State of Michigan DNR announced on December 20, 2018, the first
Michigan waterways to be designated as State Water Trails. The
Shiawassee River Trail, starting in Holly, Michigan and extending 88
miles downstream, is on the list of those first eight designated trails. The
Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition has been working to achieve this
goal and has also applied for National Water Trail designation.
That application has been held up in Washington with the
applications of other organizations due to the Trump administration.
Trails has received a grant of $10,000.00 from Saginaw Bay WIN to be
used as match money toward a grant proposal to build a launch at Fish
Lake Road, on the Shiawassee River, in Holly Township. Headwaters
Trails currently has a grant application with the Michigan DNR
Recreation Passport Fund.
link below lists all the events put on by both Headwaters Trails and
the Keepers of the Shiawassee in 2018 as well as other events on the
river that we are aware of.. There is a handy printable map
included. 2019 Schedule of Events
Quiet Water Symposium
Trails in conjunction with the Shiawassee River Coalition, will be
displaying at the Quiet Water Symposium, March 2, 2019, from 9 AM
to 5:30 PM. This event is at 4301 Farm Lane, Michigan State
University, East Lansing, MI. It is an event where people display
information on places to paddle, along with a a lot of equipment you
may want, from kayaks and canoes to camping gear. Included in the
Expo, are speakers who cover a variety of topics related to paddling.
For more info, go to https://quietwatersociety.org/
Owl Walk, Presentation of Live Owls and Pot Luck Dinner
Saturday January 26, 2019
Free Owl Walk, Live Owl Talk & Pot Luck Dinner
Saturday January 26, 2019
Event was a great event with live owls and a bald eagle shown by the
Howell Nature Center. 92 people attended the event with plenty of
food available and a large number of door prizes. Afterward, we
watched the movie, "Owl Power". The walk itself was cancelled on
the recommendation of the park manager at Seven Lakes State Park, due
to icy conditions on the roads in the park. You can see pictures
of the event on the Headwaters Trails Facebook page.
Canoeing in Color , Saturday October 6, 2018
This event was canceled due to a forecast of lightening.
Fall is a beautiful time to paddle the Shiawassee River. The leaves
are starting to turn color. Deer can be seen along the river banks,
with full antlers, getting ready to mate. Beavers are busy stocking up
on tree branches in their lodges for the long winter. Sandhill cranes
are collecting in groups, getting ready to migrate. A lot of birds are
passing through on their fall migration. Endangered blandings turtles
can be seen sunning themselves on logs along the river. Ripe wild rice
sits above the water on long stems. It is coming to the last hurrah
for warm weather as the winter season approaches. Time for one last
paddle down the river.
Trails will host its annual Fall Event, Canoeing in Color,
on October 6, 2018.
Registration and the spotting of cars will start at 11:00 am.
Boats will launch between noon and 2 pm. Launching before
then means that we may not have people in place to help you through the
railroad tubes, if needed. We will have a person at the Academy
Foot bridge if you want to portage instead of go under that bridge.
There will be a person at Fish Lake Road, for emergency takeout.
We will have someone to help you over the beaver dam. At
2:00, the sweep boat will launch to
make sure everyone gets off the river safely. There will be
people at Strom Park to help you out of the water and load up your
boats. If you wish to rent, EZ Kayak, 810-241-1195, is renting
kayaks for $25.00 per boat. They will drop boats off between noon
and 1 pm at Water Works Park. Kayak rental is by reservation
only, you need to call them at least 4 days in advance to rent.
EZ Kayak does
not provide shuttling, so if you need this service, it is free for
members and $10.00 for non-members. This is a fundraiser for Headwaters
Trails where we would appreciate people who are not members, becoming
We are trying to raise match money for the
grant proposal we have before the State Recreation Passport Fund, to
build a launch at Fish Lake Road. The less match money you have,
the less likely it is that they will fund the launch. Due to the
requirements of the State in how launches are constructed in a wetland,
the project is pretty expensive. Our engineer is estimating
$160,000.00 now. We already have some money to contribute from
Headwaters Trails plus money contributed to the project by Holly
Township. Help us make this happen and enjoy paddling on the
is a rain or shine event which will only be cancelled should there be a
prediction of lightening. Be sure to dress for the weather.
We will not have a tow boat on the Fenton Mill Pond this year.
Adventure Paddle 2018, Sunday June 10, 2018
In spite of less than perfect weather, the Adventure Paddle had a good turnout of around 50 people. 13
volunteers assured that the paddlers had a good experience. There
were people at the railroad tubes, the Academy Foot bridge, Fish Lake
Road, the beaver dam and at Strom Park. The tow boat was not able
to run this year. The combination of weeds in the mill pond and
strong winds out of the east overpowered the 3 hp motor on the tow boat.
Shiawassee River Cleanup, Holly to Byron, May 19 & 20, 2018
river is now open for paddling from Holly to Byron. See
What's New, for the names of people involved. Over 40 people were
involved in the two day effort that saw fallen trees cut enough to make
a passage, with wood anchored to the banks for shoreline protection and
fish habitat maintenance. Several tires were removed from the
river along with bags of trash. You can view our guidelines by
clicking on the Best Practices link above.
Owl Walk 2018
Barred Owl Headwaters
Trails hosted the Owl Walk at the Calvary United Methodist Church in
Holly. There was a large turnout and plenty of food to pass.
The Howell Nature Center again presented an interesting group of
birds, including owls, a falcon and a turkey buzzard.
Canoeing in Color
October 7, 2017 was a beautiful day with 80 degree weather and the sun
shining. Unfortunately, it rained over night and in the morning,
which seems to have discouraged people from coming. Only 22
people came to the event.
River Cleanup August 6, 2017
you to David Spaine, Randy Alberts, Rex Mathewson, Bruce Allan, Jannell
Tillman, Dennis Terry, Dudley Behrens, Chris Dickinson, Roger Drury,
Dawn Hittle, Gary Drury and Janell Reeves for cleaning the
Shiawassee River from the Ball Fields in Byron to Walnut Hills
Campground. Thank you also Chris Dickinson and Matador's Pizza in
Byron for bringing us all the pizza we could eat after the enent.
See the Headwaters Trails Facebook page for images of this and
the two previous cleanups.
River Cleanup July 23, 2017
river cleanup started at Tom Landers' house on Duffield Road.
Some of us went up stream to take out a newly fallen tree that
was blocking the river. The rest went down stream. After
clearing the up stream tree, those who went up stream, went down stream
and joined the other crew. That cleanup went all the way to
Byron. Thank You to Erin Haynes, Avery Haynes, Chris Dickinson,
Chuck Gosh, Amy Drury, Gary Drury, Roger Drury, Jannell Tillman,
Marianna Fitzgerald, Tom Landers, Diane Landers and Dennis Terry.
River Cleanup Sunday July 16, 2017
river cleanup went well, with us clearing the river from Hogan Road in
Linden, to McCaslin Lake Road in Argentine Township. Many thanks
to Dudley Behrens, Chuck Gosh, Terry Reechko, Pat Cockfield, Rudy Toufar, Amy and
Gary Drury, Joetta Pyles Zalewski, Jannell Tillman, Marianna
Fitzgerald, Nick Brown, Bruce Allan, John McCubbin, Debbie
McCarty, Maggie Yerman and Chuck Julian. Maggie also fed us
a huge dinner at her place afterward.
Adventure Paddle June 11, 2017
Adventure Paddle was a well attended event this year, with 90 degree
sunny weather. Thank You to everyone involved. Photos by
Michelle Czerniak are posted on the Headwaters Trails Facebook page.
River Cleanup June 4, 2017
River cleanup went well. Steve Darby, Chelsea Cuter, Adam
Schmieder, Christa Schmieder, Mary Blanchard, Dennis Terry, Rex
Mathewson, Bruce Allan, Michelle Czerniak, Steve Hoffman, Janell
Tillman, Al Tingley, Debbie McCarty, Dave Spaine and Chuck Julian
opened the river from Fish Lake Road to Strom Park. Dora Dingwall
helped spot cars at Strom Park. Bruce Allan then bought Pizza at
the Fenton House for the participants. In all, we spent about 4
hours on the river. The water was warm and though we started out
in light rain, it soon gave way to bright sunshine and warm
temperatures. Thank you to all that made this possible. The
river is now ready for the adventure paddle.
River Cleanup May 20, 2017
river turned out to have many more trees in it than we anticipated.
Eleven people went on the cleanup and were only able to get as
far as Fish Lake Road. We are scheduling another cleanup for June
4, 2017 to finish the job. Thanks to Bruce Allan and Rex
Mathewson for leading the cleanup, Michelle Czerniak, Tom Landers,
Dennis Terry, Krista Schneider, Adam Schneider, Dora Dingwall, Marianna
Fitzgerald, Maggie Yerman and Chris Compton who went down the river
with them. Joetta Zalewski and Chuck Julian helped spot cars.
Owl Walk January 14, 2017
Trails Owl Walk and presentation went well with 76 attendees,
netting $850.00 in memberships. Thank you Dora Dingwall for
sponsoring the event and paying to bring the Howell Nature Center with
owls and raptors. Special thanks also to her sister Nancy, Michelle Czerniak, Bruce
Allan, Rex Mathewson, Sue Julian, Mary Blanchard, Debbie McCarty, Dennis Terry, Jim Wright,
Rachael Ray and Calvary United Methodist Church. See photos and more by clicking on the What's New icon.
Who We Are
Headwaters Trails Inc.
is a non-profit 501(c3) group whose mission is to facilitate and promote the
cooperation of local governments in Southeast Michigan with specific emphasis
on Holly, Rose, Groveland, Springfield, Fenton and Argentine Townships, the
Village of Holly, the City of Fenton, the City of Linden and Oakland County Parks to create new
recreational opportunities including the creation of a network of trails for
the area residents and visitors. Those trails include both water and land trails.
The Foundation Trail at Holly High School
Foundation Trails is a Mountain Bike Trail created at Holly High
School. There is a link to a map of the trail on our Trail
The Sorenson Park 5K Trail is a walking
and jogging trail constructed by Headwaters Trails within the confines
of Sorenson Park in Holly, Michigan. The trail was cleared,
leveled and then wood chipped to make a walking surface. Along
the edges of the trail, large amounts of the invasive tree, autumn
olive, were removed and chipped for use on the trail.
The Trail gets used in all weather.
River Heritage Water Trail is our major accomplishment over the last several
years.For the last several years we
have sponsored "The Adventure Paddle", a pleasure paddle down the river in June and "Canoeing in Color" a Color Paddle in
October. Both go from Water Works Park in Holly to Strom Park in Fenton. The River Heritage Water Trail starts in Holly and
goes to Saginaw Bay.The Keepers of the
Shiawassee have joined us as have the Friends of the Shiawassee in maintaining the river and the river
is now open and mostly free of portages and trash, for canoers and kayakers to enjoy from Holly to Saginaw,
except for the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, where portages are
still necessary.Our Volunteers paddle
the river regularly to remove downed trees and trash.We
are always looking for additional
volunteers to help keep the river open and free of trash. We use
Best Practices for River Cleanups. These have been reviewed by
the MDNR. Contact
Chuck Julian if you are interested in joining us for river cleanups.
We started out, removing trash,
then rebuilding a bridge and constructed a new bridge where we had built a temporary bridge along the river.
Works Park is the start of the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail.
We did a lot of work to improve the appearance of that park and
the river, with help from the Village of Holly, the Holly DDA, The
Harding Mott Foundation, Saginaw Valley WIN, REI, Haddon Nursery, North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy and a
host of dedicated volunteers.
Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail is
one of lower Michigan's treasures. We view it as an "UP North"
experience down here in SE Michigan. Along the river you will see
very few houses, mostly, open fields, trees and wet lands.
Wildlife is abundant. The Shiawassee has beavers who have
built a dam. This might be your first time to have ever seen a
beaver dam or glimpse a beaver, since most have been killed for their
fur. The river has abundant fish and birds attracted by the fish
and the plants along the river. Deer graze along the shore.
Blue Heron are common as are kingfishers, king birds, and ducks.
Endangered Blandings Turtles nest along the river. The
fields and wetlands along the river provide habitat for the endangered
Powersheik Skiperling and Karner Blue butterfly as well as rare and
endangered native flowers. Nature presents itself in all its
glory as you glide down the
waters of the river. Water quality monitoring shows the
Shiawassee to be a healthy river, accounting for all the wild life.
We believe that when people can see and enjoy this treasure, they
will also become advocates for its protection.
Blandings Turtles on a log
Good sport fishing on the river
has also helped promote equestrian activities in the Northwest corner of OaklandCounty.They co-sponsored with Rose Oaks Equine
Adventurers several "Ride the Rose" events which acquainted the
equestrians with trails opened for horses in Rose Oaks County Parks.They are also working with OaklandCounty and the Highland Equestrian Conservancy on a connection from
Highland Oaks up to Rose Oaks, including working to open, the unmaintained, Water
as a trail. We have encouraged Oakland County Parks to create
horse friendly trails in both Highland Oaks County Park and Rose Oaks
County Park, and they have done so.
are held the first Wednesday of each month, , at the Holly Village Council Chambers, 315 S. Broad Street, Holly Michigan.Anyone interested in building trails, supporting trails or trail
maintenance is welcome.
cleanups are held from May to September with others added if the weather
is good.Volunteers are always
welcome.You need to provide us
with a phone number or an email address if you wish to be contacted for
these events.It is not necessary
to own a chain saw or a boat to participate.Once
logs are cut, it take several people to move them to the banks and
anchor them. We have pulled a tremendous amount of junk out of
the river that had accumulated over many years, including tires, a
wheel chair, a trailer, home heating oil tanks, shipping containers as
well as bottles, cans, food wrappers, styrofoam, old docks, toys,
fishing gear and a variety of miscellaneous stuff. You just need
a willingness to get wet and a desire to help out. We generally
try to eat at someone's house afterward and enjoy each other's company
in a non-work setting.
Adventure Paddle is held the second Sunday in June.You
may attend the event as a participant or volunteer to help with the
organization of the event.
in Color is a fall adventure paddling the Shiawassee to see the color
changes.It is held the first
Saturday in October and is a last paddle of the warmer weather for most
Walks are typically held in January or February.We move the location from place to place
each year so as to experience the wonders of different trails while
looking for owls.These
events are usually pot luck and intended as social events to get to
know other people interested in trails better. We do ask that
people become members at these events. They are not inexpensive
to put on.
We are not:
are not a canoe or kayak rental company. When we sponsor events
on the river, usually Heavner's Canoe Rental in Milford will provide
rentals on site for that event only. The rest of the year, there
is no livery in Holly to rent boats to you. If you need to rent a
boat, we suggest that you rent one at Proud Lake Recreation Area, in
Milford, Michigan from Heavner's Canoe Rental or from Cheff's Canoe
Rental in the Walnut Hills Campground in Byron, Michigan. It is
our hope that some day a livery will open in the area that will service
the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail in Holly and Fenton but until
that time, you need your own boats except for the Fall, Canoeing in
Color event and the Spring, Adventure Paddle.