The Village of Byron's Downtown Development Authority has embraced the Shiawassee River as a recreational and economic asset. With the help of the Friends of the Shiawassee River, and with funding from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN), a canoe/kayak launch has been built adjacent to downtown Byron.
The Shiawassee River gains size as it flow through Byron, where the south branch joins the main stem just upstream from the Village. The stretch from Byron to the Walnut Hills Campground is one of the more wild and beautiful sections of the river. Recently volunteers cleared downed trees from this area of the river, further improving access and use of this natural resource.
The new launch is just south of the Maple Street (Bath Road) bridge and is tucked away behind several ball diamonds. The land was donated by the Byron Area School District, which has also recognized the value of the Shiawassee River. A nature trail has been developed near the new launch site, and the Friends of the Shiawassee River has been working with local classes to conduct volunteer water quality sampling.
The launch was built by several volunteers, most notably Rob Vandermark and Ric Crawford who donated their time and use of equipment. Friends member Phil Hathaway led up the effort, using a design that has been successfully installed in several other public parks in Shiawassee County. “We’re excited that the Village of Byron is working with these great partners to formalize this site along the beautiful Shiawassee River”, said Mike Kelly of the Conservation Fund, the coordinator of Saginaw Bay WIN, the project funder.