Universally accessible kayak launches being installed along the Clinton River in Mt. Clemens

With two completed and two more in the planning stages, the Clinton River Watershed Council is steadily building toward its goal of installing twelve universally accessible kayak and canoe launches along the Clinton River.

While kayak launches in Clinton Township and Orion Township go through the necessary steps of planning, launches in Mt. Clemens and Sterling Heights are now officially open.

And while the kayak launch in MacArthur Park technically opened in downtown Mt. Clemens last fall, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this past Thursday, June 20, drawing dozens of onlookers, stakeholders, and local officials to the celebration event.

Speeches were made. Local watersport rental company Simple Adventures performed equipment demonstrations.

Simple Adventures will be providing kayak rentals at MacArthur Park throughout the summer.

A universally accessible kayak launch features a dock that rises and falls with the water levels. A v-shaped roller system and hand rails allow users to more safely and securely enter the water.

"Our goal is to make this river as accessible as possible," says Anne Brasie, executive director of the Clinton River Watershed Council.

"The more people that see the river as a resource, the more likely they are to protect it."

The MacArthur Park Kayak Launch is currently nominated for a Community Excellence Award by the Michigan Municipal League. Voting is open to the public.

A kayak rack has also been installed, allowing people the opportunity to paddle down the Clinton River, lock up their kayaks at MacArthur Park, and walk around downtown Mt. Clemens.

"This is all part of the watershed council’s larger goal. This river has gone through a great deal of restoration; parts have become more accessible, habitats restored. The river is open and clear from debris," says Brasie.

"The idea that we could have hundreds of kayakers on this river once seemed improbable, but not any more."

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.