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Owl Walk, January 10, 2015, 5:30 PM at Camp Wathana

Headwaters Trails will be sponsoring an Owl Walk at Camp Wathana on Saturday, January 10, 2015.  We will meet in the dining hall at the camp.  This will be a pot luck dinner followed by a presentation by Dr. Craig Perdue, who will bring a live owl for the presentation about his research on owls.  Afterward, Dr. Perdue will lead people on an owl walk through the Camp.  This event is intended as a fundraiser for Headwaters Trails.  We ask that people who attend become members.   We will meet at the Camp at 5:30 pm and have dinner at 6:00.  Bring your favorite dish to pass.  Please label your dishes and utensils so that we can get them back to the proper people at the end of the event.  It would be helpful if you made a label for your dish that says who made it and if it is vegetarian or not.  Chuck Julian will be bringing a whole ham and vegetarian lasagna.  We will grill hamburgers and vegetarian griller burgers on site.  Paper plates, cups and utensils will be provided along with water and pop.  The dining hall will seat 120 people.  There are rest rooms in the dining hall.

You do not need to go on the owl walk to attend this event.  Dr. Perdue's owl will be shown and he will talk for a short time about his research on owls.  Afterward, you are free to go on the walk, or stick around and enjoy the company of others who share a common goal, and leave at any time.  We have full access to the trails through out the camp.  Make sure that if you are going on the walk, you dress appropriately.  If there is snow, the trails will not be plowed, so you may want to wear boots.  Both Screech owls and Great Horned owls have been heard at the camp in December of this year already.

None of the money we raise goes to pay salaries.  All of the money goes to trail work in one way or another as well as pay for insurance and the rental of facilities, needed for any events we hold, and some will be set aside for a match to allow us to build a takeout at Fish Lake Road on the Shiawassee River in Holly.  

Your membership is very important when we attempt to get funds to build this takeout or do any other projects.  Granting Foundations and the State of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund all look at the number of paying members you have to decide if the group represents the local community.  Groups with a small number of paying members get passed over.  They all also look at the amount of match money that you can provide.  Many require a 50 percent match.  The Fish Lake Road Takeout will require around $100,000.00 to build.  We already own the land, so now we need to go the next step in this project, which is to raise match money for construction.  

Please support the people who keep the river open for paddling, build walking trails in the area and work with community government to promote trails for recreation.

Camp Wathana is a Camp Fire USA camp located at 9750 Milford Road, Holly, MI 48442.  This is in Rose Township.  The camp is 250 acres in size.  The North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy has purchased an easement on the property to protect if from future development in areas of the camp that don't currently have buildings.  Most of the camp is wooded.  There are bunk houses for people who come to the camp to enjoy nature.  Camp Fire serves school children from the cities, who have never experienced nature first hand.  It is also available for groups to rent for private events.  We are renting the camp dining hall for this event.  In supporting this walk, you are not only helping Headwaters Trails, you are also helping Camp Fire keep this camp open with the rental money we pay them.

Location map for Camp Wathana

More information about Camp Wathana and Camp Fire of SE Michigan

More information about NOHLC

Adventure Paddle Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Adventure Paddle on the Shiawassee River is scheduled for  Sunday June 14, 2015.  Meet at Water Works Park in Holly Michigan at 11:00 to register and spot your cars.  The paddle starts at Noon.  More details will be coming soon.

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


2003-2013, Headwaters Trails, Inc.