Delta Township opened its Old River Trail and Delta Mills Canoe/Kayak launch to the public on Oct. 26.
“It will no longer be necessary for paddle enthusiasts to travel a great distance in order to enjoy a paddle down the river,” said Brian Reed, the manager of Delta Township.
The Old River Trail Pathway is about half a mile long and connects Delta Mills Canoe/Kayak Launch and Park to Hunters Orchard Park and the pathway and trails in that Park. It also connects to a pathway on Webster Road and Old River Trail Road connecting to their east/west pathway. The township also implemented an EZ Dock system that allows people who use a wheelchair to use a bench system that will help them transfer into a kayak or canoe.
“Our township, and the parks and recreation department, want to connect our residents to the parks and facilities that we can offer for recreation, improving physical and mental health and creating experiences that will improve their overall quality of life,” said Reed. “The pedestrian pathway will connect more people from the neighborhoods to their parks, especially for taking walks, runs or just to enjoy the outdoors.”
The old river trail pathway cost $964,687 and the Delta Mills canoe/kayak launch was about $475,000, Reed said. Both projects were awarded grant funds in 2017 and the construction of both projects began in the summer and ended this fall.
“The Delta Mills river access is special in the fact that two different launches are available for paddlers, and the EZ Dock is accommodating for paddlers of all experience levels,” said Reed. “It is important to note that it has been recommended by experienced paddlers to only use the ‘able-bodied’ beach access if launching a boat that is 18 feet or longer.”
The Delta Mills canoe launch project includes recreation opportunities for people of all physical abilities.
“There are two separate launches available to use; a sand and stone launch access which is considered an ‘able-bodied’ launch, as well as an (accessible) launch called an EZ Dock which is meant for people of all physical abilities, and wheelchair accessibility,” said Reed. “The fishing dock which was also installed as a component of the project is also (Americans with Disabilities Act)-accessible.”
Delta Township has plans and projects in the works to further the development and accessibility of their township.
“There are currently six Michigan DNR grant applications which Delta Township has submitted, and are waiting for recipient results to be announced in early December 2019. Three of the six grant applications include the construction or paving of non-motorized pathways,” said Reed.
“There have been talks and plans to improve the river access within Grand Woods Park which is upstream or east of the Delta Mills launch, but there is no set plan or timeframe. There is an existing river access within the park, but plans are being made to increase its accessibility.”