St. Clair River wetland boardwalk gets people up close to nature

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St. Clair Boardwalk and River

April 18, 2018

St. Clair River wetland boardwalk gets people up close to nature

Boardwalk and interpretive signage

Southeast Michigan’s St. Clair River is one of the world’s busiest waterways. Its waters flow from Lake Huron into Lake St. Clair through the largest delta in the Great Lakes, intersecting shipping lanes, abundant natural areas, and one of the state’s top water trail destinations.

Historically, the St. Clair River suffered from the impacts of pollution, but today transformative, award-winning work to restore the river has reinvented its waterfront. Investments in environmental restoration, economic development, and recreation projects have reconnected the community to its river.

Recently, Michigan’s Coastal Management Program in the Office of the Great Lakes partnered with St. Clair County to enhance this connection by building a new interpretive boardwalk over a restored coastal wetland on the river. The natural cedarwood boardwalk is wheelchair-accessible. Interpretive signage posted throughout the site provides opportunities for environmental education and citizen science, focusing on the area’s natural and cultural history.

The public access project brings people closer to nature, getting them up close to turtles, butterflies, frogs, wetland plants, and recovering species like lake sturgeon and mudpuppies. It is a prime birding location; the St. Clair River is known as a globally-important migratory flyway.

“This project has improved waterfront access for our local citizens and visitors of all abilities to enjoy the tremendous shoreline assets in St. Clair County,” said Lori Eschenburg of the St. Clair County Planning Commission.

Boardwalk over wetland

The interpretive boardwalk was funded in part through a partnership between Michigan’s Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program is part of a network of state-federal partnerships protecting America’s fresh and saltwater coasts.

The project leveraged previous investments St. Clair County and partners have made in the St. Clair River. The Michigan Coastal Management Program contributed to development of Michigan’s first national water trail with its support of the Blueways of St. Clair and funding of several public kayak launches.   

Learn more about Michigan’s Coastal Management Program at or contact Program Manager Ronda Wuycheck at

Michigan's Coastal Management Program celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018 with Year of the Coast. Follow online with #YearoftheCoast2018.

The Office of the Great Lakes works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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