The spring season is the beginning of paddle season in Michigan, and that means exciting adventures for paddlers along the flowing waters of the Shiawassee River

 Winding its way for more than 85 miles, the Shiawassee River starts near Holly in Oakland County, meandering through Fenton and Linden in Genesee County, heading toward Byron, Owosso and Corunna in Shiawassee County, and ending in Chesaning in Saginaw County.

 These municipalities are also represented by local paddling groups that combine their efforts in promoting river events, from cleanup dates to Moonlight Paddles, Adventures Paddles and more.  These organizations, the  Headwaters Trail (Oakland County), Keepers of the Shiawassee (Genesee County) and Friends of the Shiawassee (Shiawassee County), are providing grassroots momentum to have the Shiawassee River designated as a National Water Trail.

 “All of our work has been submitted,” said Brad Jacob, chairperson of the Keepers of the Shiawassee. “We’re just waiting for the official word.”

 This designation will provide national promotion and visibility for the Shiawassee River, as well as the use of the National Water Trails logo and opportunities for technical assistance and funding to implement trail projects.

 For local paddlers, the Shiawassee River provides endless outdoor recreation, becoming a hub of riverfront activities, from groups of friends enjoying the river to a riverfront festival that debuted in 2015.

 This year’s third annual Shiawassee River Fest will be held Sunday, June 25 at the Linden Gazebo and Mill Pond, beginning at 12 p.m. with paddling demos, bands, food vendors, arts and crafts gear swaps, pilates/yoga demos on standup paddle boards and a group paddle from Bush Park to the River Fest site at the Linden Mill Pond.

 “We moved it to Linden this year for several reasons,” said Maggie Yerman, an active paddler with the Keepers of the Shiawassee. “We’ll be able to use the gazebo for music, and we can invite visitors from the Gus Macker Tournament in Linden to the River Fest. Also, the water was too low last year at Bush Park for many of our water activities. Linden is also home to a kayak rental business, EZ Kayak & Canoe Rental.”

 A Cardboard Canoe Race will return for another exciting year and a Fishing Tournament will debut for the first time, according to Jacob. Registration forms are available online at or visit their Facebook Page — Keepers of the Shiawassee River, Michigan.

 Bands will include Play’n with Jacks (12 to 12:45 p.m.), Tie Dye Giants (1 to 2 p.m.), Red Herring (2:15 to 3:15 p.m.), Two Tone Corduroy (3:30 to 4:30 p.m.) and Jon Fett Quartet (6 to 7 p.m.)

 There are many opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities to use the Shiawassee River for outdoor recreation, from fishing to paddling.

 You can see the complete list of public launches, and also use other easy access points, from Rackham Park in Fenton (by the tennis courts) to Torrey Road and North Road, Fish Lake Road in Holly, Hogan Road in Linden, if you just want to travel the river midway between launches.

 “We are working on the Hogan Road launch at the water treatment plant,” said Jacob. “They’ve already mowed it down to the water. It’s already a good launch site. We’re just hoping to see some upgrades.”

Public kayak and

canoe launches


• Waterworks Park, 690 South

Broad St.

• Strom Park on South East Street, near the East Street Bridge. The area includes a small boat launch, gazebo, picnic area and plenty of fishing.

• Bush Park, with two entrances, the east end of Jefferson Street behind St. John’s Catholic Church or North LeRoy Street at Fifth Street.

Fenton Township

• Lake Ponemah, at the DNR public boat launch, accessed from North Road. Kayakers can paddle across to Tupper Lake, where it meets again with the Shiawassee River.


• Linden Mills building, downtown. Argentine Township

• McCaslin Lake Road bridge.


• Byron Cemetery, along Water Street.

• Byron High School ball fields, west of the river and south of Maple Street.


• Walnut Hills Campground, 7685 Lehring Rd., along the river.

All three organizations, the Keepers of the Shiawassee (Genesee County), Friends of the Shiawassee (Shiawassee County and Headwaters Trails (Oakland County) represent their own municipalities, working together to make the Shiawassee River a National Heritage Water Trail.

Headwaters Trails and Keepers of the Shiawassee

Activities and Events 2017


3 — Headwaters Trails member meeting at 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

10 — Keepers Full Moon Paddle at Holly Mill Pond, 6:30 p.m. (Wednesday this month only)

11— Keepers meeting at 7 p.m., Red Fox Outfitters, Fenton

21— Headwaters Trails river cleanup 9 a.m. from Holly Waterworks Park to Fenton Strom Park


7 — Headwaters Trails member meeting 7 p.m., Holly Village offices

8 — Keepers meeting 7 p.m., Red Fox Outfitters, Fenton

9 — Full Moon Paddle at Linden Mill Pond. Paddles wet at 7 p.m.after Paddle Glow at Linden Hotel’s Crow’s Nest

11— Headwaters Trails Adventure Paddle from Holly Waterworks Park to Fenton Strom Park

17 — Linden, river cleanup at 8 a.m., downtown Linden to Hogan Road.

24 — Fenton river cleanup 8 a.m. from Bush Park to Torrey Road.

25 — Third annual Shiawassee River Fest at Linden Gazebo and Mill Pond 12 p.m.


5 — Headwaters Trails member meeting at 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

6 — Moonlight Paddle at Lobdell Lake DNR Launch to Lake View Restaurant. Paddles wet at 7 p.m.


2 — Headwaters Trails member meeting at 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

3 — Moonlight Paddle, Fenton Mill Pond to Wilson Lake. Paddles wet at 6:30 p.m.


6 — Headwaters Trails member meeting 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

7 — Moonlight Paddle at Linden Mill Pond to Lake Ponemah. Paddles wet 6:30 p.m. after Paddle Glow at Linden Hotel’s Crow’s Nest

14 — Keepers meeting 7 p.m. at Red Fox Outfitters, Fenton


4 — Headwaters Trails member meeting 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

7 — Headwaters Trails Color Paddle, Holly Waterworks Park to Fenton Strom Park

12 — Keepers meeting 7 p.m. at Red Fox Outfitters, Fenton

15 — Keepers Shiawassee River Color Paddle from Byron Ball Field to Geeck Park 1 p.m.


1 — Headwaters Trails member meeting 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

9 — Keepers meeting 7 p.m. at Red Fox Outfitters, Fenton


6 — Headwaters Trails member meeting 7 p.m. at Holly Village offices

14 — Keepers meeting 7 p.m .at Red Fox Outfitters

paddling groups and activities

Headwaters Trails, Inc.

Keepers of the Shiawassee

Friends of the Shiawassee

On Facebook

In Meetup


Volunteers to help with river cleanups and river maintenance throughout the season. Would your service club or church group like to adopt a section of the river? If you’re interested, we can find experienced people to go out with you and give tips on what is allowed through the Department of Natural Resources. Just show up at the next river cleanup or leave a comment on or our Facebook page.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.