Grand Rapids Whitewater


Grand Rapids Whitewater.

Of all the great initiatives and organizations (ArtPrize, Downtown Farmers Market, West Michigan Sports Commission, AimWest, Momentum-MI, just to name a few) that are happening in Grand Rapids,  I am absolutely, positively convinced that the Grand Rapids Whitewater project will have as big of an impact over time as all the “big ideas” that are under development.

Transforming a section of the Grand River into a recreational whitewater park (while still maintaining the fishery) will have benefits far beyond the enjoyment of water enthusiasts.

  • Transforming the Grand River banks and boardwalks into a destination for families to hang out and enjoy the water scene
  • The possibility of attracting competitive water sports events
  • The business of hungry and thirsty kayaking and rafting families spending their money downtown after a day on the rapids
  • Ancillary opportunities for entrepreneurs like rentals, concessions, tours, and  lessons
  • Adding another “intangible” benefit for individuals and families to live and work downtown
  • Focusing more attention on the care of the Grand River, water quality, sustainability, fisheries
  • Creating a safer river experience by eliminating the dangerous low-head dams
  • An overall enhancement to the quality of life.


Of course there is a lot to be done.  This project needs both public and private collaboration.  The City of Grand Rapids, downtown business owners, commercial real estate developers, taxpayers, special interest groups (like the Steelheaders) and many other groups are all important stakeholders in this discussion. But let’s keep moving forward.

If interested in volunteering or for more information contact Chip Richards from Grand Rapids Whitewater. You can also join their Facebook page for regular updates; GRWW.

“Help put Rapids back in the Grand! Make the Grand River the deserved focus of your city. This is a non-profit group of individuals, paddling clubs and businesses dedicated to helping Green Grand Rapids achieve the dream of landscaping our river and it’s banks with large rocks, boulders and whitewater features. It is our goal to partner with the city to restore the Grand to a safer, more natural, healthy and aesthetic waterway.”

Snapshot 2009-07-09 07-36-13


1 Comment

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One response to “Grand Rapids Whitewater

  1. Roger Starring

    I’m helping with this thing because I can see no downside. It just makes sense.

    Grand “Whuuuut”? Rapids? Where ARE they?

    They must have been impressive at one time. The city was named after them. With some vision, work, and support they could be again. Let’s make that happen.

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