Sept 8: The Grand in Lansing

Joe Writes . . . 

I recently observed that Jackson, MI, had not taken advantage of the river flowing through its heart.  Today I scouted the Grand in downtown Lansing, in preparation for an upcoming paddle, and it appears that Lansing might be making the most of the river.

There were no fish swimming up the ladder located at the big dam in downtown Lansing today, although I expect that will happen soon as salmon make their way from Lake Michigan to the west to Lansing in the center of the state.  There’s a public parking lot here at the point where Turner terminates at East Grand River in the Old Town area of downtown Lansing.  Leave your vehicle in the lot to check out the fish ladder and the dam, or to access the river with a canoe or kayak.

Here’s a view of the Grand from the top of the dam and then looking back at the dam.  If you’re looked at any of our previous entries you can see that the river is an entirely different animal here.  Back in Jackson County we were frequently stymied by shallow water and deadfalls blocking our progress.  Here in our state’s capital city the river is wide and runs fast.  I’m looking forward to the change of pace, as we have worked hard thus far.  It will be nice if the river just takes us downstream a bit.  Simply having enough water under the Billie V’s* bottom will be a blessing.

Often we are scrambling to figure out where and how to put the Billie V into the river; here in Lansing there’s a sign announcing the location of the put-in and steps leading into the river.  We’ll have to work hard in order to avoid becoming spoiled.


This is the river we’ll set off into from the steps pictured above.  Again, a vast difference from what we have become accustomed to.  From this point in Lansing our plan is to paddle 5 +/- hours to Grand Ledge.  It may be a while before we get out again, as Tom is working every weekday for a few weeks and I’m busy on weekends.  That’s OK.  There’s no time clock to punch on this journey.

*We named our canoe the Billie V in honor of our grandmother, Luella (Billie) Verschoor.

We would love to hear from any who may stumble across this blog: Tom Neely can be reached at; Joe Neely can be reached at   It’s likely our trip from Lansing to Grand Ledge will be during the last week of September.  If you have a kayak or canoe we would love to have you join us for the day, or for some trip in the future.

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