Fall River Day returns to Ypsi, offering boat trips and more

Ypsilanti's annual Fall River Day will return to Frog Island Park Sept. 24, featuring canoe and kayak trips along the Huron River as well as family-friendly activities and educational programming. The event is open to beginning and experienced paddlers alike. Fall River Day activities are free, except for boat rentals, which will be available for a nominal fee on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ypsilanti City Council member Evan Sweet says Fall River Day has expanded and grown since its start in 2016. Starting as just a two-hour boat trip, it now entails a shorter trip that is more accessible to beginning paddlers and involves several amenities on the land as well.

"There are no kayak or canoe liveries in the Ypsi area, the closest one being in Ann Arbor," says Sweet. "This is a great opportunity to make this trip from Frog Island Park down to the mouth of Ford Lake."

The Ypsilanti Parks and Recreation Commission also works in tandem with many local and regional businesses and organizations to provide activities and programs on land. Sweet mentions partnerships with the Huron River Watershed Council, the Border to Border Trail, and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department, who will be providing educational opportunities for all ages to learn more about local river wildlife. The Ypsilanti District Library will also provide family-friendly activities for younger children.

Due to Fall River Day being funded completely through sponsorships and donations, attendees must pay to rent equipment. That's a change from last year's event, according to Sweet, when the parks commission received grant funding that was used to make equipment rentals free for all participants.

"The price is set by our equipment provider, and it will be a flat rate regardless of the size of the boat you need," Sweet says. "It's going to be a little higher than it's been in the past, but given the demand that we've seen we believe that we'll have a pretty good turnout."

Attendees are also welcome to provide their own equipment, but transportation from Ford Lake back to Frog Island Park will be limited, as provider Heavner Canoe and Kayak Rental will only be able to transport equipment they have provided between locations. 

Those interested in volunteering for Fall River Day can head to its event page on the city's website, where more information will be available at the beginning of September. Fall River Day will run from noon-3 p.m. Sept. 24, and attendees can launch from the starting point at Frog Island Park any time during the event.

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Photos courtesy of Evan Sweet.
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