RYAN CRENSHAW (left), with Terrain360, and Kevin Smith, with the Friends of the Shiawassee River, can be seen pulling in to Showboat Park in Chesaning on the afternoon of Sunday, June 2, after wrapping up their mapping of the 88-mile Shiawassee River Water Trail. The pair motored down the Shiawassee at a speed of seven to eight miles per hour on Sunday, covering the 19 miles from Juddville Road to Showboat Park in approximately three hours and 30 minutes.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Shiawassee River Water Trail flows northerly from Holly to Chesaning and was designated a State Water Trail by the Michigan DNR in December 2018. Clean water laws, government efforts to eliminate sources of pollution and the stewardship of the Friends of the Shiawassee River have transformed the health of the Shiawassee over the past several decades.
Thanks to this revitalization, the river is becoming an increasingly popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. The river offers innumerable fishing opportunities; many county, municipal and township parks; and walking and biking trails. Additionally, canoeing and kayaking are on the rise, both among locals and paddlers from all over mid-Michigan.
In the coming weeks, Shiawassee River fans will have a new resource to help them explore our beloved river: a 360-degree, panoramic image map of the entire 88 miles of the water trail, provided by Terrain360, out of Virginia. The river was mapped in nine days – from aboard a custom-built catamaran equipped with five cameras mounted atop a hydraulic rig that can be lowered to fit under bridges and low-hanging trees. The cameras were set up to take pictures simultaneously every 60 feet, so the completed map will include nearly 8,000 images.
Ryan Crenshaw, with Terrain360, and Kevin Smith, with the Friends of the Shiawassee River, completed mapping on Sunday, June 2, at Showboat Park in Chesaning. The pair enjoyed the day’s sunny, relatively dry weather after enduring intense thunderstorms the day prior, and the river’s high water level made for a smooth ride, as well.
Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition President David Lossing shared that the completed 360-degree guide should be available by the end of June or in early July, after Terrain360 is able to stitch together the approximately 8,000 images. The guide will be available on the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition website, www.shiawasseewatertrail.org, the Terrain360 website, www.terrain360.com, the Friends of the Shiawassee River website, www.shiawasseeriver.org, and on the websites of many of the other 19 nonprofit organizations and government agencies that make up the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition.