Lansing: the Industrial Side of the Grand

Tom writes . . . 

tom w mich pricess

The paddle wheeler Michigan Princess and Tom at Grand River Park

September 11, 2017, sixteen years after 9-11 – Lansing, Michigan

My brother Joe waxes wonderfully poetic – see his recent entry featuring Langston Hughes and Van Morrison – so it is my job, I suppose, to tell you about our actual paddling progress today.

We paddled through the city of Lansing, Michigan, our state capital, right in the center of the lower part of our state, from Grand River Park to the Lansing Northern Dam.

On the way, we had to stop, and drag our boat around Moore’s Dam. Two dams in the small city of Lansing. Two too many dams. Get rid of them, we say. Please let the Grand River flow.

power station on the grand

The Eckert Power Station at Moore’s Dam, just before a too-long portage.

Anyway, today, Joe told me about twenty-five times that this was NOT the prettiest river stretch we have seen. Dare I say, “duh?” We stopped at the first big dam for lunch. And, we ate great sopresseta sandwiches on French bread, sitting across the river from a power plant. This power plant had invasive plant growth all over it, and it had a big gap in its wall. Not a pretty river-side vista.

Continuing down river, Lansing has at least two huge parking structures right on its river banks. Huge ugly parking structures are not the best use of potentially lovely littoral real estate. Yikes.

A couple nice riverside developments give us some hope, though. I hope Joe will post a photo of the Lansing Market, which is retail plus residential, with nifty decoration. And, Lansing has a medium-size River Walk, on the right bank (editor’s note: walkers were observed on both sides of the river). Lansing is making an effort.

I just hate complimenting Joe, but he said another interesting thing: Today was the first day, in all our twenty or thirty days on the river, that we saw no herons. If you have read us, you know that we love the herons that guide us down the river, every day except today. We saw none. No herons. We missed them. We hope they will come back, farther downstream.

Joe adds . . . 

Good things Lansing is doing with its riverfront: good access to the river for watercraft of all kinds at Grand River Park; the river walk trail/walking paths on both sides of the river; some nice looking art and residential development not far upstream from Old Town.

new bldgs public art

Jazzy new buildings going up just upstream from Old Town, riverfront sculpture far left.

Where Lansing could do better: Portaging around Moore’s Dam is damn difficult. Take-out is decent on the upstream side but put-in is terrible on the downstream side. Yes, I know the water is low right now but more could be done to encourage through-paddling. And would it kill someone to clean the brush off the power station? Long-term: get the parking lots and the power stations off the river.

parking on the grand

There’s got to be a better use for prime riverfront real estate

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