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Upcoming Events

Cleanup at 16015 Fish Lake Road

Please note the Change

We will be assisting Holly Township cleanup the property at 16015 Fish Lake Road, on Sunday September 20, 2015.  We will meet at the house at 10:00 a.m.  We will be painting those out buildings.  We also have invasive plants to cut and burn.  Saturday work has been cancelled because the Township of Holly has decided that they will reroof the outbuildings.  We don't need to do that.

Fall Color Paddle (Canoeing in Color) October 3, 2015

The Color Paddle will be be Saturday October 3, 2015.  Registration begins at 11:00 a.m. in Water Works Park, 690 S. Broad St., Holly, MI.   Boats launch at Noon.  The Sweep boat will launch at 2:00.  Heavner's will be there to rent boats to people who are interested.  Call them at 248-685-2379 to reserve canoes or kayaks in advance.  We will have people to assist getting through the railroad tubes, an emergency takeout person at Fish Lake Road, a person to help at the beaver dam, a tow boat on the Fenton Mill Pond, in case it is windy, and people to help you get out of your boats at Strom Park.
This is a beautiful time to canoe the river.  Migrating birds along with leaves starting to change color, present a beautiful specter.  The Shiawassee River is a relatively slow moving river that has little development along the banks.  We like to think of it as a river up north, only close by.
This event is a fundraiser for Headwaters Trails Inc.  We use the money to fund the trails work that we do.  Included in that, we are trying to raise match money to build a launch at Fish Lake Road.  Almost all funding agencies require a match, which might range anywhere from 30 to 50% of the cost.  We currently have an estimate that it will cost around $85,000.00 to build a launch that provides parking and handicap access to the river.  We ask that you become a member of Headwaters Trails.  Membership information can be seen by clicking on "Membership" at the top left of this page.  If you need to have transportation back to Water Works Park, from Strom Park, we charge $5.00.  If you participate and choose not to become a member, we charge $10.00 per boat.

Friends of the Shiawassee River Raffle

The Friends of the Shiawassee River is having a raffle for a kayak.  
Although they list places that you can go to purchase raffle tickets, you can also send a check to:
P.O. Box 402
Owosso, MI 48867
Include your email address and Karen Kong will email the scanned ticket to you.  Otherwise, she can send the ticket via US Mail.  Tickets are $5.00 each.  The drawing date is
September 17, 2015.

Who We Are

Headwaters Trails Inc.

Headwaters Trails 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, and the City of Linden 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 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.
Sorenson Park 5K trail / Hiker T. Moose Trail Sorenson Park 5K Trail / Hiker T. Moose Trail
Sorenson Park 5K Trail / Hiker T. Moose Trail
Sorenson Park 5K Trail / Hiker T. Moose Trail
The Trail gets used in all weather.
 Sorenson Park 5K Trail / Hiker T. Moose Trail Sorenson Park 5K Trail / Hiker T. Moose Trail

The Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail is our major accomplishment over the last several years.  For the last several years we have sponsored "The Adventure Paddle", Canoe races and Pleasure paddles in June and "Canoeing in Color" a Color Paddle in October.  In 2014, we did not hold the race, though we still held the Pleasure Paddle.  We might reconsider, if there is enough demand for a race.   The trail starts in Holly and goes to Byron.  The Keepers of the Shiawassee have joined us as have the Friends of the Shiawassee and the river is now open for canoers and kayakers from Holly to Saginaw, except for the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, where portages are necessary because of regulations against removing trees from the waterway in the Refuge.  Several volunteers paddle the river regularly and help remove downed trees and trash.  We are always looking for additional volunteers to help keep the river open and free of trash.

We started out, removing trash, 

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - cleanup 

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail cleanup

then rebuilding a bridge and constructed a new bridge where we had built a temporary bridge along the river.

Old Academy foot bridge Rebuilt Academy foot bridge

Makeshift bridge Harding Mott Bridge

Water 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 and a host of dedicated volunteers.

Water Works Park, Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail starting point Water Works Park, Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail start Water Works Park in Holly, Michigan, Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail

The Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail is one of lower Michigan's treasures.  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.  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.

Beaver Lodge, Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Blanding's Turtles - Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail

Headwaters Trails has also helped promote equestrian activities in the Northwest corner of Oakland County.  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 Oakland County on a connection from Highland Oaks up to Rose Oaks, including working to open, the unmaintained, Water Road as a trail.

Horse Trails in Oakland County Horse back riding in Oakland County Michigan


  • Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month, 7 pm, at the Holly Village Council Chambers.  Anyone interested in trails or trail maintenance is welcome.
  • River 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.  We generally try to eat at someone's house afterward and enjoy each other's company in a non-work setting.  

    Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail cleanup Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail

    • The 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.    
    • Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - Adventure Paddle Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - Adventure Paddle Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - Adventure Paddle
  • Canoeing 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 people. 
  • Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - Canoeing in Color Canoeing In Color Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail
  •  Owl Walks are typically held in late January or early 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 are not: 

We 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.

Contact Info

Headwaters Trails Inc.                                 

P.O. Box 33

Holly, MI 48442-0033

President: Sue Julian                   248-634-3513

Vice President & Treasurer: Rex Mathewson  

Secretary: Chuck Julian              248-634-3513         HeadwatersTrailsInc@gmail.com


                                                                                                        2003-2015, Headwaters Trails, Inc.

2003-2013, Headwaters Trails, Inc.