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River Cleanups May 20 and June 4, 2017

Headwaters Trails members opened the river from Water Works Park in Holly to Fish Lake Road in Fenton.  This took two cleanups due to the large number of trees that fell into the river over the winter as a result of the large number of dead ash trees combined with fierce wind storms.  The first cleanup only made it as far as Fish Lake Road, with 12 people participating, then the second cleanup from Fish Lake Road to Strom Park had 15 people participating.

Fish Lake Road

Consumers Power has cleared along Fish Lake Road, cutting down trees in the route that they will use for new power lines.  We have not agreed to a modified easement, so the corridor was cleared under the existing easement.  This leaves the land still open to us to put in our launch.  Had we signed a new easement, Consumers could have prevented us from building a launch at the Fish Lake Road site, in the future.

Birds of Prey Presentation and Owl Walk January 14, 2017

Barn Owl on glove Barn Owl on glove Beth with Barn Owl Beth with Falcon
Peregrine Falcon Beth with Great Horned Owl Audience Owl Eyes
Nancy & Dora Registration Dinner Buffet
The Owl and Birds of Prey Presentation at Holly Calvary United Methodist Church was well attended.  Beth from the Howell Nature Center displayed and talked about a Great Horned Owl, a Barn Owl, a Broad Winged Hawk and a Peregrine Falcon.  No one in the audience guessed that a Falcon can travel 240 mph, in its dive.  People were surprised at the size of an owl's eyes relative to its head, as demonstated by a volunteer.  There was more than enough food brought to share with people taking home leftovers.  Sue Julian lead a walk at Holly High School to listen for owls.  They heard a Great Horned Owl.  We also showed two movies about owls for those who did not want to go on the walk.  Many thanks to all the people who became members, renewed memberships, brought food to pass and gave donations to further the goals of Headwaters Trails and to all the volunteers who made this possible.  A special thanks to Dora Dingwall for paying Howell Nature Center to make this presentation and to Holly Calvary United Methodist Church for allowing us to use their facility.  Thanks to Rachael Ray for kitchen help.  Our volunteers included Dora's sister Nancy, Rex Mathewson, Michelle Czerniak, who bought and put together door prizes, Bruce Allen, Jim Wright, who did the barbequeing and carved the ham, Dennis Terry, Mary Blanchard, Debbie McCarty, Sue Julian and Chuck Julian.

River Cleanup of August 7, 2016

Members of Headwaters Trails joined with the Keepers of the Shiawassee and the Byron Contingent of the Friends of the Shiawassee to clean the river from Duffield Road to the Byron Mill Pond.  Nineteen people participated, including people from Ortonville, Durand and Ypsilanti, as well as Holly, Fenton and Byron.  After the cleanup, Chris Dickenson of the Byron Contingent, who organized the event, fed us Matador's Pizza at Tom Landers' house.  This cleanup was done as are Headwaters Trails cleanups in that a minimalist approach is taken where we only cut enough to make a passage way down the river and leave most of the wood in the water to provide fish habitat.  Small mouth bass were visible in the waters as we passed.  Kingfishers and Eastern Wood Peewees could be seen and heard in the trees.

River Cleanup of July 31, 2016

The river cleanup from McCaslin Lake Road to Duffield Road was very successful.  17 people showed up to get the job done.  Afterward, we ate lunch at Maggie Yerman's house.  Many thanks to: Bruce Allan,  Michelle Czerniak, Karen Borruso, Steve Hoffman, Terry Bretzlaf, Chuck Gosh, Tom Landers, Tim Julian, Rex Mathewson, Amy and Gary Drury, Dave Spaine, Mark Steinbach, Jannell Tillman, Maggie Yerman, Dennis Terry and Chuck Julian.

Adventure Paddle, June 12, 2016

The Adventure Paddle was a big success this year.  We had 110 people go down the river.  Heavener's Canoe Rental was there to provide rentals to people without their own boats.  It was windy this year, so the tow boat got a lot of requests for service.  Photos of the event have been posted on the Headwaters Trails Inc. Facebook page and the Keepers of the Shiawassee Facebook page.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible.
Adventure paddle 1 Adventure Paddle 2 Adventure Paddle 3 4
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River Cleanup of Sunday May 22, 2016

The river cleanup on Sunday opened the Shiawassee River from Holly Water Works Park to Strom Park in Fenton. Many thanks to Dennis Terry, Marian Krause, Cliff Krause, Kyle Smith, Nick Brown, John Macbeth, Pam Harbowy, Chris Harbowy, Mark Steinbach, Steve Hoffman, Deb McCarty, Rex Mathewson, Dora Dingwall and John McCubbin. A person named Sally, who joined us from Meetup, transported several of us from Strom to Water Works Park, spotting cars. She didn't tell me her last name but we still appreciate her help. We cut logs that blocked the river, clipped face slappers and picked up trash of varying sorts. This cleanup took longer than I anticipated. We met at 9, got on the river at 10 and off the river about 4:00. My wife Sue helped coordinate our efforts and joined us for dinner at the Fenton House, for salad and pizza.

Owl Walk

Headwaters Trails in conjunction with the Keepers of the Shiawassee and the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy presented an owl presentation and walk at the Fenton Community Center.  The presentation was preceeded by a pot luck dinner after which, the Howell Nature Center gave a presentation about Owls.  They showed owls from their collection of animals.  All of these owls were live owls.  They included a Great Horned Owl, a Barred Owls, a Barn Owl, a Screech Owl and a Saw-whet Owl.  Their presenter talked about the owls, giving such information such as an owl's eyesight is 400 times better than ours and that an owl can see a mouse at 400 yards and that the light of a single candle in the Silverdome would be all the light necessary for an owl to successfully hunt and fly within the structure.  93 people attended this event in the Fenton Community Center.  Some stayed for two movies about owls after the presentation and others went on a guided walk through the Dauner Martin Nature Preserve to listen for Owls.  The Photo Collage below is by Michelle Czerniak.  All the photos are ones taken at this event and are not stock photos taken off the internet, even though they look professional enough to have come from somewhere else.  It just goes to show just how special this event was, allowing people to see healthy, live owls up close.
Owl Walk
click on the photo to enlarge it.
This event was a fundraiser for Headwaters Trails, where we asked people to become members of the organization and support its goal of building trails in the community.  The Howell Nature Center was paid to make this presentation, so donations and memberships helped pay for the cost of bringing them to this event as well as for the many expenses associated with such an event.

National Parks Help Grant

Dave Lossing of the City of Linden, received a grant to provide help in getting National Heritage Water Trail status for the Shiawassee River.  Currently, the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail is only recognized as a state Heritage Water Trail.  The help is coming from Barbara Nelson Jameson, of the National Parks.  She is attempting to help all the groups on the river get this status for the river.  In the annual meeting of the Friends of the Shiawassee on January 20, 2016, she urged that the Shiawassee River Water Shed Council take the lead in coordinating the efforts of all the stakeholders along the river, saying that this model of having the local watershed council take this role, has worked elsewhere.  Tom Cook, President of the Friends of the Shiawassee and the Shiawassee River Watershed Council, indicated that his group would consider doing that.  Ms. Nelson Jameson indicated that there are a lot of things that need to be done to acheive that National Heritage Water Trail status.  There needs to be things like: having a common brand for the river groups; posted trail markers along the river that are the same from one end to the other; educational information for users of the river in the form of kiosks; educational information online; educational programs along the river; river maintenance in the form of trash removal and keeping the channel open; and providing handicap accessable launch sites.  Headwaters Trails is on its way to acheiving these goals but much more work needs to be done yet.

Shiawassee River Cleanup from Byron to Walnut Hills

Chris Dickinson of Matador's Pizza in Byron sponsored a river cleanup on Sunday August 30, 2015.  Around 18 people showed up to clear the trees knocked down in by the tornado three years ago.  We started clearing that section last year but due to the high water, could not clear as much as we wanted to.  Chris along with volunteers from Headwaters Trails and elsewhere got the big trees in the river cut and a channel opened for paddling.  His crew learned how to cut trees with wedges and properly anchor them along the banks for shore protection, with instruction from Headwaters Trails members.  Chris provided pizza afterward to all the volunteers.  Thank You to everyone who participated!!!

Cleanup at 16015 Fish Lake Road, August 15 & 16

Members of Headwaters Trails and WAM participants did a tremendous amount of work at the House on Fish Lake Road.  Two 30 yard dumpsters were filled with trash.  The outbuildings were cleaned out as well as the House.  An old falling down building was torn down.  A lot of trash from an on-site trash dump was pulled up and put in the dumpsters.  Trees by the road were trimmed so that you can safely pull out.  Invasive plants, like autumn olive and buckthorn were cut and burned.  Dora Dingwall bought pizza for lunch for everyone on Saturday.  We had a grill and cooked hot dogs for lunch on Sunday.

Fenton Bush Park to Torrey Road River Cleanup Sunday August 2, 2015

Members of Headwaters Trails Inc. along with the Keepers of the Shiawassee and volunteers from the City of Fenton cleared the river for paddling from Bush Park in Fenton to Torrey Road, just before US-23 and Lake Ponemah.  We pulled several full bags of trash out of the river along with a tire and other debris, then cut the logs that had fallen in the river and were blocking the way.  We did some low hanging face slapper trimming and cut out a particularly nasty multiflora rose that was right next to and overhanging the river.  Afterward, Debbie McCarty fed us a feast at her house.  We met at 8:00 in Bush Park and were not finally off the river till around 4:00.  The Fenton DPW provided a driver and dump truck to help us haul equipment and boats back to Bush Park and to haul away some of the trash collected.

River Cleanup July 12, 2015

The River Cleanup of July 12, 2015 was successful.  Many thanks to Rex Mathewson, Brad Jacob, Dennis Terry, Debbie McCarty, Chuck Gosh, Karen Borruso, Steve Hoffman, Terry Bretzlaff, Chuck Julian and Maggie Yerman.  Maggie fed us at her house after the cleanup as well as helped spot cars and get people off the river.
We started at Cole Road, just west of Linden, arriving at 8 AM to drop off equipment and spot cars.  We got on the river at 9 AM then worked till 6 PM, taking out at Tom Larson's house on Duffield Road.  The River is now clear from the Dam in Linden to Duffield Road.  There is still the problem with the Steibel Bridge that has fallen into the river.  You must portage or pull your boats over the bridge.  It lies between Hogan Road and Cole Road.  The river between the Dam and Duffield is clear enough to paddle.  That doesn't mean that all the trees have been pulled out nor does it mean that you can go down the river in a straight line and not encounter fallen trees.  There is a pathway around all obstacles, large enough to get a boat through.  If you watch along the banks, you will be able to see where we have anchored logs along the banks to act as shore protection.  This helps keep more trees from falling in, allows the flow to create deeper channels and provides habitat for fish.

Fenton to Lake Ponemah River Cleanup

I was informed by Brad Jacob that the river cleanup scheduled for Saturday June 27, 2015, by the Keepers of the Shiawassee, did not happen.  That event was rained out.  He said that they were rescheduling for the weekend of August 1, though he was not sure if the cleanup from Bush Park in Fenton to Lake Ponemah would be, Saturday August 1 or Sunday August 2.  Check with him for more information on that or watch the Keepers of the Shiawassee Facebook page.

Fish Lake Road Launch Grant Proposal Submitted

Holly Township, with the help of Headwaters Trails, has submitted a Proposal to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF), for a Grant to build a canoe launch and parking area at Fish Lake Road along the Shiawassee River.  Holly Township is requesting $45,000.00, the maximum that they can request for a Passport Grant.  They have committed to donating an additional $5,000.00 to the project.  It is up to Headwaters Trails to raise the balance of what is needed.  We have committed to raising $15,000.00 plus the donation of the land that we purchased, for $20,000.00.  Headwaters Trails has already paid an engineering firm for the design of the site to meet the standards of both the MDEQ and the Oakland County Road Commission.  We need to pay for the required permits and pay for the supervision of the project by the engineering firm.  We are currently seeking firm bids on the project.  Costs in excess of what is currently committed by us will need to be covered by us if we wish to accept a Grant from the MNRTF.  We will know if the proposal meets all of the MNRTF requirements in mid summer, then find out if we have had the Grant Proposal accepted some time in October of 2015.  If accepted and we have raised all of the necessary match money to complete the project, construction would start in 2016.  This plan requires some excavation, fill, gravel, geotextile fabric, railings, a board walk to the launch, the launch itself and signage.

We need your help in raising funds for this project.  It provides a safe area to park along the river as well as handicap access to the Shiawassee River for canoe and kayak launching.  There will not be a ramp down to the river to put in boats on trailers.  Your donations will allow public access at Fish Lake Road, so that more people can experience the beauty and serenity of the Shiawassee River.  It will be appreciated now and by future, yet unborn, generations to come.  Be a part of the history of the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail by making this dream a reality.

Donations to Headwaters Trails Inc. are tax deductable.  Headwaters Trails is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

To receive bid specifications, please contact HeadwatersTrailsInc@gmail.com.

Upcoming events

City of Fenton River Cleanup June 27, 2015

The City of Fenton will sponsor a river cleanup from Bush Park to Torey Road.  Meet at Bush Park at 8 am.  People are needed to pickup trash and cut trees that have fallen in the river.

Fenton River Fest June 28, 2015

The Fenton River Fest is from Noon to 6 pm on June 28th.  There will be 6 live bands; events including a rubber duck race and a cardboard canoe race; and booths with people selling everything from food to crafts.  This event is a fundraiser for the Keepers of the Shiawassee.
Click here for the 2015 River Events Calendar and a map of the Shiawassee River between Holly and Duffield Road.

Past Events

Adventure Paddle

This year's Adventure Paddle was cancelled.  This is the first time that the event was cancelled in the 11 years that we have been holding the event..  Others have proceeded in the rain, however the forecast was for thunder showers, making the risk of getting hit by lightning on the Fenton Mill pond a possibility.

River Cleanup June 13, 2015

In preparation for the Adventure Paddle, Rex Mathewson, Bruce Allan, Michelle Czerniak and Chuck Julian paddled the river from Water Works Park to Strom Park Saturday afternoon.  No trees needed to be cut.  Some low hanging branches were trimmed, one rock was rolled out of the center of the river near the railroad tubes and trash was picked up.  The river was deemed to be generally in good shape.  That does not mean that every log was pulled out of the river.  Logs are left for fish habitat and to protect the banks of the river.  It is passable by canoe or kayak.  Flags were put in front of the right tube at Lagrande Street, to warn people to keep to the left tube to avoid the rocks.  We did not find any places where it was so shallow that we had to get out and walk our boats.

River Cleanup June 7, 2015

Brad Jacobs said that the cleanup of the Keepers of the Shiawassee got from the Dam in Linden to Hogan Road on June 6, 2015, so the Headwaters Trails cleanup started at Hogan Road.  We opened the river from Hogan to Cole Road.  We might have gone further but it started raining and the forecast was for scattered Thunder Showers, so we stopped at Cole.  After that, we ate a wonderful lunch of pulled pork, potato salad and other things, provided by Maggie Yerman at her house.  Thanks to all of the great people who participated, including Steve Hoffman, Karen Borroso, Cathie Irish, Chuck Gosh, Rex Mathewson, Terry Reechko, Dave Spaine, Dora Dingwall and Chuck Julian.  We also had some passing help from Eric and Ben, who were kayaking along the river and stopped to help us clear one log jam.  Julie, from the Keepers of the Shiawassee, helped us spot cars in the morning.

Reconnaissance Paddle - Saturday May 2, 2015 at Noon

The Reconnaissance Paddle showed that the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail between Water Works Park and Strom Park is not in extremely bad shape.  There are blockages above and below Fish Lake Road, but ones that should not be extremely difficult to remove.  This will allow us to consider clearing the river from Bush Park to Lake Ponemah as part of the June 7, 2015 cleanup.  It would be great to get the river clear all the way to Byron before the month of June is out.

Owl Walk at Camp Wathana

Approximately 80 people attended the Owl Walk at Camp Wathana on January 10, 2015.  Dr. Craig Perdue talked about his owl research and owl behavior in general and then introduced the audience to his pet Great Horned Owl, Rupert.  Afterward, he led a walk in the camp to listen for owls.  This was a pot luck dinner event and a lot of great food was brought and enjoyed.  Thank you to everyone who attended and especially to those who either renewed or became new members.  Many thanks to our dedicated volunteers that made this all happen.

Dr. Craig Perdue with Rupert the Great Horned Owl Rupert the Great Horned Owl Owl Walk Dinner - Headwaters Trails

Election of Officers

The meeting of October 1, 2014, re-elected Sue Julian as President, Rex Mathewson as Vice President and Treasurer, and Chuck Julian as Secretary.

Canoeing In Color - October 4, 2014 - Fall Color Paddle on the Shiawassee River

Canoeing in Color, Headwaters Trails' fall color paddle on the Shiawassee River, took place on October 4, 2014.  This year, there was a lot of color in the trees to be seen.  The weather left something to be desired in the morning, with intermittent showers, but it went to mostly cloudy in the afternoon, with the sun peeking out on occasion.  Those who came, came dressed for the weather and had a desire to enjoy the trip.  Thank you to Al Heavner, for bringing boats to rent, and to our volunteers, Dave Spaine, Rex Mathewson, Debbie McCarty, Mary Blanchard, Maggie Yerman, Dennis Terry, Jim McEwan, Sue Julian and Chuck Julian.
Canoeing in Color - Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Canoeing in Color - Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Canoeing in Color - Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Canoeing in Color - Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail

October 3, 2014 River Cleanup

Rex Mathewson and Chuck Julian did a night before "Canoeing in Color", river cleanup from Water Works Park in Holly to Strom Park in Fenton.

September 28, 2014 River Cleanup

The river cleanup went well, with a bit smaller crew than we had anticipated, we skipped the stretch from Holly to Fish Lake Road.  The "4 Mile" and "5.5 Mile" posts were installed, completing installing the ones from Holly to Fenton.  Thanks to Bruce Allan, Dave Spaine, Brad Jacobs, Terry Bretzlaf and Chuck Julian.
Installing Mile Post 4 - Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - Mile Post 4 Fall Color on the Shiawassee River

River cleanup of August 16, 2014

Bruce Allan led the river cleanup of August 16, which started at Bird Road.  He had hoped to make it to Byron, but only he and 4 others showed up, Rex Mathewson, Lennie Brousseau, Jack Hrbek and Terry Bretzlaf.  Many thanks to them for all the hard work.  Bruce fed them at his house afterward.  The high water made the cleanup more difficult and they only got as far as Duffield Road.  They started at 10 am and didn't get off the river till around 4:30.

River Cleanup of August 17, 2014

This cleanup started at the ball fields in Byron, next to the Byron Elementary School, along with a reconnisance run from Linden to Cole Road.  The cleanup made it all the way to Walnut Hills.  At the current high water level, the river is clear, but when the water drops, more work will be needed.  Many thanks to Rex Mathewson, who not only led the cleanup, but along with Jack Hrbek showed up for both cleanups.  A big Thank You to the rest of the Sunday crew, Gary Burke, Phill Hathaway, Terry Reechko, Karen Borruso, Debbie McCarty, Maggie Yerman, Chris Dickinson, John MacBeth and Chuck Julian.  Chis, who owns Matador's Pizza in Byron treated us to pizza and bread sticks after we got off the river.  Chuck and Debbie started at 7 with the help of Maggie at Linden.  Although there are trees over the river that you need to duck down to get under, there are no blockages between Cole Road and Linden at this water level.  The rest of the crew started at 9 am.  We didn't get off the river till around 7:00.  There were a lot of trees down from the tornado of 2 years ago, then the January ice storm and the wind storm of 3 weeks ago.  We still need some people to go from Deerfield Road to Byron, though it might make sense to wait for the water to go down a little.

River Cleanup of August 3, 2014

The River cleanup was a success with 16 people turning out for the effort.  We started at Cole Road in Argentine Township and went to Bird Road.  We not only cleared a lot of log jams, we pulled out a lot of trash, including a submerged peddle boat that we refloated and a lot of tires.  We started at 9 AM and went to 5 PM.  Afterward, Maggie Yerman hosted us at her house, plying us with pizza, cole slaw, pasta salad, watermellon, deviled eggs, ice cream bars and drinks, as well as chips, raw veges and dips.  Many thanks to Maggie Yerman, Dave Spaine, Debbie McCarty, Adam Schneider, Jack Hrbek, Tom Larson, Chris and Pam Harbowy, Chuck Gosh, Terry Reechko, Karen Monetta, Mary Smith, Kay Combs, Rex Mathewson, Karen Borruso and Chuck Julian.  Karen Monetta has posted photos of the event on her Facebook page and on the Keepers of the Shiawassee Facebook page.  
Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail cleanup Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - river cleanup Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - river cleanup Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail - cleanup
  As you can see, these cleanups are full of fun when you work with a bunch of great people.  Karen even discovered a long missing airplane in the Shiawassee.  

River Cleanup of July 13, 2014

The river cleanup of July 13, 2014 opened the river between Hogan Road in Linden and Cole Road in Argentine.  The cleanup crew cut out around 10 blockages, working from 9 am till 2 pm.  Afterward, we were invited to eat at Ricky Ostrowski's house in Byron where he served hamburgers, veggie burgers, lasagna, cherries, ice cream and drinks.  Many thanks to Ricky Ostrowski, Bruce Allan, Rex Mathewson, Dan, Dave Spaine, Karen Monetta, Mary Smith, Jack Hrbek, Sue Julian, Maggie Yerman and Chuck Julian.  Karen Monetta has posted some photos on her facebook page.

Adventure Paddle 2014 Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail

Adventure Paddle 2014.  The Adventure Paddle was held on Sunday June 22, 2014.  It was a great success with 71 people attending and beautiful warm sunny weather.  Many thanks to all of the volunteers who made this event so wonderful for the participants: Maggie Yerman, Rex Mathewson, Sue Julian, Lola Augustine, Doug Lanyk, Karen Borruso, Karen Monetta, John Harp, Dennis Terry, Bruce Allan, Ed Piercy and Chuck Julian.
Man and Woman in orange canoe Family in a canoe girl in an orange kayak Kayak followed by paddle board
Man and woman in kayaks Paddle board followed by kayak Taking it easy Three in a canoe
Two blue kayaks We made it! Woman in a yellow kayak
There were many participants who each had their own special way of enjoying this paddle on the Shiawassee River.  No one way was the right way.  The smiles on their faces tell the story.
There is an article on the web about the paddle.  Unfortunately, it credits North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy as having put on the event as opposed to Headwaters Trails.  Headwaters Trails and NOHLC work together but have different missions.  Headwaters Trails is a Trails Building group and is responsible for clearing the river of trash and fallen trees so that it can be paddled.  This paddle featured one of its trails and sought to help raise money to further that work.  NOHLC is a Land Conserancy.  They have preserved land along the river, protecting the beautiful habitat that those who paddle the river see.  We work together, but have different missions.  Ignoring the fact that the wrong group is credited with the river work, it is otherwise a good article with great photos of the river.
http://liveoaklandcounty.com/2014/06/25/exploring-the-shiawassee-river-by-kayak-and-paddle-board/comment-page-1/#comment-1226
The TriCounty Times covered the story as well.  Their take on the event was a little different and correctly identified Headwaters Trails as the group that put on the event.
http://www.tctimes.com/news/adventures-on-the-river/article_f8427304-fc6b-11e3-a3e6-0019bb2963f4.html

June 14, 2014 River Cleanup
The Keepers of the Shiawassee organized a river cleanup that started in Linden and got as far as the Waste Water Treatment Plant, just below Hogan Road.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  

June 1, 2014 River Cleanup

The river cleanup was successful.  13 people participated.  We cleared a large number of logs that would have become a problem as the water dropped.  Right now, the water level is so high that it is not safe to attempt to go through the Railroad Tubes nor is it advisable to attempt to go under the Academy foot bridge.  We portaged over the railroad tracks.  Many thanks to Jack Hrbek, John Macbeth, Bruce Allan, Jason Carpenter, Maggie Yerman, Joetta Pyles-Zalewski, Dennis Terry, Steve Turner, Mike Turner, Mike Blakemore, Steve Hoffman, Rex Mathewson and Chuck Julian.  At 8:30, Sue Julian brought those who stayed sandwiches from Subway.  Although we did a lot of work, it was still a fun event

Request for Owl Research Help

Dr. Craig Perdue is doing research into the calls of the Great Horned Owl.  He is in particular attempting to learn if specific calls of the owls translate to specific things.  He needs our help.  If you have heard Great Horned Owls or if you have seen these owls perching or nesting, please contact Dr. Perdue at cperdue@shadowspeak.org.  He would like to record the vocalizations along with the actions of the birds.  If it is on your land, he would like permission to do this work there.  You can learn more about Great Horned Owls, so that you can tell if the owl you are seeing or hearing is indeed a Great Horned Owl at Great Horned Owls.
Great Horned Owl

Spring Birding Trip to Magee Marsh with NOHLC

The Spring birding trip to see Warblers was quite interesting.  As well as the warblers, we saw an adult eagle sitting in its nest with a chick, a screech owl, a wood duck, a woodcock and many other birds that were not warblers, yet were migrating or in some cases nesting.  There were eagles, owls, a falcon, a buzzard and a hawk displayed by an animal rescue society, such that you could get up close to the birds.  Birders from across the country attended.  We saw plates from Texas, Florida, Missouri, New York and other states.  I estimate that there were 3 - 400 cars in the parking lot.  Where ever there was a rare warbler, a crowd would gather and whispers would go down the line that a particular warbler had been seen at a specific location.  Often when puzzling over what type of warbler I was looking at, someone would either identify it for me or ask me what I thought and then give their opinion. There was a tent with Ohio Wildlife officials giving demonstrations.  A person was doing a "Big Sit", where he tries to see how many species he can identify in a day, from a single location.  There was a tent featuring binoculars and spotting scopes as well as outfitters who take people on birding trips around the world.  I found it interesting to see the difference between a $250, a $1000 and $4000 pair of binoculars and see just how much detail in the distance you can see with a good spotting scope.

We stopped at the Bench Family Farm Greenhouse on the way home.  They specialize in heirloom varieties of plants, particularly heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other garden delights as well as having flowers and shrubs..
Magnolia Warbler.Nesting Eagle with Chick Crowd on boardwalk observing Warblers
Eagles and Falcon on display  Owls on Display  


Owl Walk

The owl walk was a big success.  Thank You Rose Township Officials for allowing us to use the township hall for the event.  The pot luck produced a wide variety of delicious dishes that we struggled to eat all of.  Even after that glorious effort, we still had left overs that we sent home with participants.  After the meal, we watched the first 10 minutes of "Owls Up Close", a documentary produced by the National Audubon Society.  A drawing was held for a ceramic owl pot donated by Joetta Zalewski and another for a book on owls.  We then posed for a group photo and about 2/3 of the participants walked a portion of Water Road, which is a non-maintained County Road.  Oakland County Parks is turning this road into a multi-use trail for non-motorized use.  Although we did not see owls, we heard Great Horned Owls calling.  Upon returning to the Township Hall, we then saw the rest of the movie and participated in a group game of answering owl related trivia, led by Chris Harbowy.

We were really pleased to have a number of the participants become members of Headwaters Trails.  This will help us with our mission of building trails and hopefully bring us closer to the day when we can apply for a grant to build a landing at the Shiawassee River and Fish Lake Road.  We need match money before we can apply for a grant.  This landing on the Shiawassee River Water Heritage Trail will mean the people will be able to make a short trip from Water Works Park to Fish Lake Road, or a somewhat longer trip to Strom Park in Fenton from Fish Lake Road rather than making the long trip from Water Works Park all the way to Strom Park.

Owl Walk Participants at Rose Township Hall before heading out to Water Road.

CELEBRATE NEW YEARS DAY  

Date: 01-01-2014

Time: 1:00 PM – ?

Event Details: Come on out and enjoy the day at Proud lake State Recreation Area.  Enjoy the afternoon doing all sorts of fun activities including: Canoeing, Kayaking, Hiking and/or  Snowshoeing.  There is no set end time. 

Cost: $5.00 Donation Heavner Nature Connection

Additional Activities: Canoeing / Kayaking Snow Shoeing and will be $10 per person for each activity

Sponsor:  Heavner Canoe Rental and Heavner Nature Connection

Co-Sponsors: Department of Natural Resources (Proud Lake Recreation Area),  and Solar Club

We look forward to seeing your there…….  Alan Heavner @ 248-561-8274

If you plan to attend this event and paddle on New Years Day, we advise that you wear synthetic or wool clothing with a windbreaker, if you don't have a wet suit.  You want something that drains the water quickly.  It is best to put on multiple layers so you can take some off if you get too warm.  If you fall in the water, cotton will hold water and offer no insulation. You could become hypothermic and die.  Be safe, dress with getting wet in mind.  Blue jeans and a cotton filled coat are a recipe for disaster.


Sandhill cranes on Bennet Lake

Due to the Rain on October 19, 2013, Maggie canceled the trip.

Fall Color Paddle

The Fall Color Paddle went off as advertised.  The water was a bit low, but Rex Mathewson, Dennis Terry, John McCubbin, and Chuck Julian went down the river the morning of the event and did a little more clearing to move rocks from the parts of the river where people were hitting bottom, over to the side.  They also cleared a few logs that were making navigation difficult.  Dennis, Rex and John notched the beaver dam to make it easy to get across.

This was a successful event..  The weather was cloudy most of the time, but the air was warm, and there was very little wind.  The trees were turning color and it seemed as though everyone had a good time.

Thank you to our volunteers: Bruce Allan, Karen Monetta, Mary Smith, Maggie Yerman, John MacBeth, Adam Schneider, Mary Blanchard, Sue Julian, John Harp, John McCubbin, Rex Mathewson, Dennis Terry and Chuck Julian.   After the event, we had an afterglo party at Johnny's Pizza in Fenton, for the volunteers.

Elections

At the October 2, 2013 meeting, Sue Julian was re-elected, President.  Rex Mathewson was elected, Vice President, Jolyn Vita was re-elected, Treasurer and Chuck Julian stayed on as Secretary.

Michigan Municipal League Competition.

The submission by Dave Lossing to the Michigan Municipal league competition did not come in first, but it was a fun event anyway.  You can see the video prepared for the competition at this link.  MML video

Fall Color Paddle October 5, 2013

Shiawassee River Heritage Water TrailThe first Saturday in October of each year, Headwaters Trails sponsors a Fall Color Paddle on the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail.  This year, the start will be at Water Works Park, at 1:00 pm. October 5, 2013.  There is a  $5.00 fee per person for this event.  That entitles you to return transportation with your boat from Strom Park in Fenton, back to Water Works Park in Holly.  The trip takes around three hours, paddling at a leasurely pace.  In the event that there is a strong wind, there will be a tow boat in the Fenton Mill pond that can pull you across that pond at no extra charge.  A cleanup boat will follow all the participants to make sure that no one is left behind.  Heavner's Canoe and Kayak Rental, will have canoes and kayaks available to rent if you do not have your own craft.  It is best to call ahead to Heavners, to make sure you have what you would like to use reserved in advance, 248-685-2379.   For more information, call 248-634-3513 (Sue Julian) or 248-634-4551 Douglas Lanyk.  

If you are thinking about buying a canoe or kayak for personal use, this is an opportunity to try out this sport for only the cost of a rental (return transportation is included in the rental fee).  This is a special event and for most of the rest of the year, there are no boats for rent on this stretch of the Shiawassee.

In October, the Shiawassee River is beautiful, with fall colors just starting to come out, sand hill cranes and blue heron standing along the river, kingfishers looking for small minows, warblers in their fall colors getting ready to migrate, beavers tending their lodge and dam (yes, there is a beaver dam in this stretch of the river), deer grazing in the fields and water so clear that you can see the fish swim by.  

This is a rain or shine event.  The Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail is an easy paddle that most novices can handle.  We will have a person at the beaver dam to help you get across and a person at the railroad tubes to help you through.  

The experience on the river is often referred to as an UP North experience due to the relatively few houses you will see along the river and the fact that much of it passes along little disturbed forests and swamps.  It is an experience of nature's beauty and tranquility that in other places in South East Michigan that has long ago disappeared.  The Shiawassee River is considered a Heritage Water  Trail and has been so designated by Oakland County.  

Groups such as Headwaters Trails, the Keepers of the Shiawassee, the City of Fenton, the City of Linden, the Village of Holly, the Friends of the Shiawassee and others cooperate in keeping the river open by cutting trees that have fallen in the river and picking up trash that has been thrown in the river.  It is through the effort of many volunteers that this gem is kept open to the public.

Come Join us for a wonderful afternoon on the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail.

Help us get the River ready for the Fall Color Paddle

The River Cleanup went on as planned on Sunday September 29, 2013, in a light rain.  The air was a little cool, but the water was warm.  Maggie Yerman, Jim Kure, Bill, Dennis Terry, Terry Reechko, Joetta Zalewski, Mary Smith, Karen Monetta and Chuck Julian went down the river.  Sue Julian helped get the crew off and helped recover them at the end.  The group was divided into two groups, with one clearing the river from Water Works Park in Holly to Strom Park in Fenton, and the other clearing the river from Bush Park in Fenton to the DNR launch in Lake Ponemah.  From the Water Works to Strom was mostly clearing trees in the water and pushing back the bushes from the river.  From Bush to Ponemah was largely picking up trash with some face slappers trimmed and a few logs cut and moved to the side of the river.  That group pulled four full garbage bags worth of cans, bottles and other debris out of the river.  The worst trash was right around Bush Park.  The river was fairly shallow, meaning that the rowboat had to be pushed in several spots.  The kayaks seemed to make it through without having to get out.  Hopefully, this weekend's rain and that predicted later in the week will raise the water level a little.  Otherwise, the river is open from Water Works Park in Holly, to Lake Ponemah.

Jim Kure pointed out that we could possibly do a cleanup of the river from Byron to Walnut Hills, in the future.  The river there has a lot of logs in it from the tornado that went through this summer.  He noted that the wind was so strong that many of the trees were splintered, and not just knocked down.  If we get a warm weekend before winter, we may schedule that cleanup.  Otherwise, it will have to wait for next summer.

After the cleanup on Sunday, the crew was treated to a wonderful warm meal at the home of Karen and Jeff Monetta.  The rain kept us inside as opposed to going out to a warm bonfire as was originally planned.  We watched a little football, had great conversation and enjoyed the warmth of hospitality provided by the Monettas.  Many thanks to the Monettas and all who participated.

See the Sandhill Cranes on Bennet Lake

The Keepers of the Shiawassee will be sponsoring a trip on Bennett Lake to see the Sandhill Cranes as they group together before migrating south for the winter.  They will meet at the Deerfield Hill Nature Center at Cohoctah and Green roads at 1:00.  Maggie suggests that if you have wheels for your kayak, you bring them.  The launch is about 1/10th mile away from the parking area.  You can also launch from the DNR launch off of Argentine Road.  (If you would rather have a shorter walk and a longer paddle launch from the DNR launch off Argentine Rd. and meet us in Bennett Lake near the modular home park at 2:00)

Cleanup of the Flint River

Members of Headwaters Trails, Terry Reechko, Rex Mathewson, Dennis Terry, Steve Hoffman, and Greg Schovan have been involved in two cleanups of the Flint River in the area below Holloway Dam in Flint.  The most recent cleanup involved Terry Reechko, Dennis Terry and Rex Mathewson on Saturday August 10.  They spent around 4 hours clearing one large log jam.  Those efforts were coordinated by Terry Reechko.  The Flint River is now clear for paddling between Holloway Dam and Mott Lake.

A Note from Dave Lossing regarding the Floatilla


First off, THANK YOU for making the Floatilla a roaring success!  In the end, we had135 registrants, nine pontoon boats, about two dozen or so folks on shore and a wonderful Saturday afternoon enjoying the Shiawassee River!  The photos that everyone has posted to Facebook are just amazing, lots of smiling faces, beach balls, paddle boards, and yes, wet dogs.  Both of my dogs went swimming in the Mill Pond (intentional) and Lake Ponemah (not intentional - caused by wave action).

Kevin and Shar Haley are going to host us this coming Thursday, August 15th at 7pm, at the Nutrition Shop (114 S. Bridge Street, Linden) where will have a debrief of the event and talk about next year!

I've attached for review a list of the sponsors of this video project so far.  I'm sure there are groups I've left off, so please bring those suggestions on Thursday.

Sue has volunteered to database all of the registrants that we had for the Keepers group (she just loves Excel - more than I do) - so bring all the forms that have been collected.  We have 135 new "members" that we hopefully can count on to join us on paddles, clean ups, fundraisers, etc. for the next few years.

Again, thanks for making this a huge success!

David Lossing
Mayor, City of Linden
President, Michigan Municipal League 2012-2013
dlossing@lindenmi.us

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail
“Come Paddle With Us!” project

 Sponsors:
Headwaters Trails, Inc.
Keepers of the Shiawassee
City of Linden Downtown Development Authority
City of Fenton
Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce
City of Linden Fire and Rescue
City of Linden Department of Public Works
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Spoonz Lakeside Tavern and Grill
Flagstar Bank
The French Laundry
Crust
Sweet D’s Café Bake Shop and Tea Room
Subway of Linden
Tim Hortons Café and Bake Shop
Friends of the Shiawassee
The Nutrition Shop
Share a Smile

 Pending:
Village of Holly Downtown Development Authority/Main Street
Holly Area Chamber of Commerce
Fenton Community Fund, Community Foundation of Greater Flint



River Cleanup of Duffield to Byron

Members of Headwaters Trails cleared the Shiawassee River from Duffield Road to Byron on August 4, 2013.  There were several large trees that had fallen in the river and surprisingly little trash.  We put in at Tom Landers' house and took out at the cemetery in Byron.  Afterward, Ricky Ostrowski had us all over to his house for a nice meal.  Many thanks to Tom Landers, Bruce Allen, Dennis Terry, Rex Mathewson, Ricky Ostrowski, Karen Monetta, Lisa Brazzil, Kay Combs, Terry Reechko and Chuck Julian.

Linden Floatilla Saturday August 10, 2013

Come bring your boat

The City of Linden is promoting a Floatilla in Lake Ponemah Saturday August 10, 2013.  The Floatilla is an event where they are looking to get as many kayaks and other water craft together as possible on the Lake.  If it floats, they will be happy to have it.  This event will be filmed from the air and within the floatilla with still and video cameras.  The entrance fee is $5.00, which can be paid in Linden or by finding one of the two house boats on the Lake with Banners for the Floatilla.  Registrants will receive a packet with goodies inside, like a coupon to Tim Horton's, 10% off at the Crust Bakery, and other great offers plus a wrist band to indicate that they are part of the event..  Drop off of Kayaks is at Sharp’s Funeral Home in Linden.  From there, people are directed to park at the Hyatt Elementary School.  A shuttle bus will then take them back to their boats.  Put in is between 12:00 and 1:30 pm, in the Linden Mill Pond.  Filming of the event will be between 2:00 and 3:00 pm.  Upon return to Linden, the shuttle bus will take people back to their cars till 5:00 pm.

 

The City of Linden, The City of Fenton, and the Village of Holly are jointly working on this effort and an effort to win a Community Excellence Award at the Michigan Municipal League meeting this September in Detroit.  These communities are promoting the Shiawassee River as a recreational gem that passes through each of the communities.

Annual Canoe & Kayak Event June 2nd

This year's adventure on the Shiawassee River is shaping up to be better than ever--warm days, good safe current and scenic countryside views. The sometimes narrow, sometimes broad channel is currently blocked by only one beaver dam. Our volunteers will notch the dam just before the races so you can slip over the top with ease. We will also have spotters stationed along the way to physically assist pleasure paddlers if needed. For more details about the seven mile paddle from Holly to Fenton and our annual canoe/kayak event on June 2nd, click here to view a registration form. We'll have timed races in the morning and a leisurely float in the afternoon, all starting from WaterWorks Park in Holly. Participants will be insured and required to conform to U.S. Canoe Association rules regarding safety. Heavner Canoe Rental will offer canoes or kayaks and also provide return transportation for all. Call ahead to reserve a craft at 248-685-2379. Headwaters Trails volunteers will act as spotters along the route. All these preparations add up to a great day on the river. If you have additional questions, please call Sue Julian at 248-634-3513. We hope to see you having a great time on a scenic river close to home. Come join us!


New Shiawassee River App
Willi just got his iPhone app into the Apple app store!  It will help you navigate your way down the Shiawassee River.  Here's the link to the Flint Journal article. http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/05/new_phone_app_guides_paddlers.html


Headwaters Trails did a cleanup of the river from Water Works Park in Holly to Strom Park in Fenton on Sunday May 19, 2013. The river is now open to Strom Park. Since we cleaned the section from Water Works to Fish Lake last weekend, only John McCubbin went again down that stretch, clipping low hanging branches and picking up trash. He said that he saw two tires in the river near the Waste Water Treatment Plant that he could not get out. If anyone can pull those out, that would be great. They could be left by the gate of the Waste Water Treatment Plant and we could get them from there. Many thanks to Doug Lanyk, Rex Mathewson, Burt Bilbrey, Jasmine Bilbrey, Dennis Terry, Jim Kure, Court, John MacBeth, Chris Harbowy, Pam, Tom Tercheck, John McCubbin, and Steve Hoffman for all the hard work put in. We started at 9 and got out of the river at around 3 pm. In the photos, Jasmine is crossing the Beaver Dam. Doug Lanyk cuts a submerged log, held up by Jim Kure and Dennis Terry. A mix of river cleanup crew and kayakers waiting to get past the obstruction in the river being taken out.

Chuck Julian

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Cleanup

Annual Canoe & Kayak Event June 2nd

This year's adventure on the Shiawassee River is shaping up to be better than ever--warm days, good safe current and scenic countryside views. The sometimes narrow, sometimes broad channel is currently blocked by only one beaver dam. Our volunteers will notch the dam just before the races so you can slip over the top with ease. We will also have spotters stationed along the way to physically assist pleasure paddlers if needed. For more details about the seven mile paddle from Holly to Fenton and our annual canoe/kayak event on June 2nd, click here to view a registration form. We'll have timed races in the morning and a leisurely float in the afternoon, all starting from WaterWorks Park in Holly. Participants will be insured and required to conform to U.S. Canoe Association rules regarding safety. Heavner Canoe Rental will offer canoes or kayaks and also provide return transportation for all. Call ahead to reserve a craft at 248-685-2379. Headwaters Trails volunteers will act as spotters along the route. All these preparations add up to a great day on the river. If you have additional questions, please call Sue Julian at 248-634-3513. We hope to see you having a great time on a scenic river close to home. Come join us!

Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail Volunteers

Doug Lanyk, Jim Kure and Dennis Terry cut log blocking the Shiawassee River during River CleanupRiver clearing day

Sunday May 19th 9:00 AM

Waterworks Park Holly MI

It's time to clear the winters accumulation of log jams and dead fall.  Join us to help.  Dress to get wet and protect yourselves.  Boots and gloves suggested.  Tools for clearing brush and trees are needed.  If you need a boat we can find one for you.



Nature hike scheduled

Sunday April 21st 1:30 PM

Holly State Recreation Area.


This will be a challenging hike across State Hunting Land on recently rediscovered trails. We will be walking from the Radio Control Airfield on MacKey Rd. to Holly High school. This walk will cover almost all terrain and ecology types available in Oakland County. The range will be from mature hardwood forest to freshly tilled fields, highlands to wetlands. It will range from hilltops to river crossings. There will be hills to climb, trees to walk over, streams to cross, thorns to avoid, and a lot of wildlife. It is likely that you will get muddy and or wet depending on the rains. Tall waterproof boots and a coat you don't care about are suggested attire. This will be approximately 2 mile walk but will feel much longer.

Meet at Alex's Market on Grange Hall Rd. West of I75 after 1:00 PM. We will need to spot cars and caravan to a more appropriate parking spot.

Call Douglas at 248 303 9495 for more information. 


 

A Potluck Dinner at Camp Wathana
 
Hi,

You are invited to a pot luck dinner at Camp Wathana,
 Saturday January 26, 2013 from 5 - 9 pm, which is off Milford road, south of Davisburg and north of the railroad tracks.

* Jon Noyes of Oakland County Parks will talk briefly about the multi-use boardwalk for Rose Oaks.

* There will be an owl walk and a bonfire to sit around and socialize.

This is intended as a meeting to sit around the fire and enjoy the company of others with like interests as well as hear Jon.  It is not a work session.  We are able to use the dining hall but not the kitchen.  There are bathrooms in the dining hall.  Chuck Julian will bring a Spiral Cut ham, Hamburgers, Vegetarian Griller Burgers, bread, lettuce and tomatoes as well as a charcoal grill to cook the burgers on.  There will be coffee and hot water for cocoa and tea.  If you do not bring food, you are still welcome.

All Headwaters Trails members are invited as well as NOHLC members .  People are welcome to bring guests.  Don't worry about there being too many people, the dining hall, where we will serve food,  seats 125 people and it is heated.  It will be a good idea to bring a lawn chair to sit on for outside.  The benches around the fire pits do not move and you may want to, if the wind changes direction.

The camp is 250 acres of mostly woods with a few open fields, lakes and some cabins.  We have the free use of the camp trails to walk and listen for owls, with the exception of the dock, which they would like us to stay off.  It will be a full moon night, so unless it is cloudy, a flashlight probably will not be needed.  The camp administration does not want us to bring liquid fuel lanterns.

Please Park next to the dining hall and when that fills up, please park up by the caretakers house.  We are hoping to have a good turnout.

 

The weather will be cool and clear!

The water is shallow.  There will be hot beverages and a fire at the end.

See y'all there.

 

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