The City of Sterling Heights is celebrating the continuing rebirth of the Clinton River for recreational use on Thursday, August 1st, culminating with a ceremonial ribbon cutting at one of new EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System docks at 5:30 pm.
The City is partnering with Clinton River Canoe & Kayak for Canoe the Clinton, an event that will allow participants to paddle a family-friendly stretch of the Clinton River starting from a launch at Heritage Park located at 44505 Van Dyke. The paddle begins at 4:45 pm, and the duration is estimated at 45 minutes. Guides will accompany all participants to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The paddle will conclude with the ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 pm at the new EZDock launch located in Clinton River Park North, 8600 Riverland Drive.
As part of the Recreating Recreation millage, the city invested roughly $84,000 to install two EZDock launches – one in Clinton River Park North last fall and one in Rotary Park this spring. The EZDock launch system is designed for easy launching and docking, even for beginners. The accompanying EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System provides individuals with disabilities accessibility that exceeds ADA compliance, with a transfer bench and slide boards of two different heights, allowing users to simply sit, slide over and drop down into a kayak or canoe, then use the side rails to pull off or back on.
“The new EZDock system not only makes the Clinton River accessible for everyone, it adds an important safety element,” said Jerry Reis, Owner, Clinton River Canoe & Kayak. “Many canoeists and kayakers fall in the water while entering or exiting their boats. The EZDock system cradles watercraft with rollers and hand rails, offering everyone dry, mud-free kayaking and canoeing.”
“This project is absolutely aligned with the City’s vision for creating a vibrant, inclusive and distinctive quality of life in Sterling Heights,” said Mayor Michael Taylor. “The continual clean up and maintenance of the Clinton River, coupled with these new access points that are accessible to all of our residents, regardless of physical ability, is just one more reason to live and recreate in Sterling Heights.”
The Clinton River is managed under the Clinton River Watershed Council's umbrella working hand-in-hand with communities along the river, like Sterling Heights, and other partners.
“Our primary goal is to get more people out enjoying the river. Spending time on the river is good for us and good for the river – the more people enjoy it, the more they care about protecting it” said Anne Brasie, Executive Director for the Clinton River Watershed Council. “We hope to have at least twelve universally accessible launches on the Clinton and Lake St. Clair. With the completion of this launch and other launches that are in the active planning phase, we're more than halfway there.”
Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool said the City plans to continue to celebrate the benefits of parks and recreation amenities and programs, including the Clinton River project.
“The federally-funded $4.5 million, two-year river restoration project that was undertaken in 2016 stabilized the Clinton River. And now our partnership with Clinton River Canoe and Kayak moving forward will ensure the maintenance to keep the river clear for recreation,” said Vanderpool. “As a result of these efforts by the City and our partners, we’ve seen recreational usage of the river continue to increase exponentially, and we’re pleased that our community has embraced this recreational opportunity to stay active as well as enjoy some of the natural assets we enjoy here in Sterling Heights.”
Media with further questions can contact Community Relations Director Melanie Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (586) 446-2471.