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Traverse Area Paddle Club

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Trip Reports

July 13 Pine River cleanup, Walker to Elm Flats

Lois Goldstein  | Published on 7/13/2018
There were only five takers on today's cleanup, but everyone was a superb paddler and spotter.  Gail found a basketball with a small hole, so it was filled with mud.  I used my river knife (thanks to Norm) to make the hole large enough to drain out the water and reduce the weight from about 30 pounds to one or two.  Jocelyn was ready with her camera, and also helped with the lumberjack work we encountered a bit before lunchtime at the Lincoln Bridge access.  I was the only one who had brought a pruning saw, and Kurt (Mr. Agility) did much of the cutting so other watercraft could pass through.  John followed Kurt's lead by tromping around on old log jams.  We found lots of old beer cans, several full Bud Lights, bottles, clothing (including one very large sneaker), a swim fin, and a rather large punctured 2-person raft.  That was tricky to pull out since the water was deep and fast, and every time I pulled on it to try to extricate it, my canoe tipped precariously close to the water on the upstream side.  I did NOT want to capsize there, and perhaps be swept under the tree!  There was also a very large and heavy folding chair that I managed to fit underneath my mesh duffel bag.  By the end, my canoe weighed a lot!

Special thanks to Val Miltner who helped us with the shuttle, and to Aaron from Bosman's who took the large bag of trash (and fin and basketball) we had pulled out by the time we reached Lincoln.  There was no trash container there.  We left the raft and two more large bags at Elm Flats, where the rangers from the Huron-Manistee NF would be picking it up.  They also supply our parking passes for all these cleanups.  Today we didn't need watercraft permits, but they give us free rein to clean the river whenever we like.

It was a nice sunny day, a bit on the warm side, but since we all got out of our boats several times, we were fine.  We landed at 2:51, emptied our boats, consolidated the trash, went up to get the cars, and by 3:05, it began to pour!  Kurt was SO sweet, hauling most of the boats and then staying to help tie them on to others' cars and our trailer.  What a guy!  It rained most of the drive home, but the sun was out when we got back to the TC area.

It was really good to have a small experienced group; we were all together most of the time, and it didn't matter who was first or last.  Having a designated lunch location made things easy.  Other river users offered encouragement, so it was an all-round successful day!
Report by Lois, photos by Jocelyn and John.

Lois and John present Val from Pine River Paddlesports Center with a gas card as thanks for all the free shuttles they provide for us.


Early in the paddle we had a mist hanging over the river.




We encounter a tree totally spanning the river, so Kurt cut a path through the tree using Lois' pruning saw.

Lois shows off the basketball she emptied.

Log jams are a frequent hiding spot for trash. Walking on log jams is hazardous because the logs are floating and move when you step on them. If you fall, it would be easy to be swept under the logs to your death.

Here with Kurt providing scale, you can see the size of a white pine Mark Miltner had to remove from the river.

Kurt transfers the deflated raft into Lois' canoe.

Kurt helps Gail with her kayak in the pouring rain.  What a guy!