Saturday, April 30, 2011

Whitewater Park Draws Kayakers to Petoskey

Today is the first time I've had a chance to check out the new whitewater park on the Bear River that runs through Petoskey, and I have to say I'm very impressed. I've had a lifelong love/hate relationship with Petoskey, but this definitely nudges me toward the love side of the equation.  I ran this river a few years back and it didn't go so well- I lacked the boat or the skills, and leftover rebar from removed dams punctured my boat in a spot way too close to home.  The video of that run is pretty entertaining, especially if you'd like a laugh at my expense.

This park is definitely a step in the right direction for the town and for the river. They've installed new pathways and pavilions, the new pedestrian bridge is well placed and they've installed several vistas and vantage points.  What really impresses me is how they've redone the river, creating some killer standing waves and holes and creating yet another reason to visit Petoskey.  This weeks high water is pushing the classification into the class IV range, with standing waves that are nearly 4 feet, and the run where I sank my boat is about 300 feet of frothing whitewater.  Judging by the number of kayaks strapped to vehicles in town and parked at the takeout, it has gotten the attention of paddlers.  I got there too late to photograph anyone in the runs, but will try to get there tomorrow to update this post.  Kayaking is my other great love, and with this new park up and running, I may be tempted to get a play boat.

This is the same hole I wrecked in
Large standing wave below 31 bridge

Pavillion at takeout
This next video is very entertaining, it's a helmet cam view of the run done right by people who knew what they were doing.  This is the old riverbed before improvements; note that the river is running much higher today.

Congratulations to Petoskey for making a genuine improvement to the town.  With foot and bike trails and lots of picnic areas, this is going to be one of the most popular places in town.


  1. Looks like a fun place that definitely warrants a play boat. Very entertaining run in your video... I admit to laughing a bit. I admire the captain's commitment... not bailing out despite the sinking ship. Glad you weren't injured by rebar... sounds dangerous.

  2. They've cleaned it all up now, and it really looks like fun now.

  3. I saw that video awhile back and didn't realize it was indeed you who had taken on some water at the former falls. I have heard of many other encounters with various leftover debris and am happy to see it cleaned up for safer use. The runs and pools have some great looking tail-outs, I can't wait to see what it produces for 'the other love' in the near future.
    Tight Lines,

  4. Thanks for the videos. Will have to check it out.