Feel good, do good

River culture is a vital part of the vibrant communities along the Huron River Water Trail. In August, Rivers Edge Brewing Company in Milford will honor this connection by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sales of its State Fair SMaSH IPA to the Huron River Watershed Council through the Feelgood Tap program.

Huron River upstream of Milford's Central Park

Huron River upstream of Milford’s Central Park and River’s Edge Brewing Company. Kory Zhao is a freelance writer/editor with a passion for kayaking and environmental issues living in Saline, MI.

“I’ve been wanting to work with the watershed council because we’re right here on the river in Milford,” says Rivers Edge co-owner Ryan Wiltse. “The river is vital to our culture and community and the watershed council is doing great work with the river trails.”

Rivers Edge joined the Feelgood Tap program in 2015, says Wiltse. Participating bars and breweries select a beer each month and donate the proceeds from its sale to local nonprofits.

Every year the Rivers Edge staff kayaks together down the river, Wiltse says. The brewery’s location is ideal resting point for those kayaking from Proud Lake Recreation Area who want a drink or meal. Wiltse recommends kayakers beach their crafts at Milford’s Central Park just past the brewery and walk back. It’s easier than trying to climb the slick rocks that line the bank next to the brewery’s sign.

Kayaking from the Proud Lake to Central Park is a easy 2.5-mile trip that leads you around bends and under five bridges. My recent weekday paddling trip saw several couples fishing or coasting along enjoying the scenery. I started at Heavner Canoe and Kayak Rental where I was warned that weekends have been busy, so weekend renters should plan ahead.

The river was high when I set off, with the aquatic plant life sticking to my paddles at the launch site. In shallower sections I spotted striped fish. The lovely isolation I experienced in the state recreation area slowly gave way to civilization as I passed the first bridge. The river winds past Potter’s Field and Oak Grove Cemetery, where I spotted a great blue heron nestled along the river bank. A mourning dove watched my progress through the second bridge, while a yellow billed cuckoo eyed me from a private dock. During the hour and half paddle, I also spotted a hawk circling above, two pairs of sleepy mute swans, red winged blackbirds and a northern cardinal. Throughout the trail, I navigated around logs and trees that formed islands covered in a variety of mating dragon flies.

After stopping at Central Park, Wiltse recommends continuing downriver to the Kensington Metropark. “The water is slightly faster moving when you get past the dam and there are just some really great places to stop and relax,” he said.


  • Proud Lake Recreation Area’s public canoe launch is at 3540 N. Wixom Road in Milford, (map). Drivers should turn at the “Huron River Fishing Site” to get to the launch parking lot.
  • Renters can visit the Heavner Canoe and Kayak Rental at 2775 Garden Road.
  • Both parking areas require state Recreation Passports, which can be purchased with cash at the entrance booths.
  • River’s Edge Brewing Company is at 125 South Main Street, Suite 400 in Milford. Hours: Tues-Thurs. 4-11 p.m.; Friday 2 p.m.-Midnight; Saturday: Noon-Midnight; Sunday: Noon-9 p.m.
  • Learn more to see and do in Milford, one of five trail towns on the Water Trail.

Thanks to our guest blogger Kory Zhao for this post! Kory is a freelance writer/editor with a passion for kayaking and environmental issues living in Saline, MI. 

Follow the Huron River Water Trail to Adventure

Favorite River Trips for Outdoor Fun

The staff of the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) works to protect and restore the Huron River. And they know it well! Spending quality play-time in, on and near the water gives them a

Paddling the Barton Nature Area, Ann Arbor

Paddling the Barton Nature Area, Ann Arbor, while a Great Blue Heron flies overhead by Daniel Brown.

chance to relax and reflect on their work. You too may enjoy some of their favorite trips and activities:

For even more ideas go to Recommended Trips under the Explore tab. Whether you have an hour or a day, there you will find ideas for river trips, flat water paddling, outfitters and even rapid runs divvied up by section.

Happy exploring. We’ll see you on the river!