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 at Christmas of 2011.
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.
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.
Blue Water River Walk County 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.
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 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.
- Seven Grandfather Teachings sculptures by Shawnee Ojibwe artist, Garrett Nahdee, surrounded by a giitigan (Anishinaabe for garden) with native plants. The oak wood carvings depict seven animals representing each value: The bear (courage), the bison (respect), the wolf (humility), the eagle (love), the beaver (wisdom), the turtle (truth), and the raven (honesty).
- The Military Street tunnel murals are the work of more than 30 artists from the Blue Water Area.
Who owns the River Walk?
The River Walk is owned by the Blue Water Land Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that was created by and is a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.
Who manages the River Walk?
The daily care and maintenance of the Blue Water River Walk is managed by St. Clair County Parks & Recreation. We are thankful for this partnership in caring for our beautiful riverfront. Be sure to check out their impressive expansion project, with renovations to the River Walk park and recreation spaces, as well as the addition of a pavilion and other amenities.
Any questions or concerns regarding the River Walk should be directed to: Dennis Delor at 810-989-6960.
Why is the Community Foundation involved in land preservation?
- Our mission includes helping our donors achieve their philanthropic goals. Mr. Acheson wanted to guarantee public access in perpetuity and the preservation of the shoreline. The Community Foundation can do that.
- The Community Foundation already co-owns Studio 1219 as well as farmland.
- The Foundation established a permanent endowment fund for the River Walk that will give donors the opportunity to help protect and support the River Walk for generations to come.
- Donating the land to the Foundation removes any potential political conflicts and also makes the land and project eligible for State and/or Federal grants.
- Donors interested in exploring gifts of real estate such as farmland can contact Jackie at 810-984-4761 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in a guided tour, field trip or volunteer opportunity with the River Walk, please contact the Friends of the St. Clair River at email@example.com or contact them at scriver.org. The Friends of the St. Clair River is coordinating and leading all activities related to programming, volunteer management and outreach.