Celebrate Great Lakes & Fresh Water Week 2016

Southeast Michigan will celebrate the 11th annual Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week event from June 4-12 with activities for every water enthusiast and novice.

Michigan has more than 11,000 lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Over 43 percent of all Great Lakes water is located in Michigan. With so much water to enjoy, protect and celebrate, June 4-12 is designated as the Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week in 2016.

A variety of activities throughout Southeast Michigan has been organized to emphasize recreation, education and stewardship. Whether you are an experienced water steward or a novice, check out the variety of events throughout the region:


Saturday, June 4

  • Run with the Sturgeon a 5K race and 1K fun run along the beautiful Blue Water River Walk on the shores of the St. Clair River in downtown Port Huron. 
  • RiverFront Run - a 5K and a 10K run/walk. All participants will receive a performance T-shirt, commemorative medals and a one-day admission pass to the Conservancy’s upcoming Detroit River Days festival. Registration is $30 for the 5K, and $40 for the 10K, per participant, if registered by June 4, 2016. 

Tuesday, June 7

  • Discover the Riverfront - Detroit Experience Factory
    Join the Detroit Experience Factory on the Detroit Riverfront Walking Tour, which meets on the world map on GM Plaza on the Riverfront, directly behind the Renaissance Center. Currently, 3 of the 5.5 miles of the Downtown Detroit Riverfront promenade extending from the Ambassador Bridge to the Belle Isle Bridge are complete. The Riverwalk is anchored by Rivard Plaza which offers free parking, bike rentals, concession stands, and carousel rides.

Saturday, June 4:

  • Free Kayak Demo DayVisit with the Riverside Kayak Connection (RKC) on one of its two annual kayak demonstration days for the opportunity to test out the world of kayaking. RKC will offer a variety of kayaks to demo ranging from recreational kayaks to high performance sea kayaks. See more RKC events on their website.

Sunday, June 5

  • Sprint and Splash - The 5th Annual Sprint & Splash, held at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township includes a variety of competitive events, as well as music, food, craft beer, and a variety of vendors:
    • Sprint and Splash kicks off the day with a 6-mile WPA Sanctioned Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) board race
    • Duathlon, which combines a 5K run AND a 2-mile paddle (kayak or stand-up paddle board). Sprint and Splash
    • 5K Fun Run and Walk (for those who want to stay dry)
    • 2-mile recreational Stand-Up Paddleboard race.
    • The Sprint and Splash “Beach Village” is open throughout the day, giving participants and spectators the option to visit local vendors before or after their race.
  • Huron Meadows Metropark to Zukey Lake Paddle Trip is a scenic a 2-hour (approximately) paddle trip down the Huron River past Ore Lake through Strawberry Lake to Zukey Lake. An optional lunch at Zukey Lake Tavern is extra. Some paddling experience is required. The trip is free but requires a Metropark pass. Bring your own canoe or kayak or arrange to share a boat with other attendees.

Saturday, June 4:

  • Blue Water Sturgeon Festival focuses on providing close encounters with the “Giants of the Great Lakes.” Visiting the dozen indoor & outdoor displays with hands-on activities, drop-in a workshop, touch a live sturgeon and other native fish, or take a ride on the exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise makes this a family friendly event.

Sunday, June 5


Sunday, June 5

Saturday, June 11

  • Family Fishing Fun Day through Wayne County Parks and Van Buren Township Parks and Recreation takes place at the Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Interpretive Preserve. In addition to fishing, participants can make their own fish shirt and compete for prizes for the biggest fish caught. 
  • Fishing Derby will take place at Waterford Bend Park in Northville. The Middle Rouge River will be stocked with trout. All anglers need to bring their own equipment and bait. There will be a casting contest for children 12 years old and younger.
River Day Celebrations

June 11

  • River Day (2015 site) sponsored by the St. Clair County Health Department
    St. Clair County’s River Day is Saturday, June 11 and features multiple fishing and paddling activities from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • River Day organized by the Clinton River Watershed Council
    Individuals, businesses, community groups, and local governments across the watershed offer a variety of activities ranging from nature hikes, canoe trips, fishing derbies, and fly fishing lessons to storm drain stenciling, river clean-ups, habitat restoration, and native landscaping to enhance and celebrate the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.

While this list is specific to Southeast Michigan, the Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week is a statewide celebration. For information about activities in your areas, contact your local watershed council, county health department, Conservation District or river or lake association. Thank you to Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) for their assistance in compiling this information.

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