Jessica Mathews /

Grant funding provided accessibility improvements and access to the Huron River and Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark.

As the seasons change from summer to fall, officials say it’s the perfect time to get out on the water to paddle Southeast Michigan’s rivers and lakes. Huron-Clinton Metroparks has been working to improve access and accessibility across a variety of facilities within its 13 parks. One such recent project was to improve access to paddling on Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark.

A recent project in the park provided accessibility improvements and access to the National Huron Water Trail. Funding came the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The grant award provided $154,000 to support improvements to the West Boat Launch area. Included in the project was a new accessible floating dock, launch and gangway, two new pea stone/sand launch areas, parking lot restriping, accessible picnic tables and grills, accessible walkways and an accessible vault latrine restroom.

The Metroparks added an additional $154,000 in matching funds to complete the project, bringing the overall project cost to just over $300,000.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks Director Amy McMillan said they’re excited to complete the improvements in time for visitors to enjoy this fall. Whether paddling for exercise, relaxation, fishing or to take in the colorful views, she says Kensington Metropark and the Huron River will not disappoint. McMillan added “Grant funding, like the DNR Trust Fund Grants, provide the Metroparks and other park systems an avenue for optimizing their project funds to finish larger projects than they otherwise would be able to. It allows us to continue to increase accessibility and provide improved experiences for all our visitors.”

The latest project is said to compliment additional paddling improvements the Metroparks are making in other areas of the Huron River.

From the West Boat Launch area, visitors can access the Huron River or Kent Lake for a fall paddling experience. The Huron River is a national water trail encompassing 104-miles of inland paddling and picturesque exploring. In fall it is turned into a kaleidoscope of color perfect for viewing, photographing and immersing yourself into. This year, prime fall color viewing in Southeast Michigan is estimated to fall between October 9th– October 29th.

More about the paddling improvements is available through the provided link.