Cass recreational opportunities on the rise
There will be more recreational opportunities on the Cass River this summer and in the near future.
Frankenmuth Parks and Recreation Director Daren Kaschinske said a new company called Port Austin Kayak & Bike Rental LLC will set up in Heritage Park, likely May through October.
The Frankenmuth City Council approved a three-year concession agreement with firm, per the parks and recreation commission’s blessing, at its February meeting.
Christopher Boyle is the owner of the company. Currently, the business serves the tip of Thumb with kayak, paddle board and bicycle rentals and sales and will bring the same services to Frankenmuth.
Although an exact location has yet to be determined in Heritage Park, Boyd will likely set up north of the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion, near the portable floating dock. Nothing will be built in permanence.
hris has a lot of energy and he’s really excited to bring his business to Frankenmuth,” Kaschinske said.
Port Austin Kayak will offer only out and back trips, meaning all excursions originate at the park location and persons must return to the site.
Frankenmuth Coach owner John Hoornstra has been offering canoe and kayak trips, dropping off groups up stream (Tuscola, Vassar and Caro, for example) and meets the group later in the day in Frankenmuth.
Boyd will offer rentals from one hour to one week on watercraft and bikes.
In other news concerning the Cass River, the council at Tuesday night’s meeting approved a resolution of support for a grant application by the City of Vassar to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Trust Fund for a kayak and canoe launch.
With the Vassar dam recently removed, the new launch will be located on the opposite side of the Townsend North Pavilion.
Frankenmuth installed its dock below the dam in 2011 and shortly thereafter the Village of Tuscola built one, using the same DNR Trust Fund dollars. The Beyer Road Bridge, just west of Frankenmuth, also has a launch and picnic area, underwritten by the Frankenmuth Jaycees.
The council also gave its support to similar launch for Bridgeport, which is seeking two locations – one near Dixie Highway and the other behind the Bridgeport Township Hall.
Caro is the next likely launch destination, possibly at M-46.
Although final approval is likely, neither project will be built this year.
These launches match the Cass River Greenway Committee’s goals for recreational use of the river. The CRGC is headquartered in Frankenmuth.
Ideally, launches should be placed about every five miles, which makes for a 1-2 hour paddle or float downstream, Kaschinske said.
rankenmuth supports the collaboration between communities in making the Cass River a destination for this recreational use,” Kaschinske said.
Despite this record-breaking cold weather here this season, there are no plans to install an ice rink inside the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion in the future.
Instead, tentative plans are being made to use the 30,000-square foot building for such sports as baseball, softball, tennis and soccer, especially as a practice facility.
Kaschinske said everything is preliminary as the walls and ceiling would need netting protection and a supplemental heating source would have to be installed.
Many Frankenmuth High School coaches have been clamoring for more practice space and facilities and the Kern Pavilion could fit that bill.
“We could take a few of the outdoor sports and move them inside for drills and practice,” Kaschinske noted.
As for building an outdoor rink, Kaschinske does not see that as an option in the near future as well.