Paddling Season is Upon Us

Joe Writes:

God willing and the creek don’t rise we’ll get out on the river in Jackson County this Sunday, April 9, kicking off our paddling season for 2017. It will be Palm Sunday, and while I hate to miss church on that joyous occasion, the Lord knows the Hosanas I shout on the river will be joyous and sincere after a long winter hiatus. Perhaps I’ll try to find some palms for the bow of the Billie V. Granny would get a kick out of that.*

A couple of things could, I suppose, prevent us from joining the Jackson-based Grand River Environmental Action Team’s (GREAT) first paddle of the season. It could keep raining all week, which would likely send already-high river levels too high for us to pass under the various obstacles we are likely to encounter. It could also be just too damned cold for paddling. I would be willing to set off in the snow, but I’m not sure anyone would want to join me. Like I said, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Here’s the stretch of river we will paddle, beginning south of Jackson (map courtesy of GREAT, Interested paddlers will find trip details and contact information on GREAT’s website.

Jefferson US127 to US 127 Reed

*Our canoe is named the Billie V in honor of our grandmother, Luella ‘Billie’ Verschoor. She – the canoe, not our grandmother, Granny’s been gone for years – has been waiting out the winter in my stepdaughter’s backyard. Here’s a picture of the Billie V and my brother in sunnier, warmer times.


Hope to see you on the river in 2017. Better get out there quick – while you can – before the EPA is dissolved and the Clean Water Act is repealed.

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 Come join us on the river, BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat).

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