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Police patrol Clinton River in yellow kayaks

The Macomb Daily

The Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division will patrol via yellow kayaks upon the Clinton River - Blue Water Trail from the launch at Avon & Livernois to Lake St. Clair. Plans are in place from Mark Hackel's office assigning five deputies to the Blue Water Trail attempting to insure boater safety. The press conference held on Thursday along the riverbanks of the Clinton River was covered by the Macomb Daily newspaper.

The catch; they bought sit-on-top kayaks and they simply won't patrol when the weather is cold or rainy. It'll be interesting to see who does SAR (search and rescue) when there is high water and novice paddlers get in trouble. The Marine Patrol Division is commanded by Lt. Brian Barlog under Mark Hackel. The division clearly understands there is a lot of woody debris in the river. All the cleanup efforts I've ever been aware of , involved unpaid, volunteers, using their own personal equipment, time, muscle and sweat to make the river navigable. Now, after numerous years, of good hearted people voluntarily dumping enormous amounts of sweat equity into the river, the Sheriff patrol magically pops up and wants a part of it.

As someone who helped create 7 miles of the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail in Oakland County , I know first hand how much work it is to clear deadfall and debris on a river. Running sharp chainsaws, standing in waist deep current , with silt sucking your feet , underwater root balls tripping your every move and maneuvering heavy trees is no picnic for the faint hearted or meek. I have real mixed feelings about government constantly leaving the real work to volunteers instead of stepping up long ago to help.

The local governments are waking up the fact that water trails are infrastructure. Blue Infrastructure  - waterways have value just like a land park with swings and soccer fields. Michigan neighborhoods become more valuable when people can recreate via paddlesports.

As always, I love to hear your comments and feel free to look at the other 200 articles I've written. The Examiner has a slightly new format with slideshows and videos now appearing at the bottom of all articles. Please scroll down to see additional media.



  • Willi Gutmann 4 years ago

    I forgot to mention Marc Hackel is seeking election in November for Macomb County’s first ever county executive. The kayaking patrol is a bit of a stunt since there is only a few weeks left in the regular paddling season for most folks in 2010 ..

  • Profile picture of Drew Denny
    Drew Denny 4 years ago


  • River Stalker 4 years ago

    "Magically Pops Up" he he he. I believe the deputies presents on the river are unwanted by all people that paddle the river, at least all the ones I talked to so far. What if the deputies "determine" the water is too high for them to patrol? Will that mean they will "close the river" because it is unsafe? They DID hassle people trying to paddled during the big flood. Hopefully it's all PR and we will never see them on the river again. Fortunately "their" section starts at Dequinre, the take-out for the good section. Being west of Dequindre puts them in Oakland County, so, hopefully they can't hassle you till you go under the bridge.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    Sounds like you're not a big fan of Hackel or the sheriff's dept.

  • Profile picture of Willi Gutmann
    Willi Gutmann 4 years ago

    Where were those kayaks when the body of David Allen Widlak was being searched for along the Clinton River late September 2010 ? Helicopters, bicycles, 4 wheelers, and 100's of Macomb county resources were used BUT no kayaks....why ? The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office combed the banks of the Clinton River next to the YMCA on North River Road in Mt. Clemens, but not one of those bright yellow kayaks was to be seen ......hmmmmm ? Still sounds like a PR stunt to me.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    Public forum regarding Clinton River coming up in November , 2010

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