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Canoe and kayak launch site pitched for Cass City
Tue, 13 Oct 2020 08:57:22 EDT
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The idea of having a canoe and kayak launch site in the Cass City area was being pitched again.
Cass City resident Nancy Barrios, who is a former Cass City Village Council trustee, sent a letter to the Novesta Township Board of Trustees about the poor condition of a former dumpsite and how it would make a perfect launch site for watercraft. She included photos of debris on the former dump site located at the forks of the Cass River East of Cemetery Road on Elmwood Road.
She included information showing the dump has been an eyesore for decades. She included news articles. One was a Dec. 1968 editorial recommending the village clean up the site, and the other was a copy of the May 1970 photograph that showed Lyle Clarke, a retired Cass City ag teacher and a group of FFA members who were proposing a clean up of the site for a riverside park.
It's been over 50 years since those individuals brought the issue to light; yet, the site remains untouched with what appears to be a 50 gallon metal drum, coiled wire, a hot water heater, metal debris and trash on the surface with broken glass, tires, and other debris which have fallen into the river during periods of high water over the years, explained Barrios.
It was also pointed out the village dumpsite on Koch Road in the township was properly closed in the 1980s.
"For whatever reason, the dumpsite along the Cass River was left untouched," she noted
Also, Barrios, Lyle Clarke, who was in that 1970 photo and now in his 90's, attended the village Parks and Recreation meeting on Aug. 26, along with former township supervisor Dale Churchill. They spoke about cleaning up the site and developing it for water recreation.
Plus, well known outdoor writer Tom Lounsbury, Gene Suuppi, who is a member of the Cass River Greenway Committee, and Barrios also made a presentation to the village council at their committee of the whole meeting on August 12.
They proposed the site be remediated and converted to a canoe/kayak launch site, and to pursue a State of Michigan Recreation Grant to clean the property up and make it a water access park site, but no action was taken.
Regardless, the dump site needs to be cleaned up, according to Barrios.
"The letter didn't ask the township to do anything. It was informational," said township Supervisor Chad Daniels. "She is hoping we support it. I don't see why we wouldn't support it."
And, the board did.
Also, two years ago when Barrios was still on the village council, she pitched a similar plan to have canoe and kayak launch site, but at the wastewater treatment plant.
At that time, the village council was not interested in doing that despite Cass River Greenway's 12 year effort to use the river to develop eco-tourism by cleaning the waterway of debris, adding more recreational opportunities, and trails.
For two years, the clean up of the river by volunteers had focused on the river in the Cass City area.
The Cass River Greenway's hope is to try to get enough interest and support to get a canoe and kayak launch near Cass City to bring the National Water Way Trail designation to the upper Cass River.
The Cass River Greenway Committee, which is a grassroots volunteer effort to clean up the river started over a decade ago near Birch Run went on to Vassar, Tuscola, Caro, and then Cass City.
So far the clean up effort resulted in a series of canoe and kayak launch sites built on public property in Caro, Vassar, Tuscola and Frankenmuth.
Besides the launch sites, the water trail project includes parking and restroom facilities, along with promotional material and informative signage along the river.
The Cass River Water Trail is 37.5 miles long. Also, along the river's edge there are rest stops and picnic areas, wildlife, maps and brochures with information on wildlife and plants in the area.
The goal of the Cass River Greenway Committee is to develop recreation opportunities along the river's corridor, to preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, improve water quality, promote good environmental stewardship practices and develop ecotourism opportunities.
The Cass River is in the Saginaw Bay Watershed which runs through Saginaw, Tuscola, Sanilac and Huron counties.
For more information, go to the website www.cassriver.org