YAC president Abbey Dombrowski speaks at the Southern California Youth & Next Gen Philanthropy Gathering conference
Blue Water River Walk
The Blue Water River Walk is almost one-mile of St. Clair River shoreline immediately south of the mouth of the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan. It is less than a mile downriver from the Blue Water Bridge to Sarnia and the southern end of Lake Huron. Owned by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, the Blue Water River Walk is open to the public year-round.
The shoreline used to create this beautiful River Walk was donated to the Community Foundation of St. Clair County by local philanthropist James C. Acheson and his wife Suzanne at Christmas of 2011. This initial gift, valued at approximately $1.5 million, has now been leveraged to create a total public and private partnership investing more than $6,000,000.
Observation Dock: the old railroad ferry dock, which dates back to the early 1900’s, has been fully restored and re-opened to the public. Once used to help transport goods back-and-forth to Sarnia, the Ferry Dock is now a beautiful patio overlooking the St. Clair River. For private rentals of the Ferry Dock see instructions below.
Pedestrian Trail: using partial funding from the Transportation Enhancement Grant Program of MDOT, the Community Foundation raised matching private donations that allowed us to build a 10’ wide asphalt pedestrian trail along the entire length of the shoreline. This trail is a key component of the Bridge to Bay Trail system.
Outdoor Classroom: At the north end of the River Walk, just north of the Observation Dock, is our Outdoor Classroom. Intended as a true interactive learning environment, the Outdoor Classroom is meant to teach the public about the St. Clair River ecosystem and the plant and wildlife habitat found along the River Walk.
Shoreline & Habitat Restoration: Approximately 4,300 feet of St. Clair River shoreline was completely restored and rehabilitated in 2013, utilizing the grant funding from the GLRI. In the spring of 2014 we completed our shallow water habitat restoration efforts. During this work, and including the Pilot Phase work done in 2012, almost 7,000 tons of debris was removed from the site.
County Wetlands Park: Our partners at St. Clair County Parks & Recreation received a $1 million grant to develop a new wetlands park on the very southern end of the River Walk.
Fishing Pier: To help enhance public access for fishing and recreation, the Community Foundation built a fishing pier on the southern end of the River Walk, just south of the Gray Fox ship. This is an expensive and complicated project, and although Phase I is complete, Phase II could take another year.
Public Art: One of the many fantastic enhancements of the Blue Water River Walk is public art. Adding public art and artifacts is another way we have been able to embellish our River Walk and make it more interesting for visitors.
- Sugar, the Iron Horse is a nearly 7 foot tall horse made from metal scraps and parts.
- Stella Clair is a more than 1,000 pound metal sturgeon fabricated by Michigan native, Lou Rodriquez.
- Petroglyphs with a Native American theme have been carved into a large boulder near the Observation Dock
- A mural featuring native fish has been put up on the River Rats Club building
- A capstan was donated by Marjorie Patterson, whose husband, the late Bill Patterson, was a local diver who recovered it from the bottom of the river. The capstan is from the schooner/barge John B. Martin, which was rammed and sunk near the mouth of the St. Clair River in 1900.
Private Party and Event Reservations
Some components of the River Walk, such as the Observation Dock, are available for private rentals. All requests for private rentals will be granted or denied at the sole discretion of the Community Foundation. You may call the Foundation offices at 810-984-4761 with questions.