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Sterling Heights

August 22, 2014

Local leaders celebrate river’s new kayak landing area

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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Local leaders celebrate river’s new kayak landing area
Canoeing guide Hal Stickney, center, of Shelby Township, greets Mike Slomka, left, of Shelby Township, as Slomka leaves the river with his children, Alison, 12, and Jacob, 10, at the new landing ramp at Clinton River Park North in Sterling Heights Aug. 21.
Sterling Heights Mayor Pro Tem Michael Taylor wields a pair of scissors as he cuts a ribbon during the opening of the new canoe and kayak landing spot at Clinton River Park North in Sterling Heights Aug. 21.
 

STERLING HEIGHTS — Macomb County officials were ready to let the good times row in Sterling Heights as they dedicated a new paddle landing for kayaks and canoes along the Clinton River.

The dignitaries gathered Aug. 21 at Clinton River Park North, the site of the new paddle landing. Officials said the amenity is part of the region’s commitment to the Macomb County Blue Economy Initiative, which aims to use waterways strategically to benefit the region economically.

According to the city of Sterling Heights, the landing area was made possible though a grant from ITC Holdings Corp. and labor from the city’s Department of Public Works.

Officials said the new landing area is environmentally friendly, and they also praised the site for its close proximity to the Sterling Heights Nature Center.

Before the dedication, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the new landing location adds another opportunity for people to find a location on the river to come ashore, giving them more recreational options.

He said the county wants to have many of these hubs throughout the Clinton River in the various municipalities, adding that investment could pose new benefits to the region.

“It’s been ignored as a tremendous asset,” Hackel said. “By (improving the river), you’ll see that integration of economic activity, as well as quality of life, come together.”

At the Aug. 19 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool called the opening “a more pleasant topic involving water” in contrast to the recent flooding. He said the landing site is a short kayak trip from Utica’s Heritage Park.

“And that’s easy to navigate, and great for families and novices,” he added. “We have the most family-friendly section of the Clinton River right here in Sterling Heights. It’s not rapidly moving water, there’s a lot of twists and turns, and it’s really great for this sort of activity.”

Sterling Heights’ vision statement and recreation plan contain the goal of further developing the Clinton River for recreation, Vanderpool said.

“This is the first of what we hope will be more launching and landing sites developed along the Clinton River,” he added.

The paddle landing dedication comes as Sterling Heights has recently announced that volunteers plan to remove woody debris from the Clinton River Sept. 4 and 5.

Learn more about Clinton River Park North by visiting www.myshpr.net. Find out more about the Clinton River by visiting the Clinton River Watershed’s website at www.crwc.org, or by calling (248) 601-0606.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.