By Howard Meyerson
The public is being invited to an open house February 23 to learn more about plans for a 95-mile recreational water trail on the lower Grand River which runs through Ionia, Kent and Ottawa counties in Michigan.
Organizers want input from people who canoe and kayak or fish its waters, those who own or manage public access sites, and those who have other interests. Attendees will be able to review maps of the river and identified access sites. They will be asked to share their preferences and concerns regarding amenities, safety, parking, directional signage and other important aspects of the trail.
The public open house is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the L. William Seidman Center on the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. It will be hosted by the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW). The organization is developing the official water trail plan which is required to get state recognition and an official state water trail designation. That designation is expected to boost tourism and provide economic benefits to local communities along the river as well as enhance public concern about water quality.
At 252 miles in length, the Grand River is Michigan’s longest river. It extends from its headwaters in Hillsdale County to Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. Water trail plans for its middle and upper reaches have been completed by the Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds and Upper Grand River Organization of Watersheds. Once the lower river plan is complete and has been accepted by the state, the three organizations say they will join forces and seek national designation for the entire trail.
For more information about the planned water trail see: https://www.lgrow.org/grand-river-water-trail