MOUNT CLEMENS, MI — The Clinton River, which feeds into Lake St. Clair, is the 9th Michigan Waterway to become a state designated Water Trail in recognition of its quality trail experience, well-marked routes and easy accessibility and community support, officials announced Monday.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources named 72 miles of the 81.5-mile river as a state way trail.
“As we battle a global pandemic, one of the things that will always remain open is nature,” said Anne Brasie, executive director of the Clinton River Watershed Council. “The water trail designation is particularly significant now as community members seek safe, accessible recreational experiences. Over the past several years, we’ve installed directional and safety signage and worked tirelessly with volunteers to clean up trash in and along the river so that it can be enjoyed by the community.”
Michigan has more than 3,000 miles of trails on lakes and rivers to canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, but not all trails are easily navigable or accessible, officials said.
The Clinton River Water Trail runs through highly urbanized areas, marshlands, parks and forested riverbanks in Oakland and Macomb Counties.
Many communities along the river have dedicated launches near downtowns, giving paddlers easy access to restaurants and shops along the riverway.
The water trail offers a variety of experiences and accessible points via natural entries within parks, constructed watercraft docks and a growing number of universally accessible canoe and kayak launches.
The three universally accessible launch sites, located at MacArthur Park in Mt. Clemens and Clinton River Park North and Rotary Park in Sterling Heights, improve accessibility to the Clinton River for all ages and skill levels, including paddlers with disabilities.
Four more UA launches are in the design phases and slated for installation in 2020 and 2021 in Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Orion Township and Rochester Hills.
The online Clinton River Water Trail Map, managed by the Clinton River Watershed Council, provides launch site locations and amenities, distances between landings, potential hazards, mandatory portages, historical markers and safety advisories.
Clinton River Watershed Council
Clinton River Water Trail Map
Michigan DNR Waterways Commission