Sturgeon, W.Br. (Menominee R. trib.), Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||20 fpm|
|Max Gradient||55 fpm|
Some interesting drops for anyone willing to paddle a wooded-up PITA reach. (If you do it once,
you'll probably never feel the need to do it again.)
The one time we paddled this (April of 2001, at relative minimal flow) we ran a couple of drops, portaged a grungy drop, and had one section of a quarter-mile or so where it appeared a 'gust front' had blown down a whole swath of trees. We had a very cumbersome carry around, over, and through a total wooded-up mess, instream and on shore!
Looking now at Google Maps, it appears there may be other roads for access. There was a nice spot or two of rapids somewhat later in our run. I can't recall (nor can I tell from topo or aerial shots) where those spots of rapids might be relative to the shown roads.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|-7.5||USGS sampling site||N/A|
|1.5||Head of Gradient||N/A|
|1.5||Upper Mill Pond Falls||IV|
|1.7||Lower Mill Pond Falls||III+|
|2.4||Camp Suicide Road||N/A|
|2.8||Unnamed (truck trail?) road||N/A|
|3.2||*Possible* minor rapids||N/A|
|4.0||Perhaps random rips||N/A|
USGS lists a sampling site with drainage area of 56 square miles.
Topo map shows a mill pond (long gone, as it does not show up in satellite views), followed by 30' of drop in a rather short distance starting about here.
Just shy of 1.5 miles of flatwater paddling you'll likely see some buildings (river-left shore), and immediately downstream, as trees close in, the gradient begins.
You don't have to paddle very far to find a big drop.
I believe this is the "grungy" falls mentioned in the main description. A pretty fair straightaway precedes an abrupt 90-degree right, where the river spills across splines of rock.
We have no first-hand information about whether this is a private road or if it is reasonably passable with normal street vehicles. This could provide access after the two big drops. If possible to use, we recommend you ensure you can identify this take-out location from the river.
Another possibility for access. Again unknown if it is gated or posted as private. Again, if accessible, make certain to have a good look at the river to be certain that from your boat you can identify this location (if vehicles aren't within sight of the river).
Resolution on aerial views gets pretty sketchy through here, but I *think* there may be some minor low-grade rips through about here.
At this point the resolution on aerial view improves, and it appears the river is fairly free of snags and has some slight improvement in gradient, creating minor rapids between here and our indicated take-out.
Again, very low resolution on aerials, but I *think* there are some low/moderate rapids here.