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Paddling the Watersheds- Black and Paw Paw Rivers

It has been said that we protect only what we love, so we want people to love their watersheds. To foster that love affair, TRC offers paddling trips during the warmer seasons to bring paddlers to the waterways to learn more about the watersheds. 


  • We partner with Van Buren Conservation District to support “Paddling with a Naturalist” on inland lakes to learn about our lakes and many of its plants (good and bad).
  • The past few years we have been offering a June paddle trip on the Paw Paw River to learn about and observe Prothonotary Warblers. These birds are indicator species of the flood plain forest and signal that the habitat and hydrology are functioning ecologically. This is planned for early June to coincide with the nesting of the warblers along the river. Please check the events calendar page for planned date.
  • Near the end of the warmer season, we sponsor a paddling trip to the lower Black River to enjoy the fall colors. The fall colors generally peak near the 3rd week of October, so our trip is planned for the 3rd or 4th Sunday in October. Please check the events calendar page for planned date.
  • On Facebook, the “Paw Paw River Paddle Club” is a social outlet to join paddlers on the Paw Paw River and the “Paw Paw River Water Trail” Facebook page keeps the communities informed on water trail events.          
  • Follow Two Rivers Coalition on Facebook to receive details of paddling events.

Two Rivers Coalition Paddling Trips encourages paddlers to be good stewards of our waterways by following the Leave No Trace principals.

We also want all paddlers to be safe on the waters, so personal floatation is required on our trips.

The American Canoe Association provides good safety reminders and training guidance so please utilize these resources to improve your paddling and safety on the water.

ACA Resource Library

Safe Paddling Fun Video


One of the challenges of paddling in the watersheds is tree falls in the waterways and changing water levels. High water levels may create increased risk of getting pinned against downed trees but may also allow for floating over downed trees. Low water levels create a greater chance of being stopped by downed trees and having to portage around or over tree falls. Generally speaking, water levels are higher in the spring and fall and lower in the summer. The chart below shows average water levels on the Paw Paw River. Tree falls are cut each year to create a narrow paddling path, but trees can fall after these paths are cut. The rivers are always changing so keep that in mind. Be safe on the water and plan your outings accordingly. 




This page last updated on 5/23/2024.

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