Muskegon River Voyage of Discovery – By John Krause

Take a day off this summer and paddle down the Muskegon River. Each bend in the river will bring surprises of scenery and wildlife. And while you’re in the area…visit what’s left of Michelson’s Landing in Missaukee County; travel down the White Pine Trail and look through a railroad depot made into city offices in Evart; visit the free-flowing Hersey River at a dam removal site in Osceola County; take a walk through an old fish hatchery at Paris in Mecosta County; portage around 3 hydroelectric dams in Mecosta and Newaygo Counties; walk through a museum in Newaygo. There’s so much to see!

The Muskegon River is the second longest river in Michigan. The northern portion of the river winds through a rugged terrain of forested land. Deer, ducks, and other wildlife are plentiful. The middle portion of the river is fast moving and diverse in land use. It’s composed of agricultural, forested and urban developed areas. Three hydroelectric dams are located on the river in Mecosta and Newaygo Counties. The lower river flows through a 10,000 acre natural area called the Muskegon State Game Area, and then flows through Muskegon Lake in Muskegon, the largest city in the watershed.

From June 8 through 18, a group of local paddlers will travel the full length of the river while conducting inventories, monitoring and cataloging different aspects of the river. Although the main group making the 11-day journey is by invitation only, the Voyage of Discovery Committee is inviting the public to join them for a day of adventure on the river. If you’re interested in traveling a day or a portion of the day, you will need to make your own accommodations for canoes, food, and other things you will need. Some canoe liveries participating in the event are giving special discounted prices for paddlers, so mention the trip when reserving your canoe or kayak and expect a day of excitement.

Missaukee County

  • Missaukee Paddle Sports 231-839-8265
  • White Birch Canoe and Campground 231-328-4547

Clare County

  • Duggan’s Canoe Livery & Campground 989-539-7149

Osceola County

  • Hersey Canoe Livery 231-832-7220
  • Old Log Resort 231-743-2775
  • River Country Campground 231-734-3808

Mecosta County

  • Sawmill Tube & Canoe 231-796-6408

Newaygo County

  • Chinook Campground 231-834-7505
  • Croton Dam Float Trips 231-652-6037
  • Mystery Creek Campground 231-652-6915
  • River Rat Canoe Rental 231-834-9411
  • Salmon Run Campground 231-834-5494
  • Wisner Rents Canoes 231-652-6743

Muskegon County

  • Lakeshore Kayak 616-566-1325
  • Putter’s Creek in Muskegon 231-744-1418

Sponsorships are being sought to reduce the cost of the trip for the core group of paddlers. Sponsors will have their names listed on t-shirts, signs, and other publicity distributed by the MRWA. Sponsors of the event thus far include: Haworth, Inc., Muskegon Conservation District, Evart Local Development Finance Authority, Penny Jane Domestic Arts, Houghton Lake Lake Association, Ferris State University Catering, City of Big Rapids, Rotary Club of Big Rapids, Fantasy Island Resort, and Missaukee Paddle Sports.

“The MRWA is dedicated to the preservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable use of the Muskegon River, the land it drains, and the life it supports, through educational, scientific and conservation initiatives.” MRWA offices are located on the FSU campus in Big Rapids.

If you would like more information about the voyage, contact Terry Stilson at 231-591-2324, e-mail her at or visit the MRWA website at

Comments on “Muskegon River Voyage of Discovery – By John Krause”

  1. Cathy Lowery
    April 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I did the same trip in 2002 with 3 other women(see Muskegon Chronicle 8-25-02 article by Susan Harrison Wolffis). It was a trip of a life time!! Wishing you the same. Cathy Lowery

  2. KayakLady
    August 15, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Another great livery in Oscala County is J & J’s River Run. Check out the contact info below:

    Phone: 231-287-0008

  3. Mike & Sherry Dillbeck
    September 8, 2013 at 12:26 am

    We enjoyed getting mentored by John and Leischen. Thanks for the salmon. It was delicious.

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