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E-M:/ Pass the Paddle in Michigan

Enviro-Mich message from DDCarter1@aol.com




Scott McEwen, Michigan River Network - 231-347-1181 or 
Doug Carter, River Management Society - 517-627-8362    

LANSING: State and local officials, conservationists, educators and industry 
representatives will gather next week across Michigan in a series of local 
celebrations, as a part of RIVERS 2000 - a national event to highlight the 
importance of our nation's more than 3.2 million river miles and their 
watersheds.  These activities are part of the "Pass the Paddle" event, an 
effort to bring together public officials and river enthusiasts from across 
the continent to carry the official RIVERS 2000 paddle from state to state, 
culminating with presentation of the paddle to President Clinton this fall.  
"Pass the Paddle" celebrates not only the rivers themselves, but the citizens 
and communities who have come together to protect and restore our rivers and 

The Michigan Pass the Paddle schedule, along with local sponsors, is as 

Tuesday, Aug 15
     noon      paddle arrives from Indiana, St. Joseph River near Niles 
(Friends of the                 St. Joseph River, 616-729-5174)   
  7:00pm     Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners (Kalamazoo River           
    Watershed Council, 616-373-1157 or  616-345-9295)                    
Wednesday, August 16
  10:00am    Muskegon River - Maple Island Road Access (Muskegon River          
    Watershed Assembly, 616-956-8019)
    1:00pm    Grand Rapids - Ah-Nab-Ah-Wen Park (Timberland RC & D, 616-956-    
    4:00pm    Alaska  - Rhues Park (Thornapple River Watershed Group,  
616-891-                8817)

Thursday, August 17
    10:00am     Lansing Riverfront Park, with Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus 
(Mid-                   Michigan Environmental Action Council, 517-485-9001)
          7:00om     DeWitt  (Friends of the Looking Glass, 517-626-6625)

Friday, August 18
      10:00am    Orchard Lake Village Nature Preserve (Clinton, Huron and 
Rouge                   river watershed councils, 248-853-9580)
        2:00pm   Detroit River at Mt. Elliot Park (Greater Detroit American 
Heritage                    River Initiative, 810-989-6323)
            evening   River Raisin communities (River Raisin Watershed 

Saturday, August 19
      10:00am    Adrian (River Raisin Watershed Council, 517-263-5614)
           noon  paddle passes to Ohio on Bean Creek near Morenci, MI 
                    (River Raisin Watershed Council, 517-263-5614)            

Pass the Paddle began in Washington, DC on April 1, and has already visited 
36 states and logged some 20,000 miles on its seven-month journey across 
North America.   It will visit all 50 states, and rivers shared with Mexico 
and Canada.  The official RIVERS 2000 paddle will return to our Nation's 
Capitol on October 7, where it will be presented to President Clinton, before 
making its eventual home in the Smithsonian Institution.  

Rivers and watersheds are shared and valued by all communities.  As shared 
resources, the nation's waterways depend upon collaborative and inclusive 
strategies to keep them healthy and enable them to continue to serve the 
needs of the fish, wildlife and human communities that rely upon them.  
RIVERS 2000 stresses the importance of conservation and restoration 
activities and their role in revitalizing local communities.  The River 
Management Society, with help from American Rivers, River Network and a large 
coalition of diverse interests, is conducting RIVERS 2000.  Activities within 
Michigan are being coordinated by the Michigan River Network.

Michigan Governor John Engler, in a May 26, 2000 Executive Declaration, 
recognized the broad range of values provided by our rivers and watersheds, 
and applauded the cooperative efforts that have made Michigan a national 
leader in protecting its free-flowing river resources.  Further, the Governor 
encouraged all Michigan citizens to "participate in the many activities of 
Rivers 2000 throughout the year, helping to recognize the vital role rivers 
and streams play in the overall quality of life in our state, and to continue 
working together towards the maintenance and improvement of these unique 
public resources".

Some interesting facts about Pass the Paddle include the following:
    - the paddle will visit some 250 North American rivers;
    - it will travel a total of 25,000 miles - approximately 1,000 by water, 
16,000 by       land and 8,000 by air;
    - it will visit three countries and all 50 states; 
    - it likely will be seen and celebrated by over 200,000 people;

Citizens are encouraged to participate in these events to help celebrate the 
rivers of Michigan and those across the nation.  For more information on any 
of the Michigan "Pass the Paddle" celebrations, contact Scott McEwen with the 
Michigan River Network at 231-347-1181, who is Michigan's Rivers 2000 State 
Coordinator.  More information on the national Pass the Paddle event and the 
RIVERS 2000 project is available from national Project Manager Doug Carter at 
517-627-8362, or at the Rivers 2000 website, www.rivers2000.org. 

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