Nearly 50 markers will soon line the more than 7.5 miles of the Clinton River that runs through Shelby Township and Utica to help people enjoying the river better understand where they are.
“As you go down the expressway you see mile markers. It’s the same thing as you go down the river,” said Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan.
Shelby Township Firefighter Jeremy Verbeke spearheaded the initiative after it took nearly half an hour to locate and rescue a person on the river last year because the individual could not explain where he had floated.
“It’s just to help us get to people faster,” he said.
In the spring, the Shelby Fire Department shelled out $150 to purchase 37 signs that are now posted along the river in Shelby Township. The most southern sign is at River Bends where Shelby and Utica border.
The signs are in sequential order and placed along areas of the river that are particularly dangerous or troublesome for kayakers, said Verbeke.
Since the installation of the signs, the last few calls on the river have been smooth sailing.
“We’ve actually had two calls out there where people needed help and said, ‘I just passed sign 23,’ and then we know exactly where they are,” said Verbeke.
Verbeke approached Utica and asked if the city would like to post signs on the Clinton River – up to Heritage Park.
The Utica City Council jumped at the opportunity Tuesday and approved the $85 dollar fee for the remaining 13 signs to be placed along the river.
“It’s very difficult to sense exactly where you are. It’s a great idea. My compliments,” said Noonan.
No doubt there has been an increase in kayaking and canoeing along the river since the Outdoor Escorts won a contract with Utica to exclusively run a guided kayak tour along the river and boat rental, utilizing the new canoe launch at Heritage Park.
The company will close for the season on Oct. 31 and reopen in the spring. For more information, call 248 421-3445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.