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Trip Reports

Betsie Creek Adventure

Linnaea Melcarek  | Published on 9/4/2019
This was (as far as we know) the first time Betsie Creek has been explored as part of a TAPC trip. It was also Linnaea's first time hosting a trip. It will not be the last time (for either)! For those who are unfamiliar, Betsie Creek is accessed from the north end of Green Lake. You can get there via a small launch owned by Green Lake Township on Diamond Park Road, or from the State Park on the other side of the lake. Betsie Creek is made up of one main branch that angles toward M-137 (and eventually into Duck Lake), and two other side branches. One of these leads up to Bridge Lake, and the other passes under Riley Road, 31, and up to Cedar Hedge Lake. A future trip will explore this side branch, which can be best accessed from a snowmobile trail where it crosses the creek in Interlochen. This trip explored the main branch of the creek as well as the side creek to Bridge Lake. (All the creeks flow south into Green Lake -- we were paddling upstream to begin, which was not difficult due to the slow current).

Linnaea had been doing some extensive explorations of this area before this trip, and her partner Rich joined in on one of these forays to help clear out some of the blocking branches. There are still quite a few logs to maneuver around and over, but our four participants for the TAPC trip (Jacqui M., Bob F., Marlene P., and Linnaea) didn't have any trouble navigating them. We saw lots of turtles, including some very cute 3-inch ones.  The fall colors seemed to be beginning early on this stretch of river. Eventually, we reached a point on the main branch where proceeding was too difficult, with lots of deadfall and too-shallow water. So we turned around and headed to the branch leading up to Bridge Lake. 

The Bridge Lake branch is smaller than the main branch, with lots of lily pads making progress a bit slow. Otherwise we didn't have any trouble... that is, until we encountered a beaver dam blocking the creek. When Linnaea paddled this a couple weeks earlier, the dam was not so big, and getting over it wasn't too difficult. Now, though, it's not possible to get over, since the creek has a deep mucky bottom and getting out of your boat is not an option. We were momentarily disappointed but headed back to our cars and decided to drive to the boat access on Bridge Lake to finish up the trip. The lake has an access owned by Interlochen Center for the Arts on an unmarked road off of Gonder Road, and they don't mind if the public uses it. We, minus Bob who left due to a shoulder injury, paddled the perimeter of the lake, which is undeveloped and pristine. We found the creek outlet and paddled down as far as the beaver dam, so we can say we completed what we set out to do. It ended up being a beautiful day after starting out a little cloudy and cool, and everyone seemed to enjoy the adventure thoroughly. It's amazing the out-of-the-way places you can find near developed areas. We shall return!



Marlene and Jacqui paddling the main branch of Betsie Creek.


We made it as far east on the main branch as the blue dot. You would never have known we were near those retaining ponds. At the bottom is Green Lake, and the road above it is Diamond Park Road.


A rare spot along Betsie Creek where we could get out and take a potty break.


Enjoying a beautiful day on Betsie Creek.


Marlene passing under Diamond Park Road Bridge.


Taking the branch creek up to Bridge Lake.


The beaver dam that made us turn around (this is the view from upstream looking downstream).


We made it at last to beautiful Bridge Lake. We had to drive there, but it was worth it!