by Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom (Falcon Guides)
© Kevin Hillstrom & Laurie Collier Hillstrom/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
One weekend each year, the State police, Sheriff department and DNR conduct a pre-planned search and ticket raid on the river. This is obviously organized to extract as much money as possible from the people in the canoe's, kayaks and rafts floating down the river. They will ticket you for glass containers, shells, clams or snails in your cooler, and minors in possession of alcohol. In addition, the parking attendant for the Lakeland township will radio ahead to the law enforcement if they see you with alcohol as your enter your vehicle to leave the park.
We had a large group of about 30 people as we had the last 5 years. Our group had 2 minor in possession fines of $250 each and two possession of clams fines which were resolved by purchasing a fishing license later in the day. My group was stopped and harassed THREE times during the 3 hour ride down the river. It was a very unpleasant experience and WE WILL NEVER CANOE OR RENT FROM RIVERSIDE CANOES AGAIN IN OUR LIVES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I waited around at the end of the river for four hours and talked to hundreds of people, ALL OF WHICH WERE HARASSED MANY TIMES !!!!!!! This is a very lame attempt for the state to get money from the people at the cost of the local retailer and the tourist industry as a whole. MY GROUP AND I WILL NEVER BE BACK TO CANOE THE PLATTE RIVER !!!!
"MICHIGAN: Come to Vacation, Leave on Probation" Nice state motto.
Our plan was a much longer trip but we ended up just doing the last part of the Platte River, from the NPS picnic area to Lake Michigan. NPS has a very nice area to launch from on the north side of the river just west of M-22 on Lake Michigan RD. The take out landing just before Lake Michigan is only 2.4 miles by road, a nice hike or quick bike ride if you don't have 2 vehicles. The wind was a bit breezy, air temp about 68 degrees, and mostly sunny. The river is mostly shallow, very clear, with only a slight to moderate current. The breeze was a real challange to some new canoers when they got to Loon Lake, it being a wind from the west and having to paddle north thru the lake. Saw Gar Pike, suckers, and trout in the clear water and numerous birds along the shore. Trip offers a couple of stops before the lake at the fish wier and at a launch area after loon lake called El Dorado, which has outhouses. Trip took 95 min. of leasurly paddling. From El Dorado to Lake Michigan was only 30 min. Because of land restoration there is no other places to stop along the way. A nice, short trip.
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