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Promo Image: Northern Michigan in Focus: Thunder Bay River Restoration Group

Northern Michigan in Focus: Thunder Bay River Restoration Group

Every once in a while, we all find ourselves in a jam. But the group you’re about to meet looks to put themselves into as many jams as they can find.

Corey Adkins explains in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“The Thunder Bay River oh, I don’t want to say isolated, but it’s very unique. It’s a very diverse watershed,” said William Houston with the Thunder Bay River Restoration Group.

It may be a lesser known river than the Manistee or the Au Sable, but still mighty.

“There are great places to fish, and we have many tributaries draining into the rivers as it flows from Atlanta all the way down to Alpena,” said William.

But as the river flows so does time, and that means erosion. Trees falling and blocking the flow of canoes, kayaks and everyone and everything who uses this river.

The Thunder Bay River Restoration Group is here to help. 

“Our main goal over the organization is to make it a more accessible for kayakers and canoers and also fishermen.  Right now is focused is clearing the main log jams,” explained William.

Last year they removed a jam by the James Farm Access.

“We put the choker chains around the logs, attach that train to a tractor, where we could get a tracker in, and then pulled those logs out. In other cases, we go into the river and actually use chainsaws from boats and reduce the size of a logs, and we were able to maneuver them out with a winch back to shore. So very interesting and very time consuming, and very strenuous, but very rewarding,” said William.

That jam took them almost seven hours to remove.  This year they asked us to fly our 9&10 drone down the river to see what kind of work they had ahead of them.

We found a few.

“What we’re going to do is review the pictures that the drone took today and try to determine or strategy to go either upriver or downriver,” William told us.

It’s a lot of work, but worth it to everybody who loves this river.