Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Fresh, Clean Water: Swimming the Huron River

9. July 2007 • Juliew
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We think we need a lot of things in life, but the most important resource humans need is fresh, clean water. – Liz Elling

A reader writes:

Liz Elling’s summer 2007 swim down the Huron River schedule includes this stretch:

Sunday, July 15 Barton Dam to Geddes Dam at Dixboro Road.

In response to a question about when Liz might arrive at the Broadway St. Bridge, Jennifer Wolf, of the Huron River Watershed Council writes:

“The variables are if the water is clean enough (i.e. was there a heavy rain event up to 48 hours prior? If so, she must boat the stretch to avoid exposure to pollutants washed into the river during a heavy rain – fertilizer, motor oil, etc.) and deep enough (at least 4 ft. deep to swim). If it is not clean enough or deep enough she boats – thus moving faster.

That said, start time is 9 am. I’d expect her to get to Broadway Bridge around 11:00 am – look for bright yellow! It’s the color of her jersey and of the escort boat flags.”



  1. I saw on arborweb that there is a 7 mile hike along the river that will shadow her swim. I’m trying to talk myself into getting my butt out of bed on Sunday and going :)


       —TeacherPatti    Jul. 9 '07 - 11:16PM    #
  2. I’d like to see Ann Arbor bring back the swimming beach that used to be by the canoe livery way, way back when — if only to raise awareness of how often the river is and isn’t safe for swimming.


       —mw    Jul. 9 '07 - 11:45PM    #
  3. “swimming beach that used to be by the canoe livery”

    Was that Argo or Gallup? Any idea what decade?


       —HD    Jul. 10 '07 - 12:11AM    #
  4. I remember people swimming the huron along Huron River Drive (the one that goes from the end of main street to dexter), though I don’t remember myself swimming there. There was a tire swing somewhere along the way. What I do remember is growing up with signs in gallup park saying that it wasn’t safe to have contact with the water. Those signs where up in the late 80’s for sure, not sure how long into the 90s they where up too.


       —just a voice    Jul. 10 '07 - 02:50AM    #
  5. “Was that Argo or Gallup? Any idea what decade?”

    It was Argo, and according to this it was the 30’s and 40’s.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Jul. 10 '07 - 12:55PM    #
  6. I am pretty sure that someone told me that people regularly swam in Barton Pond up until the 70’s or so. I seem to remember them mentioning that there was some event about that time that polluted the pond and everyone found another place to go.


       —abc    Jul. 10 '07 - 02:37PM    #
  7. And of course kids still jump off the railroad bridge into Argo, but I think that’s more about the jumping than the swimming.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Jul. 10 '07 - 02:48PM    #