May 23, 2019 Adventure Paddle Trip Report – South Branch of the Galien River near New Buffalo MI. A paddle on the main branch of the Galien River last week resulted in a ¼ mile side trip up the South Branch which revealed that the river was fairly clear and showed evidence of chain saw cutting on logs and branches. This branch is about 30-60 feet wide so it is prone to log jams and fallen trees. Time for an adventure paddle to explore the south branch.
On Thursday 5/23/2019, Bob K, Steve L and I put in at Kesling Nature Preserve on West Forest Lawn Road and paddled 4.7 miles to Glassman Park. The put in is 200 ft inside the gate down the trail to a low bank on your left that allows easy access. This is a beautiful and remote river winding through tree covered river bottom land with steep mud banks alternating with high, steep hills that forces the river into tight bends. We encountered four portages across land, two river passes requiring hand saw cutting to work through the downed trees and numerous work arounds and scoot overs. The three bridges we crossed under were all wide open without obstructions. Although we encountered much downfall, there were long stretches of open water making for a pleasant paddle. The water level was higher than normal and the current was swift in many sections which negated our backup plan to paddle back upstream if we found any insurmountable obstacles. Progress was slow requiring four hours to complete the 4.7 miles.
We saw much evidence of chain saw cutting over the past years so someone is trying to maintain the river in an open condition. If anyone knows the person who is working to open the river, I would like to thank them for their efforts and making this trip possible.
Distances are as follows:
Kesling NP to Lakeside Rd. bridge 0.8 miles
Lakeside Rd. bridge to Hwy 12 bridge 1.9 miles
Hwy 12 bridge to Kruger Rd. bridge 1.4 miles
Kruger Rd. bridge to confluence at Glassman Park 0.6 miles
Total: Kesling NP to Glassman Park 4.7 miles
River/Creek (Up to Class II)
Number of Portages: