Connect to nature through CNC paddling trips

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Chippewa Nature Center staff will lead a number of kayak and Voyageur Canoe trips, as well as a canoe and kayak training this summer for participants ages 15 and up (under 18 with adult).



Participants need to register in advance, and can register online at or by calling (989) 631-0830. They also can register in person at the CNC at 400 S. Badour Road in Midland. If weather or water conditions are not favorable for any of the trips, they will be canceled and participants will be refunded.



CNC staff will lead leisurely kayak trips down local rivers on June 24, July 1 and July 30 and Aug. 12 and Aug. 28 from 6-9 p.m. These trips provide a great way to see resident wildlife such as bald eagles, turtles and muskrats and discover local history from the river.


CNC will also host a canoe and kayak training entitled “Upside-Down and Swamped: What to Do When Paddling Turns to Swimming” on Tuesday, July 8, from 6-9 p.m. Staffers Tom Lenon and Curt Holsinger will lead this on-water program as they cover different paddling strokes and braces, gear and canoe/kayak types and rescue techniques such as the Capistrano Flip and the Eskimo Roll. Participants will have the opportunity to challenge themselves by practicing these skills.


Those looking for an exciting adventure are invited to join Tom Lenon for “Saginaw Bay by Voyageur Canoe” on Wednesday, July 23, from 6-10 p.m. The 29-foot canoe is a fiberglass reproduction of the birch bark canoes used by voyageurs to haul loads of trade goods and animal pelts in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the trip, participants will explore the natural and cultural resources of the area and share stories of the past.


“Adventures for Women Kayak Trip” will take place on Thursday, July 24, and Thursday, Aug. 21, from 6-9 p.m. for women ages 14 and up (under 18 with adult). Participants will enjoy a quiet paddling trip down the Chippewa River. The trip will start near Meridian Road and end at CNC’s main canoe launch just downstream of the Pine/Chippewa River confluence. Participants will watch for herons, eagles, map turtles, orioles, flycatchers, muskrat, mink, fish and other wildlife who call the river home.


Those interested in kayaking the Au Sable into the heart of the Huron National Forest can join experienced trip leader Kyle Bagnall for “Kayaking the Au Sable River Rollways” on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Participants will travel by 15-passenger van to Loud Dam to begin the trip, then paddle westward up the pond along the high, sandy banks about three miles to explore numerous small islands where the main river enters the flooding. Along the way, they’ll watch for bald eagles, beaver, osprey and other wildlife. Participants should bring a sack lunch, water bottles and appropriate clothing for the weather. This trip is for ages 18 and up.


“Voyageur Canoeing at Grand Island and Pictured Rocks” will take place Thursday, Aug. 14, through Sunday, Aug. 17, for ages 18 and up. Venture out with Lenon and Holsinger to one of Michigan’s most picturesque areas, the Grand Island and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, in a 29-foot Voyageur canoe, much like the early fur traders and explorers would have done. This trip will include paddling in the crystal clear waters of Lake Superior, and traveling along the high limestone cliffs of the area. Participants will explore the coves and caves and observe a variety of plant and animal life. They will also have a chance to see the remains of a shipwreck, waterfalls, local interpretive centers and other areas of natural and cultural history. Base camp will be set up on Grand Island for Thursday and Friday nights, and participants will enjoy day trips from there. There will also be time for hiking, swimming and relaxing. Saturday night will be spent in a motel before leaving Sunday morning for the return trip.


Participants are required to attend a pre-trip meeting to go over trip supplies, expectations and questions. Participants will be an active part of the group paddling the voyageur canoe in open water. They should also be able to walk two-three miles per day on moderate terrain.


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