddles, boats, etc) is very likely, and injury or even loss of life is certainly possible! Again, this is why this creek should never be done by inexperienced boaters, or anyone in a raft, recreational kayak, or 'touring' canoe.
Downstream of the Parking Lot Ledge, increasingly you have to be concerned with overhanging branches from trees and shrubs on shore ('sweepers'). Look well ahead, and plan well-ahead, to avoid becoming entangled in these. It takes considerable skill to keep from being swept into them and from having your paddle wrested from your hands if you are swept through them.
NOTE: The photo above is looking UPSTREAM ... the water is coming toward you, around a LEFT-HAND bend, where you will be swept toward these overhanging branches on the outside (river-right) of the bend in the creek.
Besides the sweepers (generally small overhanging twigs and branches), there are commonly strainers (larger branches and trees, still attached to shore by their roots) which occur randomly down this stretch.
And, to add insult to injury, randomly, wood which has fallen into the stream (branches, logs, and whole trees) will occasionally accumulate at random points.
Again, all these things will change year to year, month to month, even day to day! Every time flows go up to runnable levels, new areas of concern will arise, which is why (on something this narrow and continuous) it is virtually MANDATORY to walk the whole section of creek before putting on!
Three of us ran this stretch yesterday at 140 cfs, which was definitely enough water for a run. A short but very fast and non-stop Class II+ run. We ran it twice. Very fun. Deadfall is definitely a hazard and eddies are few.
There has been a USGS gauge on Baird Creek just above the recommended put-in. Unfortunately, it has gone unfunded.
Being such a small watershed, this creek will flash up and down quite rapidly, often defying the lag in time for the gauges to be updated online. As a result, the better 'gauge' is to watch weather reports and rainfall patterns, and be ready to check it out when there is water (being prepared to find anything from too low to too high).
It will be necessary to walk the whole reach before putting on, to carefully assess water level and to be aware of any overhanging shrubs, branches, deadfall, and strainers, and to carefully assess your ability to navigate the twists and turns and (most importantly) to get out before any impassible wood.
Gauge/flow analysis (based on data 2003.09.25 - 2008.10.28)
Drainage area at gauge: 15.74 sq.mi.
Minimum daily mean flow during cited period (2003-09-25): 0.21 cfs
90% of time mean daily flow exceeds: 0.37 cfs
10% of time mean daily flow exceeds: 28 cfs
Maximum daily mean flow during cited period (2010-03-14): 315 cfs
10/90 ratio: 75.6 ('flashy-ness': under 3 is fairly steady, over 10 is quite 'flashy', so this one is mercurial!)
Also based on about 7.5 years worth of historical data from USGS, on average one might expect this section to run:
above 75 cfs about 24 days per year,
above 100 cfs about 17-18 days per year,
above 150 cfs about 8-9 days per year,
above 200 cfs about 4 days per year,
and above 250 cfs about 1-2 days per year.
Note: All above is based upon "mean daily flow". With such a 'flashy' creek, certainly there may be times when the creek was boatable (exceeded minimums for less than a whole day), but the 'mean daily flow' may not have come up to minimums.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Parking Lot Ledges
Typical Ledge/drop on Baird
The Rock Wall
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