Eaton Rapids Accessible Dock & Launch
About the Project
The Eaton Rapids Parks Department would like to address the lack of water access to Spring Brook in downtown Eaton Rapids by placing an EZ Dock Canoe & Kayak Launch system at Howe Memorial Field. Spring Brook is a very high quality quiet water paddle with an up north appeal.
Impact on Community:
The Eaton Rapids Parks Department would like to address the lack of water access to Spring Brook in downtown Eaton Rapids by placing an EZ Dock Canoe & Kayak launch system at Howe Memorial Field. Spring Brook comes from the southwest into Eaton Rapids and meets the Grand River in downtown creating an island. By placing an EZ Dock launch system at this location we open an entire new water trail to the public.
The river component of creating an access site for paddlers is now of paramount importance. There are currently no safe bank access points to launch or retrieve paddle craft. The floating EZ Dock, which would be put in and taken out each spring and fall does not require a Department of Environmental Quality or Army Corp. of Engineers permit #404, which a permanent dock would require.
In 2011, the City of Eaton Rapids held several public meetings creating a River Recreation Master Plan. The goals from the plan include analyze watershed and river system, improve river recreation opportunities, increase use of downtown businesses by river users, improve habitat and natural areas. Plans are underway to begin the hydraulic study, the first step in many projects along the river system. These include: “Returning the Rapids to Eaton Rapids” by removing a dam; eliminating the “Drowning Machine” and fish ladder repairs at State St. Dam; rebuilding walls at Grand Army of the Republic Island Park; and building a wet lands educational area.
Several central Michigan communities (Eaton Rapids, Dimondale & Grand Ledge) will be making improvements along the Grand River in the next few years creating the Grand River Heritage Trail. A water trail is a dedicated stretch of river that enjoys special clean water safeguards and is a destination for fishing, boating and other recreation. By connecting the region with accessible rivers we can float under ancient pines, slip through swamps, explore pathways paddled by the first Americans and follow in the wake of our country’s famed explorers. Our region is blessed with Water Trails that connect us to our rich natural and cultural heritage. Water trails will help the local businesses by bringing people to downtown Eaton Rapids for this great water experience. The number of Americans who canoe and kayak has grown from 2.6 million in 1960 to more than 26 million in 2000, according to the Outdoor Industry Foundation. Communities can benefit financially from Water Trails, from increased spending in restaurants, hotels and other amenities. Studies indicate that property values near trails, parks and other outdoor recreational facilities generally increase. Healthy rivers are appealing and attractive to residents and businesses.
By drawing more visitors to our river system, Eaton Rapids will be able to focus more attention on environmental and water quality issues, create an improved recreational quality of life for residents, and most important of all, create an inclusionary paddling opportunity regardless of age, ability or physical challenge. “It’s About Place” will strengthen Eaton Rapids designation as a “Family Friendly” community.Eaton Rapids Accessible Dock & Launch
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