LOAPC Event Schedule 2023  

* Wearing a properly fastened life jacket is mandatory while on the water during all Club activities.

* A liability waiver must be signed and on file annually.

* Bring the boat or equipment needed for the activity.

All trips will have coordination information posted on the Club Meetup page (registration required) prior to the activity with contact info.  Note that a few trips require more advance commitment due to ferry or lodging reservations needed.  Participants are responsible for having appropriate equipment and ability.  Non-members must sign a Club waiver prior to participation.

Sign up for trips at:  http://www.meetup.com/Lansing-Oar-and-Paddle-Club/

General information and schedules:  http://loapc.org/

LOAPC blog:  https://loapc.wordpress.com/

*Wearing a properly fastened Life Jacket is mandatory while on the water during all Club activities.

Jay Hanks (JH) – Recreation    

Loretta Crum (LC) – Recreation        

Tony Kuhlman (TK) – Recreation

Rich Bailey (RB) – Recreation, Open Water    

Steve Lidia (SL) – Open Water

Linda Savage (LS) – Open Water      

George Stockman (GS) – White Water        

Todd Leigh (TL) – White Water

Mar 18-19 Float the Au Sable River

  21       Club Meeting – “Western Whitewater” by Kathleen Imre at Jimmy’s Pub, East Lansing

         25       Exploration at Sleepy Hollow State Park—Paddle (RB)

April 1        Paddle Lake Ovid at Sleepy Hollow State Park (LC)

          1        Whitewater Practice on the Huron River (GS)

          12      Float the Looking Glass River—Babcock’s Landing (JH)

          18      Club meeting – “Hiking the Camino de Santiago” by Richard Godbold at Jimmy’s Pub, East Lansing

          19      Whitewater Practice on the Red Cedar River—Williamston (GS)

          29      Paddle up to 50 miles on the Grand River – Hugh Heward Challenge – MGROW**

May 5-7      Float the Cedar River in Leelanau County (TK)

         7         Paddle Lake Ovid at Sleepy Hollow State Park (LC)

        13        Float the Grand River—Trestle Bridge to Onondaga (JH)

        16        Club meeting – Freestyle Canoeing with Lynn Dominguez – Location TBD

        18        Float the Grand River—Onondaga to Eaton Rapids (JH)

        24        Whitewater Practice on the Grand River – Weber Dam to Lyons (GS)

        27        11th Annual Memorial Day Paddle and Picnic – Location TBD (JH & LC)

        27-29   Whitewater – Memorial Day in Wisconsin—Class II/III (TL)

June            Weekly Monday night paddling on Lake Lansing

         9-11    Paddle the Chain of Lakes—Antrim County (TK)

10 City of Lansing River Clean Up (TBD)

         17       Float the Grand River – Eaton Rapids to Dimondale (JH)

         20       Club meeting and Kayak Instruction—Grand Ledge Jaycee Park

         21       Float the Grand River—Dimondale to Grand River Park (JH)

        23-25   Open Water Sea Kayaking and Camping—Lime Island in Chippewa County (LS)

July            Weekly Monday night paddling on Lake Lansing

        12        Float the Grand River—Grand River Park to Old Town (JH)

        22        Float the Grand River—Old Town to Grand Ledge (JH)

        29        Float the Grand River—Grand Ledge to Charlotte Highway (LC)

Aug            Weekly Monday night paddling on Lake Lansing

         5         Paddle Bruin Lake to Hell and Back (JH)

         12/13  Bike riding in the Lansing Area—one day (TK)

         15       Float the Red Cedar River—Harris Nature Center to Ferguson Park (JH)

         18-20 Open water on Lake Michigan – Fisherman’s Island State Park in Charlevoix County (RB)

Sept 2         11th Annual Labor Day Paddle and Picnic, Location TBD (JH & LC)

22 City of Lansing River Clean Up (TBD)

        30        Float the Red Cedar River—Williamston to Lansing (TBD)

Oct 7           Float the Grand River—Charlotte Highway to Portland (LC)

       13-16    Hike and Paddle the Jordan River Valley in Antrim County (RB)

       17         Club meeting – Annual Business Meeting and Elections at Jimmy’s Pub, East Lansing

       21         Float the Pine River—Day Trip (JH)

       22         Whitewater Practice on the Pine River—Peterson Bridge to Low Bridge (GS)

Nov 21        Club meeting – Hiking in Michigan with Tim Novak, DNR, at Jimmy’s Pub, East Lansing

        24        33rd Annual Turkey Float (JH)

Dec 19         Club Christmas party – Jimmy’s Pub, East Lansing

        21        30th Annual Solstice Float (JH)

All schedules may change.

* TBD – To be determined

** MGROW – Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds, mgrow.org

May Newsletter from the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

Greetings from the President

Upcoming Club Meetings and Presentations

On Tuesday May 16 at Jimmy’s Pub in East Lansing Lynn Dominguez will be presenting on “Freestyle Canoeing.”  You may have seen YouTube videos of canoes dancing on the water to music and wondered ‘how do they do that?’. Of course, you might have also thought ‘what’s the point of just going in circles?!’. If you would like the answers to those questions and any others that you might have about freestyle canoeing then join Lynn Dominguez, an ACA certified Freestyle Canoe Instructor to explore the art and science behind freestyle canoeing. Just be warned, freestyle can be addictive while adding some spice to your time on the water!

Memorial Day Saturday Paddle, Picnic and Swap Meet: 

On Saturday May 27 we will be out at Sleepy Hollow State Park.  Paddling begins at 10:00 am at the boat launch which is separate from the State Park entrance.  We will make a casual circuit of Lake Ovid, and then load the boats to go over to the East Picnic Area at noon.  At the pavilion we will provide a charcoal grill for you to cook any item for yourself, and please bring a dish to share if you are willing to participate in a side dish potluck.  At the same time, we will have a Club gear swap so bring anything you would like to sell or trade that pertains to outdoor recreation, concluding when folks are done eating and socializing around 2:00 pm. A State Recreation fee is required at both entrances.

Kayak Paddling Instruction: 

On Tuesday June 20 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm we will be presenting information on kayak paddling at the Jaycee Park in Grand Ledge in cooperation with the Grand Ledge District Library.  There will be folks from Sea Grant and the Coast Guard Auxiliary presenting in addition to us.  We will cover the basics of kayak safety and are planning on having a local kayak rental business on site for that evening so those attending have an opportunity to get out on the water.

Grand and Red Cedar Rivers Cleaning and Clearing Updates

The Michigan Waterways Stewards with Mike Stout have been actively planning efforts for the coming year on the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers.  You can read more about them by going to their website at MiWaterwaysStewards.org  There is work planned for June 8, 9, and 10, as well as September 22.  More information will be posted as it is announced. They are working to continue keeping these rivers clean and clear in cooperation with the City of Lansing Parks Department, Meridian Township, and the Rotary organizations along the river.  

Stay safe,
– Jay Hanks

2023 MGROW Hugh Heward Challenge Wrap-Up

MGROW held the 24th annual Hugh Heward Challenge on April 29, the traditional last Saturday in April. The weather the week before the event slowed down registrations, but we still had 59 registered paddlers on the water: 15 on the 50-mile, 26 on the Half Hugh, and 18 on the Quarter Hugh. Many non-paddling guests showed up at the takeout at the Verlen Kruger Memorial to join the festivities. The sun came out in the early afternoon, surprising everyone.

Some of the highlights on the 50-mile were two four-person canoe teams, and a number of racers from the Michigan Canoe Racing Association. LOAPC organized some of our members for the 25-mile and 12-mile stretches, along with many paddlers who self-shuttled.

The Village of Dimondale once again extended their hospitality to us by providing free camping at Lions Park so the 50-milers could launch at first light and get an early start. The Verlen Kruger Legacy project set up a special display of Kruger-built canoes in Portland.

The 4 p.m. awards ceremony featured the placing of the 2023 Verlen Kruger Award brick in the compass rose mosaic around the statue of Verlen. This year’s Award was announced at the Quiet Adventures Symposium. It went to Gary and Linda DeKock for their years of service to water-related charitable projects, including QAS and Water for People.

Loretta Crum received the 2023 Jim Woodruff Award, named for the founder of the Hugh Heward Challenge. Each year, this award brick is placed to honor someone who works behind the scenes to make sure the Hugh Heward event is a success.

For food, we tried something new this year: The Pizza Shop in Portland made deliveries all afternoon and supplied hot boxes that kept the food at just the right temperature. Snacks, fruit, beverages, and homemade desserts rounded out the food table.

We had a larger volunteer crew this year, including several LOAPC members. Everything ran smoothly and safely because of the generous people who pitched in. See you in 2024 for our 25th anniversary!

– Loretta Crum, MGROW Hugh Heward Challenge Coordinator

(Photos courtesy of Jay Hanks, Mark Thrasher, and Fred Cowles)

What Is Flotation and Why Do We Need It?

This spring I added a new item to my list of recommendations for the LOAPC recreational trips that I organize on Meetup: “Kayakers need flotation front and rear, either air bags or sealed bulkheads.”

I’m not sure whether this was the reason only three people signed up for my first Lake Ovid trip of the season on a fine spring day, but I shouldn’t have assumed everyone understood what flotation is or why you need it. You know what they say about a-s-s-umptions. So, here is everything you ever wanted to know about flotation but were afraid to ask.

Where’s the air?
Without some kind of trapped air in your boat, if it flips it will sink. How far it sinks will depend on how much trapped air you have – that’s flotation. Most inexpensive recreational kayaks have a touch of flotation here and there built into the boat construction: foam pillars, padded seats, inserts around the cockpit or at the tips, etc. If you flip in one of these kayaks, this minimal added buoyancy will allow it to float in a “swamped” condition, with the cockpit even with the water’s surface, like this:If the boat has NO flotation, it will simply sink to the bottom of the lake or river like a rock. I’ve seen this on a few home-built boats. You might want to take a look at your boat and determine, “where’s the air?”

A swamped rec kayak is very difficult to deal with if you’re more than a few dozen feet from shore. Check out this video of a pro instructor trying to get back in a swamped boat with minimal flotation (starts at 10:14)

Basically, you and your helpers have three choices:

  1. Dump it
  2. Pump it
  3. Tow it to shore (sometimes after #2)

1. Dump it
Dumping a swamped rec boat on the water is really hard! At 8.4 pounds per gallon of water, a swamped rec kayak with minimal flotation can weigh 300 pounds or more.

This article suggests it’s possible, but the boat in the photo has bulkhead flotation in the rear, and the rescuer is sitting in another rec boat to take advantage of its stability. The average paddler wouldn’t be able to do this for a boat with minimal flotation. If you can stand on the river or lake bottom, or can get there, dumping becomes feasible, but do it carefully. I’ve seen these boats crack if they’re not emptied slowly.
2. Pump it
OK, you’re floating in deep water (wearing a life vest, right?) with a swamped kayak, surrounded by helpful paddlers in their boats. The date is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so you’re not cold and at risk for hypothermia, and your friends have hand pumps, which look like this:

The NRS/Perception or Beckson bilge pumps move 8 gpm. I’ve carried one on my back deck for years and have had to use it just enough times to make sure I always have it. Get two paddlers pumping, and in 10-15 minutes they can remove enough water to get your cockpit up out of the water and get you back in. That’s not great when the water is cold, but it allows you to paddle to shore to finish up.

3. Tow it
After pumping, depending on how much water is left, you might want a tow assist. Keep in mind that a half-swamped boat will be tippy. Towing is possible with a fully swamped boat, but It’s like pulling a rock, especially with you in the boat. It’s best to partially pump and re-enter the boat before you get a tow.

All about bulkheads
The best type of flotation is bulkheads. These are one or two sealed chambers in the front and/or rear of your boat with removable hatch cover(s). Front and rear bulkheads cost extra and are usually found on kayaks14 feet or longer (one 10 foot model, the Eddyline Sky 10, has two). Even if they leak a bit (which is common), a bulkhead will keep your kayak from swamping. That means another paddler can give you a “T-rescue” on the water and get you back into your boat.

If you have hatch covers, make sure they are correctly positioned and closed in order to be watertight.  Often hatch covers have some underlying neoprene or rubber waterproof cover that needs to be put in place to make the hatch watertight and provide flotation.  And, if you have an old boat with leaky hatches, well, there’s no reason you can’t just put flotation right inside the hatches.

As mentioned above, a single bulkhead is better than none. My rec boat has one in the rear, but I still use a float bag in the front to make it twice as buoyant. Which brings us to…

Bag it!
If your kayak doesn’t have bulkheads, you need one or two air bags. These can be purchased at paddling shops or online. I like NRS gear because it’s cheap and durable, and several local shops buy their stuff and stock it in-store. They come in different sizes, and you should use the size that fits best in your boat.

To install, inflate the bag about 20 percent, stuff it into the bow or stern, and push it into the space with your hand while you finish blowing it up. Be sure to test your installation by tugging on it to make sure it won’t come out underwater. Bags behind a seat or movable footrest should stay put. If it seems loose, secure it in place with cord (short to avoid tangling you up) or another method. After you paddle, be sure to “burp” a bit of air out so it doesn’t rupture if parked in the hot sun, or you can remove it entirely so it doesn’t blow out on the road.

More gear, more money. For a cheap solution, look at water toys like beach balls and other inflatable or foam stuff. Again, make sure this stuff stays put where you jam it. Anything that holds air and takes up space where water would go if you flip is going to help you and help the folks you paddle with.

I haven’t touched on canoes. There are several techniques for emptying a swamped canoe while you’re in the water and getting back in. Sit-on-top kayaks have built-in flotation and can easily be re-entered, so they don’t have the same issues that sit-in kayaks do.

This is the first year I’ve started recommending flotation on my trips, so don’t hesitate to message me if you have questions. I usually bring a couple of extra float bags to lend out while I get folks accustomed to the idea. This isn’t a club-wide policy like life vests are, so some trip leaders might not require flotation. LOAPC Open Water and Whitewater trips require special equipment, skills, and pre-trip clearance, including mandatory front and rear flotation.

I’ve heard it said that rec kayaks are so wide and difficult to flip that flotation isn’t an issue, but increasingly I’m seeing narrower, tippier hull designs that still lack flotation in one or both ends. For me, flotation is part of the “sooner or later you will swim” philosophy that makes for safer paddling. Some paddling clubs have strict rules about this, even for recreational paddlers, but for now my motto is “progress, not perfection.”

– Loretta Crum, Recreation Committee Co-Chair
(Thanks to Todd Leigh and Linda Savage for review and edits)

Copyright © 2023 Lansing Oar and Paddle Club, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

PO Box 26254

Lansing, Mi 48910

March – April Newsletter from the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

Greetings from the President

I hope you had the opportunity to attend the 28th Annual Quiet Adventures Symposium in person at the MSU Pavilion on Saturday, March 4.  After two years of online presentations, it was a true joy to mix and mingle with our fellow paddlers again.

It was a joy to see so many folks despite the “traditional” Friday evening snowstorm.  Seeing so many people I had not spoken to in person for a while was especially enjoyable.  The ebb and flow of the crowds in and out of the meeting rooms and exhibit floor was not unlike the rhythms we encounter outdoors.  Despite being able to see every presentation the past two years virtually, I was back to having to choose which one I wanted to see the most.  It was a pleasant choice.

Thank you to the entire Quiet Water Society Board, and especially to Cynthia Donovan who did a fabulous job, and as far as I could tell, never stopped smiling.

Congratulations also to Gary and Linda De Kock, our 2023 Verlen Kruger Award recipients, and Joe Lessard, with our 2023 Stacy Smith Outstanding Volunteer Award recognition.

2023 LOAPC Activity Schedule

Our plans for 2023 have been solidified as much as possible at this early date.  More activities will be added, and a few may change depending on interest and circumstances at that time.  The WordPress link also provides access to our online archive of newsletters and past schedules:  LOAPC Event Schedule 2023   | LOAPC blog (wordpress.com)

Grand and Red Cedar Rivers Cleaning and Clearing Updates

The Michigan Waterways Stewards with Mike Stout have been actively planning efforts for the coming year on the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers. They are working to continue keeping these rivers clean and clear in cooperation with the City of Lansing Parks Department, Meridian Township, and the Rotary organizations along the rivers. You can read more by going to their website at:  www.MiWaterwaysStewards.org

Upcoming Club Meetings and Presentations
On Tuesday March 21 at Jimmy’s Pub in East Lansing Kathleen Imre will share information, stories, and photographs about her rafting trip through the Dinosaur National Monument. Kathleen rafted for 6 days over 72 miles in May 2022, on the Yampa and Green Rivers. Ninety percent of the Dinosaur National Monument is designated as a Wilderness Area, and the Yampa River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Colorado River Basin. The trip leader is a friend of Kathleen’s and invited her to be a passive boater on this non-commercial trip. It was a chance of a lifetime, and at the peak of a very short rafting season!
On Tuesday April 18 Rich Godbold will be giving a presentation on hiking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.  More information will be posted on our Meetup site.
Friends of the Looking Glass River Cleaning and Clearing Plans
If you’ve never joined us for a clean-up, it’s a great way to explore new parts of the river while keeping it clean! Locations for the fall clean-up are still to be determined based on the area of the river needing the most attention. Find the times and locations on Facebook at Friends of the Looking Glass River | Facebook.
•          The Spring clean-up float is scheduled for May 7th, 2023
•          The Summer clean up float is scheduled for July 16th, 2023
•          The Fall clean up float is scheduled for August 27th , 2023

Stay safe,
– Jay Hanks

MGROW Hugh Heward Challenge April 29, 2023
The Hugh Heward Challenge is back for 2023.  The paddling event on the Grand River that retraces a part of the historical route of British explorer Hugh Heward will take place on Saturday, April 29.

Open to all paddlers, the event reenacts a one-day, 50mile sprint down the Grand River once completed by Hugh and his French-Canadian crew in two birch-bark canoes on April 24, 1790.  Over the years, the Challenge has evolved to include paddlers comfortable with shorter distances, offering a 25 mile “Half Hugh” (Grand Ledge to Portland), and a 13 mile “Quarter Hugh” (Charlotte Highway Bridge to Portland).  The event ends at Thompson Field in Portland, where paddlers can swap stories and enjoy the fellowship of other paddlers. The fee is $15 with pre-registration online (opening March 20), or $20 cash walk-up the day of the event. Learn more on MGROW’s website.

For several years, LOAPC has supported the event by posting the Half and Quarter Hugh routes as LOAPC trips on our Meetup site so we can paddle together as a group and set shuttle. Look for our Meetup postings at the end of March.

Michigan historian and topologist Jim Woodruff learned about Heward’s journey and wrote extensively on the subject.  In 2000, in the run-up to Grand River Expedition 2000, Woodruff challenged his friend, canoeing legend Verlen Kruger, and the entire mid-Michigan paddling community to match Heward’s 50-mile feat.  Kruger accepted the challenge and invited others to join; the Hugh Heward Challenge was born.

Well Loved Canoes
These two well-loved, and to some eyes a bit abused, canoes were on display at the 2023 Quiet Adventures Symposium.

1990 Sawyer CruiserThis well-loved Sawyer Cruiser was purchased with our wedding money in 1990. It was an absolutely gorgeous canoe on display at Raupp Campfitters. We brought her home and spent many days enjoying what is one of the sweetest paddling tandem canoes ever designed. But, over time, like many marriages she has seen some hard times. Some hard times yes, but again, like many marriages, has been patched up and still paddles like one of the sweetest paddling tandem canoes ever designed.

Look inside and you can see patches along both chines. Too many trips through the lowlands and over downed trees (probably shouldn’t have tried that one on the AuSable on a February overnight trip though) cracked both sides but some fiberglass & epoxy took care of it. Back by the stern though is a different story. An extended family trip on the Jordan with the water high after a storm almost was the end of her. Two inexperienced paddlers in a quick twisty river led to the stern paddler bailing out and the cruiser’s stern caught between two cedars while the bow paddler was still in the cane with the bow in fast water. I was out of my canoe and heading towards the shipwreck when I heard the sound of cracking fiberglass. Patching the glass wasn’t too bad but it took a while to get the gunwale as straight as I could. Still though you get her on the water, and she paddles like a dream.

2004 Nova Craft Prospector
Not long after the shipwreck of the Cruiser I went looking for some replacement gunwales. I had success finding gunwales, but they were attached to a Green R-Lite Nova Craft Prospector. While those gunwales didn’t fit the Cruiser, they were fine on the Prospector and there was a plan. There were trips coming up that weren’t right for the Cruiser but were for the new canoe. The White in Ontario the next summer was a part of the plan. But before that there was the Goulais. Our new Prospector came home on Saturday, left for Canada on Wednesday, launched on the Goulais on Thursday morning, and within a half an hour was being dragged down a slightly damp waterfall. Water isn’t needed for a canoe trip. Just a good attitude.

No real harm done other than cosmetic … and maybe a few family concerns about a BRAND-NEW canoe coming home looking 10 years old. And still, this canoe has kept us safe and (mostly) dry in the rapids on the White & Missinaibi and in 2 foot + swell on Lake Superior and lakes heading into the Missinaibi drainage.

– Richard Bailey

Planning Ahead

As you’re planning your spring trips, here is a list of the top 10 list of things you might want to bring paddling with you.
1 – a boat – duh!
2 – paddle – for moving the boat
3 – life jacket – in case the boat doesn’t float so well
4 – another boat – see item 3
5 – lake, river, or other body of water – what, you want to paddle on dry land?
6 – paddling buddy – fun shared is fun multiplied
7 – spare paddle – to whack the buddy, if they don’t work any better than the first boat
8 – snacks – to attract another buddy
9 – spray skirt – to keep your snacks dry
10 – map – to find your way back from wherever you went in the first place

– Tony Kuhlman, Recreation Co-Chair

Copyright © 2023 Lansing Oar and Paddle Club, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

PO Box 26254

Lansing, Mi 48910

Reflections on the Au Sable River Overnight

I feel the ASRO is always about solitude. As I am sitting here a week prior to embarkation I am alone. Alone in my thoughts, my plans, my lists, my expectations and my dreams.

No one was there when I first did this at 24 years of age in 1982, over 40 years ago. I had this idea of unexplored lands, a terra incognita, the near-sightedness of youth dreaming of distant horizons. I had half-formed images in my mind, and I liked them.

Now with 7 days to think about it again, it is still real. The thoughts, plans, lists, expectations, and dreams are deliciously real, and I almost feel this is the best part. What switch is flipped in the brain that changes an ordinary activity into something special?

Maybe it’s not the brain. My soul, the mind behind the mind, my heart; they all start feeling that familiar siren call. As Bilbo said, “I think I am quite ready for another adventure”.

Jay 3/10/23

The next day downstairs I am sorting through my stored gear and picking out what I need. There are all of the things I have used in the past, as well as those things I have never used. Every season has a different need, and I only want what I will use. I am a compulsive list-maker, and after returning from any trip I will always purge those items that were not needed. The exception is the first-aid kit, or maybe extra batteries, or…what if I didn’t use rain gear? You can’t toss everything.

Time to settle on the gear I do need. Not too much, not too little, but just right. And don’t leave out the stuff you would need to survive. This isn’t “Naked and Afraid” after all. Nothing is more satisfying then living well in the wilderness. Suffering is optional, but sometimes unavoidable nonetheless.

Jay 3/11/23

Monday. Tweaking the list and packing. Some items have to wait, like loading the canoe and food. Tuesday and Wednesday I will daydream of the coming weekend knowing all of the pre-trip “work” is done.

“Work” only in the mathematical definition of energy expended over time. When “they” pay you to do something, that’s work. When you pay “them” to do something, that’s entertainment. When you pay nobody and do it for yourself, that’s satisfaction.

Jay. 3/13/23

Today I get to look at photos from past trips. Then I just watch the weather, as if I can do anything about it. Winter is still hanging on!

Back in 2002 I was tarping a lot and sometimes used a homemade wood-burning stove. Pitching in the sun helps in the daytime, but the night still gets really cold.

Setting up near the river makes a classic photo, but any breezes will find their way down the river corridor. Setting up closer to the woods can sometimes be slightly warmer.

Other times it is just plain cold no matter what. We’ll see what happens on the weekend!

Jay 3/14/23

All ready to head north again. I will post an update when I return. New pictures and stories.

Jay 3/17/23

Well, I had to take a few days since the weekend is now over to collect my thoughts. I started this annual winter paddling trip in 1982, but I didn’t paddle in 2022, which would have been the 41st. Now I am not counting anymore. It’s just the Au Sable Weekend.

The screenshot from the weather service was the forecast as of Friday March 17. Here is the weather as it actually happened on the 18th while paddling:

The photo above was when it was nice on Saturday March 18. Bands of snow alternated with bursts of sunshine. It was nice to take pictures when it was sunny and you could relax a little bit. Other times it was just cold and windy, as you can see below.

We all got to camp ok, and somehow when everything is settled in and the fire is burning it just all gets cozy.

Yes, we pack everything down the river, but we keep it dry and we really don’t have a lot after all. The day fades into night and maybe you edge a little closer to the fire. At some point folks start wandering off to bed, and then it is the reality of crawling into your tent and listening to the coyotes sing you to sleep.

Morning comes and the magic of winter on display is worth the price of admission. This is what we came for.

See you next time…welcome to spring.

Jay 3/21/23

January – February 2023 Newsletter LOAPC

Message from the President

The winter solstice is behind us along with the shortest day of the year.  Even with winter stretching out before us we can find encouragement with the knowledge that the days are now gradually getting longer.  Yes, we will have cross-country skiing opportunities as well as a few paddling excursions in the next few months, but 2023 trip and activity planning is underway, so we look forward to another year out on the water, as well as hiking and cycling out and about Michigan.

The 28th Annual Quiet Adventures Symposium will return to the MSU Pavilion on Saturday March 4, 2023.  Folks from LOAPC have been actively recruited to help organize and plan with the QAS Board the final two months prior to the event.  It seems like you can’t do an announcement anymore without starting off with some form of acknowledgement of the fallout from the quarantines and restrictions of 2020 through 2022 that affected all our lives, but here we are on the doorstep again of another great Symposium.  Tell your friends and anyone who shares the same love of the outdoors as you do to come on out and enjoy the show. Click the following link to the Quiet Water Society for more information.
Our presentation schedule at our Club meetings for the first part of 2023 is as follows:

  • Tuesday January 17: “Kayaking the Great Lakes” with Mike Stout
  • Tuesday February 21: “Kayaking and Camping Isle Royale” with Rich Bailey
  • Tuesday March 21: “Western Whitewater” with Kathleen Imre
  • Tuesday April 18: “Hiking in Michigan” with Tim Novak from DNR

All our meetings are at Jimmy’s Pub in East Lansing at 7:00 pm, and you will find additional information on our website Lansing Oar and Paddle Club (Lansing, MI) | Meetup.

– Jay Hanks, president

White Pine Campground on the Au Sable River in Michigan in February

Quiet Adventures Symposium March 4, 2023

The leadership of our local quiet sports are working hard to pull together the Quiet Adventures Symposium in record time. The symposium will be held at the MSU Pavilion on Saturday, March 4, 9:00 am – 5:30m pm. Volunteers will be needed to make this year’s symposium a success. Please keep your calendars open and say yes when called to help. Check the Quiet Adventures Symposium website often for updates.

Ticket prices have been set. Advance tickets are $15 through February 28 and will soon be available online.  General admission tickets at the door will be $20, students with ID will be $5, and children under 12 years of age will be free.

Advance ticket holders will enter at a special check-in desk for a speedy entry when the entire group has purchased their tickets in advance. As always, parking at the MSU Pavilion will be free of charge for all of you. After two years of virtual symposiums, we are thrilled to be BACK … BIGGER, BETTER.  Adventure! Find It! 

LOAPC Volunteers Needed for the Quiet Adventures Symposium
As one of the founding organizations for the Quiet Water Symposium a couple of decades ago, we are proud of the development and the recent rebranding of the event to be more inclusive with its recent name change to the Quiet Adventures Symposium. LOAPC has contributed consistently on the planning and implementation of the plan on the day of the event.

In 2020, the last live event, we had attendance of close to 2,000. Due to COVID, the event was held virtually for the past two years which shows how passionate we are for our sports. Quiet Adventures Symposium is being reborn and resurrected in person this coming March 4 at MSU Pavilion.  This year’s event is expanding into multiple non-motorized recreation presentations and receiving great interest and support from speakers.

The QAS needs your help. It’s a rewarding experience to be part of the symposium, and volunteers get in free! The 2020 volunteer crew is no longer available due to retirements.

Currently we need people for the

  • planning committee / speaker selection,
  • marketing,
  • floor layout,
  • inventory management of signs and materials,
  • financial gate supervisors,

and more roles for which LOAPC members would be a great fit.

At the March 4th event, we’ll need people to

  • setup on Friday, March 3
  • be the contact for exhibitors and presenters,
  • staff the raffle,
  • staff information tables,
  • staff the front gate for admissions.

Get updated information on how you can help by contacting Pat Harrington at volunteer@quietwatersociety.org or his cell 517.202.0812

“Paddling Our Great Lakes” by Mike Stout at January 17 LOAPC Meeting

Mike Stout, MSU Spartan, Lansing resident and new LOAPC member, will be our guest speaker at 7:00 on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at Jimmy’s Pub, 16830 Chandler Road, East Lansing. He will be sharing stories and photography from his Great Lake crossings.

Mike is a long-distance solo-paddler, having paddled over 6,200 miles since 2016. He began paddling on the Minnesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix Rivers while living in Minnesota.  Paddling 40-60 miles a day, or over 100 miles on overnight trips, was routine for Mike.

On his journeys, he has experienced thunderstorms, been chased by tornados, pummeled by hail, blanketed in snow, challenged by hypothermia, baked by the sun, and hit by a boat. Mike has flipped his boat in shallow rapids, been knocked over by overhanging branches (sweeper) and narrowly escaped being tragically held underwater in a debris field (strainer).

He has solo paddled across Lake Michigan a record six times, three times during a period of 33 days. Mike has paddled the Straits of Mackinac, tapping the bridge columns as he passed beneath the Mackinac Bridge. He has also paddled across Lake Superior.

If you wish to learn more about Mike’s paddling experiences, visit TheNorthlandAdventurer and come to the January LOAPC meeting.

The Importance of Safely Tying Your Boat to Your Vehicle

Many boaters have a “close call” story to tell around the campfire about traveling with their canoe or kayak.  I remember crossing the Mackinac Bridge in high winds with a canoe secured with a foam block system.  Buffeted by gusts, the straps loosened and the canoe began to move side to side.  One by one the foam blocks failed.  During that endless crossing it seemed sure our canoe would end up sailing over the side into the straits or worse, like the following recent incident near us:

“October 23, 2022.  SENEY, Mich. (WLUC) – One person is dead after a car crash involving a kayak on Sunday afternoon in Schoolcraft County. Troopers from the Manistique Outpost responded to the crash on M-28 near mile marker 203 in Seney Township. The MSP says a Chevrolet pickup was heading east.  A Honda passenger car was traveling west carrying a kayak on the roof. The Honda was driven by a 58-year-old man from Wisconsin. The kayak and roof rack came loose as the vehicles approached and the rack struck the oncoming Chevrolet pickup. The roof rack pierced the windshield and struck the driver, killing him. The victim’s wife was in the truck and not injured. The kayak struck a third vehicle, causing damage but no injuries. The driver of the Honda was not injured. The crash remains under investigation and will be forwarded to the Schoolcraft County Prosecutor for review once completed. Troopers were assisted by Alger County Sheriff’s Office, Seney First Responders, and Alger County EMS. A portion of M-28 was closed during this investigation.”

Reporters and responders do not tell us the one simple thing the driver did or did not do that may have prevented this accident, so let’s review the main points of safe travel with your boat on the roof of your vehicle.

First, you must have a good quality rack system that is properly attached to the vehicle, and is suitable and adequate for the type of boat.  Even a foam block system is fine, if properly secured.

Check over, and throw away those old frayed straps and lines – use good quality rope or straps, in good condition.  

When securing the boat to the rack, observe the shape of your boat carefully to ensure that it cannot slip forward or backward, or move side to side – prevent “pumpkin seeding”.  Downward friction alone is not sufficient to keep lines in place.  Know your knots or cam strap system – practice ahead of time.

When you make a rest stop during travel, always take a minute to check your boat is still secure.  

Even if this is done, most racks will fail in an accident.  Even during ordinary travel, current high posted speeds place great demands on rack systems.  I imagine that Honda in the Seney incident traveling across the UP from Wisconsin, getting buffeted over and over by approaching and passing logging trucks and semis, until something gave way.  Therefore, in addition to securing your boat to the rack, regardless of the rack type, it is essential that all boats be tied down to the vehicle itself, bow and stern, with straps or good quality rope.  The points of attachment on the vehicle need to be structural, providing attachment to the frame of the vehicle – for example, don’t tie off to a plastic bumper.  Points of attachment on the boat need to be sturdy and fixed, such as a good grab loop, firmly attached static deck line (not the bungies), or structural thwart.  This simple fail-safe may have prevented with outcome of the Seney accident.

Fortunately, we did not lose our canoe or cause an accident during that scary bridge crossing.  Bow and stern lines alone were enough to keep the canoe from falling off the car.  Multiple points of attachment are essential, to provide back up in the case of a failure.  Properly securing your rack to the vehicle, your boat to the rack, and the whole system to the vehicle, will get you to the put-in safely.

–  Linda Savage and Todd Leigh

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Our mailing address is:

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

PO Box 26254

Lansing, Mi 48910

November – December Newsletter LOAPC


Message from the President

Our November meeting is on Tuesday, November 15 at 7:00 pm at Jimmy’s Pub in East Lansing.  I will be giving a presentation on a canoe trip we took to Obatanga Provincial Park in Ontario in 2004.  It has not been presented in its entirety in the past, and it was a beautiful trip.  I will also be giving updates on it and other Parks in Ontario.

Check our Meetup site next month for updates on our December 20 presentation at the same venue.

We had a great paddling trip to the Platte and Boardman Rivers on the weekend of October 20-23.  Many Club members were in attendance, with 20 folks paddling on Saturday.  We had wonderful water levels and fantastic weather; I can’t imagine anything being any better. Although the days are getting shorter, we had plenty of time to paddle and enjoy each other’s company back in camp.  We could have easily spent even more time if we had taken in all the hiking and biking possibilities as well, including visiting wineries and brew pubs.

We have our annual Turkey Float the Friday after Thanksgiving on the Huron River, as well as our Solstice Float in December on the Grand River.  Our annual New Year’s Day Float on the Red Cedar River will have two launch times on Sunday January 1st depending on paddler’s availability during the day.

As we spend the coming holidays with our families and friends, never lose sight of the fact that even though we are a paddling club, people are the reason that we come together to share our love for rivers and lakes, hills and mountains, sun and snow.

All the best,  
– Jay Hanks, president

Save the Date – Quiet Adventures Symposium March 4, 2023

After two years of virtual symposiums, we are thrilled to be BACK … BIGGER, BETTER.

The Quiet Adventures Symposium is Mid-Michigan’s largest, longest running indoor expo, dedicated to promoting non-motorized outdoor recreation and conservation. With momentum increasing to return to healthful outdoor adventures, next year’s event is expected to be greater than ever.Our guests are actively seeking the latest in news, trends, and equipment. Many wish to learn or to be entertained by special exhibitors. And of course, inspiring messaging from our guest speakers is always a big draw.

So, mark your calendars now. Visit quietwatersociety.org often for links to applications, registrations, volunteer signups and more. We hope you join us on Saturday, March 4, 2023! We would love to have there you as an exhibitor, guest speaker, or valued sponsor.

Michigan Waterways Stewards Group Created

Mike Stout has started a new group to focus on continuing to clear trash out of our local rivers and creating a dialogue with local authorities on those areas of the river that they are responsible for keeping clear.  The first cleanup date has been set for Thursday, November 10, on the Grand River in Old Town, with a 9 a.m. launch from Tecumseh Park. You can view more detailed information on his website:  https://www.miwaterwaysstewards.org.

The legacy of improving the water quality in the Grand River was begun by our late Verlan Kruger and Grand River Expeditions 1990, 2000, and 2010.  This resulted in the subsequent creation of the Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds https://www.mgrow.org.  It is encouraging to see Mike take on the coordination of the many public and private organizations that are responsible for obstructions in our riverways, which then collect floating debris.

All progress in environmental improvement takes place due to the leadership of a few individuals who are passionate about their dreams.  We look forward to supporting Mike’s efforts to bring folks together to help manage the cleanliness and navigability of our local rivers.  Watch for announcements on Meetup Lansing Oar and Paddle Club for the upcoming dates and times Mike has determined for working on the river.

– Jay Hanks

A Fall Paddle

Dennis slid the canoe off his boat trailer and set it on the grass beside the launch.  He reached into the back of his truck and came out with a paddle and a life jacket, which he set into the boat.  Next came a day pack and a square cushion for the seat.  He pulled the canoe and his gear away from the road a few feet and drove the truck away from the launch to the parking area.  Before getting out, he dropped his baseball cap on the dash and grabbed the Tillie hat on the passenger seat.  The truck beeped as he locked it and walked to the boat. 

Dennis lashed the day pack to a thwart, donned the life jacket, and pulled the boat to the water’s edge.  The lake was calm this morning.  This late in the season, most of the power boats were already covered in blue shrink wrap and put away until spring.  The few die-hard fishermen were probably waiting for the warmer afternoon to go out, he thought. 

Dennis pushed off from shore, getting one shoe only a little wet.  “It was worth it”, he said to himself.  The chance to paddle on an empty lake on a bright fall day was too much to resist.  The sky was bright blue, the leaves on the shore were shading from orange to red to yellow, with a duplicate version reflecting from the water.  He knew there were a ton of those leaves coating his lawn at home but decided they could wait another few hours.  How many more days like this would come along?

Heading west, he skimmed past a row of cottages.  After that he paddled past a farmer’s field of corn, waiting to be harvested.  He knew the farmer was the 4th generation to work that land.  For years, real estate people and builders had asked if he would sell, saying that field could pay for his kid’s educations, and his retirement as well, but the man had resisted.  The first member of the 5th generation was already learning to drive the tractor, and two more members were waiting for their chance.  Farm kids learn that sort of thing early.

Past the field was a block of woods.  This was also part of the farm.  There were a few trees on shore that had fallen into the water, and Dennis had seen fishermen trying their luck near them.  Maybe he would come back with his gear yet this season if he had the chance.

About a mile from the launch, at the far end of the narrow lake, Dennis set his paddle in the bottom of the canoe and took a sandwich and a Thermos of coffee from the day pack.  The boat floated easily as he ate.  A flock of about 20 geese passed overhead in a ragged V formation.  “There may be better places to eat lunch”, he thought, “but just now, I can’t think of where that would be”.

Tony Kuhlman, Recreation Co-Chair

Copyright © 2022 Lansing Oar and Paddle Club, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

PO Box 26254

Lansing, Mi 48910

October Newsletter 2022

Message from the President

Our October Business Meeting is on Tuesday October 18 at 7:00 pm at Jimmy’s Pub in East Lansing:  https://www.meetup.com/lansing-oar-and-paddle-club/events/288481725/.  We will be talking about our past and future activities as well as electing officers for 2023.

The Club started in 1987 and our By-Laws require one Business Meeting a year to review what we have been doing and elect officers.  Since the beginning we have not burdened the membership with long procedural meetings and instead have provided a social gathering and education and entertainment on all things outdoors.  We have also worked on promoting safe and responsible paddling and environmental conservation.  It is our continued mission to do so, and for that part we are actively looking for folks to give presentations on the interesting things they have been doing recently.

We have had all kinds of presentations in the past on paddling rivers and lakes, camping, outdoor skills, and all kinds of travel, including bicycling and backpacking.  If you would like the opportunity to stand up and talk about a trip you did and share your pictures with us, we would be glad to hear from you.  I can be emailed at witewtr58@aol.com, or messaged on Meetup.

I have compiled a list of all the presentations that have been made as part of the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club since January 2008, and will be posting it on our WordPress site https://loapc.wordpress.com/ later in October as an archive, although the Club has been making presentations for the past 36 years.  It is impressive to look at all of the people and places that we have been involved with during that time.

See you there,
 – Jay Hanks, President, LOAPC

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club Election of Officers 2023:
President:  Jay Hanks              Vice President:  Rich Bailey
Secretary:  Loretta Crum        Treasurer:  Joe Lessard

Chair positions:
Recreation Committee:       Loretta Crum and Tony Kuhlman 
Whitewater Committee:      Todd Leigh and George Stockman
Open Water Committee:      Linda Savage and Steve Lidia
Communication Committee:  Kate Lederle
Power Paddlers Committee:  open
Rowing Committee:  open
Grand River Expedition Committee:  Jay Hanks

The Williamston Rapids Will Rise Again
The man-made whitewater course in downtown Williamston has always had the potential to be a local boating destination. There was a lot of buzz in the paddling community when it was built around 1998, and for a few years it was used regularly by local paddlers and even folks as far away as Ann Arbor. Then the project ran out of money and was fenced off. There it sat for 20 years, a curiosity and a place for the occasional boater who faced a fence climb at the end of their run.

A few years ago, the City of Williamston got serious about making their downtown riverfront area more attractive to the public. They obtained substantial grant funding to build a paved trail along the riverbank, plant shade trees and native vegetation, and improve river access. The unsightly wire fence along the whitewater course was torn out, replaced by an attractive post-and rail safety fence with a gap at the bottom of the rapids for exiting. Observation decks jut out over the riverbank with picnic tables so people can enjoy a view of the river with their lunch.

During all this planning, no one quite knew what do with the whitewater course, but the City was enthusiastic and open to ideas. In spring 2022, John Bollman from the Friends of the Red Cedar approached LOAPC for advice on how to reopen the rapids to paddlers and make it a local destination again. I walked the course with him in May, and John explained what he had in mind. I suggested he also contact Trey Rouss from The Power of Water for input. Over the summer, John drew up a plan for the course with a modest funding request and presented it to the City. It was approved, and we were off to the races.

On September 30, I went back to the rapids with John and Trey. This time we brought our boats, although the water level was only 26 cfs that day. After we finished scouting the course, Trey ran the rapids first. “I’m surprised at how good the rapids look, even with the water this low,” he remarked. Indeed the course has held up amazingly well for being built 24 years ago, with several major floods in those years. Unlike many dam abatement projects, this one was designed by a hydro engineer from out West who had built other whitewater courses. The local liaisons were Rich Whale, an expert whitewater paddler who now lives in Utah, and the late Ed Noonan, a Williamston attorney who handled negotiations with the City and kept the project on track. Keeping a portion of the mill pond intact for those with property along the waterfront was important to the City, and once they were assured of that, they ultimately went along with Rich and Ed on several important points.

Above: the second rapid at 160cfs in May 2022. Below: bottom rapid at 26cfs in September

The result is a real whitewater course. The five weirs are built with large and small boulders, angled downstream to keep pinning risks to a minimum. The top drop is a center slot, while the next three rapids follow a left-right zig-zag pattern. The final rapid is another center slot with a lot of water pouring through it for a great bounce to end the run. To go back up, exit river left at the path leading up the riverbank and carry your boat or use wheels to go back to the put-in. If you’ve had enough fun for the day, you can float down to the new boat launch on river left a half mile downstream facing Grand River Avenue.

John, Trey, and I talked about the importance of having whitewater opportunities in our community for instruction and recreation. Trey is an expert boater, but he enjoys playing on some of the small waves and eddies on the Grand River. I recalled driving to work with my boat on my car and stopping at Williamston after 5 p.m. to meet other paddlers and play in the eddies to unwind after a day at the office. Whitewater doesn’t have to be a hair-raising adventure. It can be a meditation, and for a beginner, a way to build skill and confidence.

We’ve had many conversations about safety. Controlling access to the rapids was never part of the plan. Signage at upstream launches will let people know what they’re getting into if they choose the left channel and run the rapids. Most casual users will choose the portages if they’re well marked and easy to use. Human nature is what it is, but we as paddlers can still do our best to educate the public and set a good example by modeling proper equipment.

Talks have been ongoing between the City, Williamstown Township, and the the Friends of the Red Cedar grassroots group about developing a water trail along the Red Cedar from M-52 to the confluence with the Grand River in Lansing. The City and Township have been a model of cooperation between municipalities to achieve a greater goal, and in September 2022 a boat launch was completed at a bend in the Red Cedar with a parking lot on Grand River. The Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds (MGROW) has provided a model water trail plan to be used when the group applies for official designation, as well as mapping and a design for signage to be installed when funding permits. More information on the Red Cedar Water Trail will be upcoming in a future newsletter.

New canoe and kayak launch with parking lot on Grand River just west of Williamston.

If you go, you don’t have to buy specialized equipment—you can have fun running the course in a recreational kayak or canoe.

  • Hull scratches are guaranteed, so rotomolded plastic (the thick, waxy-textured type) is preferred over thin, brittle polycarbonate. Royalex canoes are more appropriate than Kevlar. A high-quality inflatable raft or kayak (puncture-resistant) is a great choice for whitewater. Wood boats and folding kayaks aren’t a good idea.
  • Flotation in the form of either sealed bulkheads, or inflatable float bags, is important on any paddling trip, and more so in rapids
  • Wear your life vest (important on any paddling trip)
  • Know how to exit your boat if you flip, and practice first on flatwater
  • A helmet is strongly recommended for running the course, and if you have a kayak with a tight cockpit and thighbraces, it’s a must. A hockey helmet is a cheap alternative to a whitewater helmet and can be bought used. Bike and ski helmets aren’t made for immersion so be prepared to throw yours away if you wear it and swim
  • Leave a float plan with someone on dry land
  • Every whitewater boat has a sticker that says, “Get proper instruction.” The Power of Water is the only local shop offering whitewater classes, and their support is an important part of this project.

– Loretta Crum, Secretary and Recreation Committee Co-Chair

Winter Pool Sessions in the Lansing Area
Pool classes are a good way to break up the winter months and are the best way to learn the kayak roll in warm water with support from a friend or instructor. Note: I am acquainted with everyone on this list, but please do your own due diligence regarding dates, times, instruction, instructor certification, cost, and facility requirements.

Haslett High School Pool – starts in November. Leigh Braatz, 517-420-0393.  Email braatzhomes@gmail.com

The Power of Water
Contact info here

Howell: Fridays 6:30 – 8:30

Eaton Rapids: Saturdays 1:00 – 3:00

“Happiness Upside Down” course:

Howell: 12/2, 1/6, 2/3, 3/3, 4/7

Eaton Rapids: 12/3, 1/7, 3/4

– Loretta Crum

Copyright © 2022 Lansing Oar and Paddle Club, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

PO Box 26254

Lansing, MI 48910

September 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from the President:

I hope that all of you have had a great summer of paddling canoes, kayaks, rafts, and paddleboards; or whatever you could do to get outside. There have been lots of opportunities this summer with great weather for most of the time, but I am looking forward to the fall and the unique conditions that another season gives us.

LOAPC has maintained an archive of our newsletters and articles on our WordPress blog at https://loapc.wordpress.com/ If you do not already have access to the site, you can create your own login following their directions.  Archives go back to August 2007, and you will find all kinds of interesting articles.  You can register to receive notifications whenever the blog is updated.

This summer I had the opportunity to lead several daytrips during the normal work week in the Lansing area. I intend to include these day trips in the 2023 paddling season.  The trips are an offshoot of the Grand River Experience, as this is the second year that a succession of daytrips has taken me down the length of the Middle Grand River. Next year there will be more opportunities, and a continued presence downtown along the waterfront. Internationally, this would be an amazing outing for those wishing to go paddling in France:

Above: Pont d’Arc, Gorges de l’Ardèche, France, July 2021. Photograph: Natacha de Mahieu

Environmental Update:  Didymo, or rock snot as it is unaffectionally called, has now been discovered on the Boardman River near Shumsky’s Landing.  State investigators and environmentalist are working on the extent of the problem, and you can read much more of the details here: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2022/08/rock-snot-spreads-into-second-river-in-michigans-lower-peninsula.html, and here:  https://www.traverseticker.com/news/what-does-didymo-discovery-mean-for-boardman-river/.  For the record, rock snot only looks like snot, but  is woolly to the touch.  Irregardless, it is an invasive species, and my biggest concern is the spread into other Michigan rivers, as nobody knows exactly how it showed up in the first place. Please wipe your boats down to remove all debris before launching into another river or lake.

Paddle safe wherever you go, – Jay Hanks, president

Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind: Campers Learn to Paddle Hawaiian-Style

During its 2022 summer’s camp, Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) teamed up with Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) for a 4-day kayaking adventure at the Apostle Islands. LOAPC paddlers met both these groups at previous Quiet Adventure Symposia. In the Apostle Islands eight sight challenged teens learned to paddle Eskimo-style in solo sea kayaks guided by CAT staff. They learned kayaking techniques and explored Lake Superior and some caves along the shore. On the way back to down state Michigan, the eight teens and seven staff stopped to visit Stockman’s retreat near Grayling and spent a morning team paddling two big canoes in Lake Margarethe.

Above: A dozen OUB campers and staff share a 24×24 garage floor to save time setting up and taking down their Covid-safe solo tents.

In 2016 I paddled and camped with OUB for five days on the Manistee – quite a memorable trip. Four members from that expedition were on this trip, one a former camper now graduated to staff. This time, we had only one day in Grayling. The goal was to have the campers experience team paddling in a big canoe Hawaiian-style. I spent a couple days clearing tent sites and paths for twenty Covid-safe solo tents, but only four tents were pitched. OUB arrival was delayed two hours, so the decision was to not take time to pitch and take down tents but sleep on the garage floor on mats to have more time to enjoy a festive meal of pizza and more at the campfire. The night was warm and most slept on top of their bags; the bugs were no problem; and a little thunder and lightning troubled no one. The cooks rose at 6:30 to get the French toast going and camper call was at 7:00. Two staff stayed at camp to make lunch and pack the trailer while the rest of us left for Lake Margarethe at 9:00.

It was already warm at 9:30 and the lake was still: no one else was at the swim beach on the west side of the lake. We unloaded the 20-foot Old Town XL Tripper and the 22-foot Chestnut Moose Hunter and carried them to the shallow water – a team effort. Next, some time to get each person a proper fitting life jacket and paddle. Then some instruction on how to hold a canoe paddle, how to pull or push on the water, and especially, how we would paddle in sync, not hitting those around us, and how we’d turn the boat. We would make two or three runs of about 20 minutes each, since not everyone could fit in the two boats. Two persons had seats in each boat, but the others would kneel on one knee.

Above: The beach and shoreline on the west side of Margarethe has shallow water and a nice sand bottom, making it easy to enter and exit a canoe from the water, and wade and keep cool while awaiting a turn at paddling.

I started with seven in the Moose Hunter, but we were unstable and backed up to just five. Staff member Robert was in the bow: although totally blind, he is an experienced whitewater paddler and had a strong smooth stroke. On a second run, a sighted staff member trained in the stern, and then took control of the boat on the third run, allowing me to get off my knee and rest. Captain Hal, founder of Running Blind controlled the XL Tripper. We stayed close together in case of a spill, which never happened. This segment of the lake is shallow with a nice sandy bottom making it a great place to experiment as we did. Most likely there would have been waves to deal with later in the day.

Back to camp at 12:30 we had sandwiches, song, and chatter. Then the clean-up and clear-out. Hal and Bennie stayed another hour to help put away the boats and trailers and do a little appraisal. We were all happy about the way the event turned out and most of the campers told us the same when leaving. The woods became silent and sleepy again, emptied of the human intricacies that just took place.  I hope we can do it again next year with both lake and river paddling and a few nights camping.

The Executive Director of OUB is Gwen Botting, ever planning and ever present on these adventures. See www.oubMichigan.org. The Executive Director and Founder of Running Blind is Hal Wolfe, an experienced expedition paddler, camper, and counselor. See www.runningblind.org. Andrea Knepper is the Founder and Executive Director of CAT and winner of The Verlen Kruger Award for her service. See https://www.chicagoadventuretherapy.org/

– George Stockman

Spotlight on the Grand River

LOAPC always includes several paddles on the Grand River on our annual trip list. We have three left for 2022 before the end of the warm weather paddling season. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy our beautiful local river, especially with the fall color season coming up. Visit our Meetup group to RSVP.

Saturday, September 17: Charlotte Highway to Portland (12 miles)

Meet at 10 a.m. at the put-in on the southwest corner of the Charlotte Highway bridge over the Grand River southeast of Portland, Michigan (see map). After running shuttle, we’ll launch around 11 am and paddle down to the takeout at the Kruger Memorial in Portland.

You’ll get to see one of the best stretches of the Grand River in the Portland State Game Area. The trip will take about 3 hours on the water, plus a short shuttle. We can make a rest/snack stop at the Erdman Road landing midway if folks need to stretch.

The water is slow but deep and wide on this stretch, so it’s appropriate for kayaks 10 feet and longer, or canoes. Stand-up paddleboarders and inflatable kayak owners should message the organizer before signing up. We paddle at cruising speed, about 3.3 mph, and we keep our paddles moving except during breaks. There are no restrooms at the put-in but we’ll visit one on our way back on the shuttle.

Saturday, September 24: Trestle Bridge to Baldwin Park, Onondaga

Join us at 9:00 am at the Trestle Bridge access off Dixon Road on the Grand River. We will run shuttle to Baldwin Park in Onondaga, and then launch for a day on the upper Grand.

There may be some obstructions and other adventure paddling during the day, but the majority of the river has been open in the past, albeit higher water levels. Be prepared.

Bring food and water as we will be stopping along the river for lunch.

Saturday, October 8: Portland to Webber Dam (10.6 miles)

It’s fall color tour time on beautiful Webber Pond on the Grand River. We’ll meet at the Kruger Memorial near Thompson Field in Portland. After running shuttle, we’ll paddle down to the takeout on the WEST side of Webber Dam.

This is a fairly easy trip with one portage around the Portland Dam. It will take about 4 hours of paddling plus a lunch stop at the portage before noon. Pack a lunch, water, and a change of dry clothes. The pond can get very windy. The organizer will cancel, postpone, or change the trip route if there’s thunder, heavy rain, or average wind speed higher than 13 mph.

Kayak Capsize Recovery Methods

Have you ever been out paddling and wondered just how you’re going to get back into your boat if you flip? It’s something to think about, especially with cold water season fast approaching. Here’s a list of helpful videos for rescue practice. Many are sea kayak-oriented, but the skills are important for any type of paddler.

Assisted Rescue
No Exit/T-Rescue using bow of rescuer’s kayak: How To: Do a Kayak T-Rescue
No Exit side rescue/Hand-of -God Rescue: The Hand of God – Sea Kayak Rescue Technique
Paddler re-enter from back deck/no paddle float including Heel Hook Technique (From The Power of Water) Sea Kayak T-Rescue: Deep Water Rescue

Paddler wet exits
Using Paddle Float from rear deck: Kayaking | How to Self-Rescue

Scramble or Cowboy Re-entry
Capsize Recovery
Sea Kayak Self Rescue: Cowboy Rescue / How do I get back into my kayak alone?

Rolling the Kayak

Paddler remains in boat (no draining required!)

C to C and Sweep Stroke Rolling Techniques:  How to Roll a Kayak

Greenland rolling technique Paddler wet exits but does not drain until after re-entry and rolls
Paddler re-enters capsized boat and then rolls uses paddle float: Kayak Self Rescue: Re Enter and Roll

Towing – Sea Kayak Rescue Technique

Lansing Oar and Paddle Club
PO Box 26254
Lansing MI 48910
United States

August Newsletter for the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

Greetings from the President 

The Annual Youth Sports Event will be held at Burchfield Park on Sunday, August 21.  The Lansing Oar and Paddle Club will be there from 10:00 am-2:00 pm providing instruction for kids on kayaking in the swimming area.  Ingham County Parks provides the equipment and lifeguard, and we are asking for Club volunteers to help during the kayaking event.  You may bring your own boat if you wish to display or use it for demonstrations, but it is not required.  Please RSVP on the Meetup posting if you are interested in being there to help.

– Jay Hanks

2022 Paddling Trip Schedule

Here are the rest of our scheduled trips for 2022. Check Meetup for details. Also watch Meetup for other “pop-up” trips scheduled with less notice, weather and organizers’ schedules permitting.

August 21 – Youth Sports Day, Burchfield Park (non-LOAPC event with LOAPC volunteers) (KL)

August 26-28 – Paddle Antrim (TK)

September 3 – 10th Annual Labor Day Saturday Paddle and Picnic, Onondaga to Eaton Rapids, lunch at dam (2 of 7) (JH) 

September 10 – Bike ride, C-I-S Trail (TK)

September 17 – Grand River – Charlotte Hwy to Portland (LC)

September 24 – Grand River – Trestle Bridge to Gale Road (1 of 7) (JH)

October 8 – Grand River Fall Color Tour – Portland to Webber Dam (LC)

October 21-23 – Platte and Boardman Rivers (JH)

November 25 – 32nd Annual Turkey Float – Huron River – Hudson Mills to Delhi (JH)

December 21 – 29th Annual Winter Solstice Float, Grand (4 of 7) and Red Cedar Rivers – River Street Park (JH)

The Voyage of the Chinook

When sea kayaking first went mainstream in the US around 1984, there weren’t many boats to choose from. The Perception/Aquaterra Chinook was the first sea kayak mass produced on a large scale in North America. Sold new from 1984 through 1995, the Chinook was made from rotomolded plastic with technology borrowed from Perception’s whitewater lineup. Heavy and stable, this boat was a such a bulletproof beast that 30 years later you can still find a few used ones for sale in decent shape.

The earliest versions had an enormous rear hatch cover but no sealed bulkheads, so flotation bags were a must. At 16 feet long and 24 inches wide, it was a great beginner boat. The hull shape was a “Pacific Northwest style” shallow-V with lots of initial stability. This hull is designed for paddling quieter inland waters, in contrast to the twitchier British boats that took the US market by storm in the 1990s.

From about 1995 through July 2022, LOAPC had its very own Chinook. White with blue trim, it traveled all over Michigan, including at least two Great Lakes, and completed Grand River Expedition 2000. Dozens of LOAPC paddlers sat in its cockpit over the years. It was a training boat for informal instruction, and it got me out of a jam in my first year of paddling. It’s had quite a life.

When I joined LOAPC in 1997, the Chinook was one of four kayaks that our president at the time, Karl Pearson, brought to the Monday night paddles at Lake Lansing. The other boats were a Pacific Water Sports Seal (a Lee Moyer design), and two K-1 racing shells. A lot of Club members practiced a lot of paddling skills in those boats. Monday nights were pretty structured back then, so every week we were out practicing wet exits, bow rescues, T-rescues, paddle float re-entry, and the Eskimo roll.

The Chinook was also half of the two-kayak raft that hauled me to safety when I dislocated my shoulder paddling at Negwegon State Park near Alpena in heavy surf in my first year on the water. I rode into shore draped across the raft for a quarter-mile with a nonfunctioning right arm, while a third paddler pulled the entire contraption with a tow rig. “Don’t worry,” said the woman who had borrowed the Chinook for the weekend. “This boat is really stable.”

When we landed, there was brief discussion of reducing my dislocation on site, to which I said no thank you very much. The Chinook paddler made me a sling out of her climbing tights, and three members of our party walked me the two miles to the vehicles. Just then, the adrenaline wore off and the pain got real. One paddler drove me to the emergency room in Alpena, while everyone else paddled or towed all of the boats back to the launch. The ER doc gave me some excellent drugs, put his knee on the gurney for leverage, and pulled steadily on my arm with a slight corkscrewing motion until my shoulder popped back into place.

I was back on the water the next year, and eventually Karl retired from his job and moved up north. The Chinook and the Seal ended up with Nancy Hamlin-Anderson, who became LOAPC co-president along with Charlie Parmelee. Nancy had a trailer, so new Club members were able to borrow the boats to try out. Nancy liked the Seal so much that she bought it from Karl and still paddles it today.

The Chinook remained a Club boat. In her teens, Emma Bailey had outgrown the Pygmy Osprey 13 that she and her dad, Rich, built together. Her full-size Cape Anne Storm LT was still a year away from completion, so she paddled the Chinook in the meantime. From there, it went back to Nancy until she decided to reduce her fleet down to the Seal and a couple of grandchild-appropriate kayaks.

By that time, I was a Club officer, and I was given custody of the Chinook, again for potential Club members to try out. I only used it for this purpose a few times – at 57 pounds, the weight and length of the boat discouraged casual use. It lived mostly in my parents’ garage until 2018, when Steve Lidia expressed interest in using it for Open Water Committee instruction. That was a perfect role for the big Chinook, which got a facelift from Steve with new decklines and revamped seat outfitting, minus the wads of duct tape that had accumulated over the years.

Just before the pandemic in early 2020, the LOAPC board voted to donate the Chinook to Bay Cliff Health Camp for Todd Leigh and Linda Savage’s instruction program there. Steve kept custody of the boat another two years while life gradually got back to normal.

In July 2022, the Chinook made its latest (and possibly last) long journey – north on Rich Bailey’s Subaru across the Mackinac Bridge. Rich met up with Todd in Marquette. The boat was transferred to Todd and Linda’s car and is bound for Bay Cliff, where kids with special needs will learn to paddle in it. A fitting destination for a great kayak with a wealth of stories to tell, if only it could speak.

– Loretta Crum, LOAPC Secretary and Recreation Committee Co-Chair


1. A fascinating article on the evolution of sea kayaking as a sport in the U.S. from Paddling Magazine.

2. More info about Negwegon State Park south of Alpena on Lake Huron, and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Obituary – Dan Smith

Danny “Dan” Ray Smith, 71, of Portland, passed away on Thursday, July 21, 2022.  He was a significant contributor to the Grand River Expeditions, and the Hugh Heward Challenges, as well as within the greater Lansing paddling community.  We are sharing this in the newsletter, although the funeral arrangements have already taken place.

Born in Portland, Michigan on March 28, 1951, Dan was the third of eleven children to Marjorie and Joseph Smith. He attended Saint Patrick Catholic School as well as Portland Public Schools and would later settle down in the same town where he grew up. Dan was first married to Deborah (Almy) and had his first three daughters, Laura, Barb, and Donna. Dan went on to marry the love of his life, Roxane (Vogel) and fathered two more daughters, Sarah and Shannon as well as raising their son, Scott.

To describe Dan in one word may be a little difficult as there are so many different options that would accurately fit. Kindhearted, friend to everyone, honest, hero, father to more than his own, enthusiastic and at times embarrassing are just some that those who knew him would use.

Dan retired from General Motors in 2001 after 32 years of service. During that time, he spent 15 years as a committee man of the local 602 where he enjoyed working with countless people to ensure they had representation in the workplace. For those that knew him, he stood up for what he believed in and was able to inspire not only his own family and friends, but many people in the community that he got to know through his lifetime.

Dan was an adventurous man who never chose the path of least resistance. He owned and operated, with his wife and mother, Smitty’s Canoe Livery in Portland. There he would put joy into the faces of many people, young and old, looking to escape the grind of everyday life to have a relaxing and peaceful trip down the river. Dan’s experience with canoeing started with a simple Aluminum Canoe and through the years would try out more options until finally settling into his favorite brand we all know and love, a Kruger crafted Sea Wind. He could sometimes be found helping to build these vessels with his friend, Verlen Kruger in Lansing, Michigan. One of Dan’s biggest adventures included a three-month trip, “North to Alaska” to take on the mighty Yukon River, paddling through new communities along the way and building more stories than could possibly be told in a single night. There were few rivers in Michigan that Dan’s paddle didn’t touch as well as those in many other states including the Mississippi as well as ocean paddling. If you ever asked Dan how much further until reaching the destination on the river, you would most likely get a response of, “just around the next bend” whether it was or not.

Keeping busy, Dan would take part in the Grand River Beautification, helping to make sure his favorite highway was preserved as nature intended. He also served as president of the Verlen Kruger Memorial Planning where he and others were selflessly able to raise enough money to erect a life-sized bronze statue in honor of their friend and hero. Living across the street from the memorial, Dan always made sure this quiet, peaceful place in his community was upkept with flowers and love, so people could enjoy it while passing through.

Dan did not lack a sense of humor, always giving a slow roll into a deep, gut felt laugh. The “Breeze” was a name that many came to know him by as he could roll into a gathering with full force, and just like the Breeze, be gone, onto the next activity, leaving people with only the highlighted memories of the day. “Dano” also had a knack for entertainment! In his early years, he would practice magic and entertain at local shows. No one ever truly knew how he was able to pull a quarter from behind a child’s ear, but when he did, he left them speechless and wanting more. Aside from magic, he was also an avid collector of yoyo’s and could do a variety of tricks with his collection. Dan loved spending time with his family and working in his, at times, over the top garden in the serenity of his backyard. In the fall, you could often find him on the edge of his seat on a Saturday, playing hail to the victors with the volume turned up when Michigan scored a touchdown against the team down the road. Grandpa Dan as he was known to some, would never let his grandkids leave his house without using the famous tagline “See ya later alligator, after while crocodile, Dundee”.

Dan was preceded in death by his mother, father, and two son-in-law’s, Brad Busch and Lyle “Butch” Chick, niece, Stacy Smith and his favorite dog, Daisy. Surviving him are his wife, Roxane (Vogel) Smith, children: Laura (Smith) and Jim Stiles, Barb Smith, Scott Smith, Donna (Smith) Busch, Sarah Smith, Shannon Smith (Ken Harrell); 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings: Carol (Smith) and Terry Kellogg, Mike Smith, Judy (Smith) and Bill Reid, Rick Smith, Jerry Smith, Dennis and Ann Smith, Vicki Smith (Greg Swartner), Colleen (Smith) and Sam Yim, Steve and Lynda Smith, Scott Smith, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Scott Fairty’s Final Paddle

The Power of Water and the entire Lansing area paddling community mourn the loss of Scott Fairty on June 24, 2022, after a months-long battle with cancer. Scott leaves behind his wife, Fiona, and their three adult children: son Gordon and wife, Shelby Duran; daughter Tara and husband, Jacob Wheeler; and daughter Caitlyn. Scott also leaves a multitude of paddlers who learned from his coaching in Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island and Ireland, over his  40-year career.

Scott grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, and spent his entire career in paddlesports. He was a sales rep for Dagger Kayaks and worked at Great River Outfitters in Waterford. Along the way he earned awards and highest-level instructor status with the American Canoe Association and the British Canoe Union. He joined The Power of Water in Lansing 10 years ago as store staff and instructor. He was a superb paddler and a dedicated teacher who put his students’ needs first. His passing is a real loss to the paddling community.

Trey Rouss, owner of The Power of Water, shared this on the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium Facebook page: “Thank you to everyone who helped honor our friend, mentor, coach and all around legend. Scott Fairty passed away a couple weeks prior to this year’s event. We had a memorial sunset paddle, slideshow, people signed his boat and towed his boat through the harbor (his final request). His legacy goes far beyond the symposium. He loved coaching and seeing people grow. He knew paddling had the power to change lives and helped people achieve goals outside of paddling. He did what he did for the love of it and no other reason. Paddle on!”

LOAPC member Cynthia Donovan took many classes from Scott over the years and shared this: “Scott was one of my whitewater and open water coaches over several years. Whenever things went right, he was smiling and one of his favorite phrases was ‘that didn’t suck’ when you caught an eddy or used a brace to avoid spilling. He once did a video of me on the Nantahala River, catching an eddy, and then trying to peel out. His voice echoes in my mind still: ‘Paddle, paddle, paddle,’ just before I flipped, and he had to come give me a bow rescue. Nevertheless, he was always there encouraging people to push forward, challenging to new adventures. Traveling to Ireland with him for the Donegal Sea Kayaking trip was a joy, as he clearly loved Ireland and the amazing places that we were paddling. I can picture his grace and calm when riding the surf, his smiles, and later his wry sense of humor. When he said to bring out my inner Debbie, that was the time to punch forward, find my strength and just do it.”

Detroit News reporter and veteran paddler Daniel Howes wrote, “A month before he died, Scott sent a final note ‘to my paddling friends.’ He wrote: ‘The next time you’re out surfing a wave or about to drop a boof, if you feel a little boost that says ‘go for it’ – that’s me paddling beside you, encouraging you. I’ll be with you on every wave. See ya on the water.’”

PO Box 26254
Lansing MI 48910
United States

July News from the Lansing Oar and Paddle Club

Greetings from the President

I hope your summer has been going well and you have taken the opportunity to get out and paddle with friends, the Club, or out by yourself.  We always tell new folks to “Never Paddle Alone”, but for those who have reached a certain level of skill there is a sublime joy in the solo paddle. I personally enjoy the company of others while I am out paddling, but there are times when being alone out there safely on a beautiful morning, day, or evening is very satisfying to the soul.  I have even been known to paddle out alone under the stars on certain occasions.  As instructors, however, we know and understand the safety of paddling with others when we are beginning.

On Sunday August 21 the Youth Sports Event will take place at Burchfield Park off Grovenburg Road in Ingham County.  The Lansing Oar and Paddle Club has been a part of the introduction to kayaking experience there for many years now.  We show young people how to get in and out of a kayak and perform basic strokes in a supervised swimming area using Ingham County Parks equipment.  Folks from the Club helping out have brought their own boats along in the past to demonstrate the differences and give examples.

– Jay Hanks

Safety Boater Needed for Grayling Event

Friday-Saturday, July 22-23, is a Grayling campout and war canoe paddle with the kids from Opportunities Unlimited for the blind. If anyone is going to be up north this weekend, or lives in the area, we could use a skilled kayaker for safety boat.

– George Stockman

The Looking Glass River

According to Wikipedia, the Looking Glass River is 71 miles long.  It begins in northeast Livingston County, flows through Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, and ends at the city of Portland in Ionia County, where it flows into the Grand River.

The river was once known as the Wabenasebee River, possibly from a Chippewa village called Wabwahnahseepee.  Today, that area is occupied by the Dewitt city hall.

Along the way, the river flows through the Looking Glass Sanctuary, a 13-acre wetland preserve north of Bath at Babcock Landing on Babcock Road owned and managed by the Michigan Nature Association.  The area acts as a floodplain when the river overflows the banks.  Sandhill cranes nest here in the spring.

Although it is generally a slow-moving river, the US Geological Service website shows that conditions on the Looking Glass can vary widely.  Over the last 12 months, its discharge ranged from 40 to over 1000 cubic feet per second, cfs.  At least 5 times it peaked at around 800 cfs, and the average is about 200-300 cfs.  Given how shallow the river can be at low water, a paddler may want to jump at the opportunity to run this river in the few days after a rainstorm raises the water levels.

There are multiple access points – Babcock Road north of Bath, Riverside Park just south of downtown Dewitt, Looking Glass Riverfront Park on the west side of Dewitt, and both Heritage Park and Looking Glass Park in Wacousta.  Other undeveloped launches and takeouts can be had at multiple road crossings, though these generally don’t have a place to park, and may have a steep scramble up and down the bank to get to the water.  Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll find a crop of poison ivy at these crossings.

Depending on water levels, a trip from Wacousta to Portland can take from 4 to 6 hours.  In past years, we have found multiple trees down across the river along this stretch.  If the water is relatively high, we could bump over them with little trouble.  Sometimes, however, we were out of the boats 3-4 times, or even more.  There is a group called The Friends of the Looking Glass that does work to clean trash from the river and clear snags and blocks, but their efforts are usually in the sections that are more often paddled between Dewitt and Wacousta.

– Tony Kuhlman, Recreation Committee Co-chair

Paddling Portland to Lyons on the Grand River
I recently paddled this section on the Grand River and it was beautiful.  It has constituted Day 7 on previous Grand River Expeditions, but this day it was just a one and done affair.  The weather was clear and hot, so water and sunscreen were the order of the day.

There are two dams to portage which only adds to the adventure.  Portland Dam is an hour below the launch at Thompson Field and is an easy carry on the left.  The next long section of open water before Webber Dam can be challenging when there is a headwind, but today it was only a light breeze at my back the whole way.  Webber Dam can be portaged on either the left or right, but I prefer the right as it is shorter.

Next, there are two small rapids to negotiate before finishing in Lyons.  The rapids at the old Wagar Dam site is a splashy run on the right side of the river.  Even at the mild 800 cubic feet per second when I did it provided a fun run.  The rapids just before the bridge at the takeout in Lyons on the far left is also a nice bouncy ride.  I don’t recommend these runs for beginners without an experienced person leading the group, but they are also an important skill progression for paddlers developing their skills.

The entire paddle took about 5-1/2 hours including short stops for breaks and the portages.  It is quite scenic and being in the middle of southern lower Michigan it felt like miles and miles away from everything.

– Jay Hanks, President