Grand Rapids Whitewater

Grand Rapids Whitewater

The Grand River has been ignored for many years and has lost its value. Although improving, the river has lost fish and other creatures that once thrived here. People are excluded because they can’t access the river and it is dangerous.

This is a problem because there are lost economic potentials and missed opportunities for people to connect with a healthy river in the heart of the city.
The solution is to bring the river back to a more natural state for fish and creatures, remove dangerous dams, and create ways for people to access and use the river.

Through ongoing scientific study, planning, design, and working group meetings with federal, tribal, and city representatives, a full river revitalization project is underway with expected social, environmental, and economic benefits.

The project proposes improvements to the Grand River through Grand Rapids from approximately Ann Street to Fulton Street to:

  • Remove five aging low-head dams, including the Sixth Street dam
  • Reveal the submerged natural bedrock rapids
  • Recreate the lower rapids by installing boulders and cobble
  • Construct a new adjustable structure to maintain the rowing waters, provide fish and boat passage, meet required flood protection measures and prevent non-native sea lamprey from migrating upstream
  • Restore historic spawning areas for State-threatened Lake Sturgeon
  • Improve places for fish and other creatures to thrive as they once did
  • Provide increased accessibility to the river for a variety of recreational users, resulting in social and economic benefits.

Revitalizing the river is the catalyst for the re-envisioned downtown and river corridor redevelopment plan, with trail extensions along the river, improved green spaces, and an enlivened downtown community.

For more information about the river revitalization and rapids restoration project, see:

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Camp Roger