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.
Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition has applied for National Water
That application has been held up in Washington with the
applications of other organizations. The application has now been
vetted and submitted to the Secretary of the Interior for consideration
by the National Park Service. The Shiawassee River presents one
of the great paddling experiences of the lower peninsula of Michigan.
You can help in getting this River designated as a National Water
Trail by writing to the recently confirmed Secretary for the U.S.
Department of the Interior and asking him to formally designate the
Shiawassee River as a National Water Trail.
The Honorable David Bernhardt, Secretary U.S. Department of the Interior 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington DC 20240
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.
Passport Grant proposal to the DNR was turned down. Many groups
applied for money this year and we did not make the cut.
Headwaters Trails is now working on other sources of funding to
build the Fish Lake Road Launch.
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
Adventure Paddle Saturday June 8, 2019
Trails will hold its annual Adventure Paddle on the Shiawassee River on
Saturday June 8, 2019, with Sunday as an alternate, should there be
lightening predicted or heavy rain on Saturday. Registration
begins at Water Works Park in Holly, at 690 S. Broad Street, at 11:00
am. The official start will be at noon, where we will have
volunteers along the river at the railroad tubes, the Academy foot
bridge, the beaver dam and at Strom Park, to help you if needed.,
but if you want to go early, that is OK. At 2:00, we will launch
the sweep boat to make sure that everyone who started gets off the
river OK. This event is free to members, but we charge $10.00 to
non-members for shuttling of cars and $5.00 for members. We ask
that you renew your membership at this event or become a member if not
already, to support the goals of Headwaters Trails.
is a great time of the year to paddle the Shiawassee. Few people
get to see an active beaver dam yet there is one on the Shiawassee that
we will cut a notch through for the paddle. Don't worry, the
beavers will have it repaired in a couple of days. It is at a
time when spring migration is bringing back the Sandhill cranes, yellow
warblers, kingfishers and other birds that enrich the environment.
Many flowers are in bloom, giving the air a lovely scent that we
associate with spring. Sometimes you can see fish spawning in the
shallows, spot the deer on the banks and see the returning Monarch
butterflies. Patches of wild rice exist along the banks that
provide food for the birds and helped sustain the native americans that
used the river as a highway
Holly to Byron river cleanup, May 18 & 19, 2019
Many thanks to the people who made the river cleanup from Holly to Byron
successful:Tom Landers, Debbie McCarty,
Rex Mathewson, Dave Spaine, Randy Alberts, Chris Compton, Jacquelyne Compton,
Jannell Tillman, Mary Blanchard, Bruce Allan, Chris Dickenson, Dora Dingwall,
Gary Drury, Cat McCullough, Don Losert, Maggie Yerman, Samantha Forsyth,Mary Waley, Bill Davis, Jay Kelly, Andrew
Kelly, Mike Dietz and Karen Dietz.These
are the people who care about the river and decided to do something about
making a trip down the river a pleasurable experience.We need more people like them.
Woody Debris Training Session
woody debris training session in Bush Park on May 16 was well attended.
Issues of what to cut and what to leave were discussed along with
guidelines give to us by the DNR. We also discussed safety, use
and maintenance of tools, proper dress and allowed volunteers to decide
which sections of the river they would like to work on.
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.
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.
Our main cleanup is the weekend in May one week before Memorial
Day weekend. It is our goal to have Holly to Byron ready for the
opening of paddling season. The Thursday before the cleanup, we
host a training session to teach volunteers to do cleanups that meet
with the MDNR's approval. 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. These events tend to be a lot of fun working with people who have shared interests.
Adventure Paddle is held the second Saturday in June with the following day as an alternate for bad weather.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
is held the first Saturday in October with the following day as an
alternate for bad weather and is a last paddle of the warmer weather
for most people.
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 typically have
a presentation with live owls and a movie about owls for people who do
not want to go on the walk. 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.
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, EZ Kayak in Linden 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. EZ Kayak will rent
boats for the Adventure Paddle and Color Paddle if contacted at least a
day in advance. They do not have boats on site for rental.
Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition
Trails is a member of the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition.
This organization is composed of citizen groups and government
entities interested in promoting paddling on the river and maintaining
it as a water trail. It has a State of Michigan designation as a
State Water Trail and has applied for National Water Trail Designation.
Members of the Coalition consider it to be one of the great
kayaking water trails in the country. The Coalition, through the
support of its members, has received funding to hire Terrain 360 to do
360 degree photography and GPS mapping of the river from Holly to
Chesaning,. When completed, it will be posted on the Coalition
website so that people can view the section of the river that they wish
to paddle, being able to view it over 360 degrees, similar to what
Google Street View produces, as an aid to planning a trip.