DNR to unveil enhanced accessible features at Little Manistee weir

October 6, 2014

MANISTEE COUNTY — The Department of Natural Resources this week will show off the latest phase of upgrades made to the Little Manistee River Weir with support from a Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. Already a popular visitor destination, the weir is now better equipped to welcome an even larger number of visitors year-round while helping to support the multi-billion-dollar Great Lakes salmon and trout fishery.

Phase two of upgrades to the 46-year-old Manistee County facility is nearly complete, just in time for the annual Chinook salmon egg harvest operation, with universally accessible facilities that will now greet the thousands of visitors who make this a must-see destination. Phase one was completed in 2012 (courtesy of DNR funds) to address infrastructure upgrades and high-priority maintenance.

The public is welcome to join DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter and local officials Thursday, Oct. 9, at 10 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting event. The harvest of eggs from Chinook salmon will be in full operation and Fisheries Division personnel will be on hand to provide tours to schoolchildren. Tours also will be available for all attendees.

New and enhanced facilities at the weir include a universally accessible viewing platform that allows people of all ages, needs and abilities to safely and easily view the fall and spring migration of salmon and trout. There are also ADA-compliant restrooms for men and women, universally accessible parking, a paved drop-off area for visiting buses, and a universally accessible paved trail that will support guided and self-guided tours of the weir operations.

“It’s high time we have completed this next phase to fully harness the full potential of our Little Manistee Weir as a resource that supports our Great Lakes fishery and serves to educate and inform thousands of children and visitors about the importance of stewardship and the Great Lakes fishery,” Dexter said. “Thanks to the Natural Resources Trust Fund, we can welcome everyone to witness the annual migrations and egg-take operations of salmon and trout species.”

Future phases at the weir will focus on developing educational and informational resources for the universally accessible trail system on the property, enhanced canoe and kayak put-in and take-out amenities, an underwater viewing chamber, and increased partnerships to expand fisheries-related research initiatives.

The Manistee County Alliance for Economic Success collaborated with the DNR as part of its Explore the Shores initiative to successfully secure funding for the second phase of the Little Manistee Weir enhancement project and will continue to partner with the DNR to seek financial resources for future phases.

“This is a tremendous new resource and opportunity for all who live in or visit Manistee County,” said Tim Ervin, consultant to the Alliance for Economic Success and trustee of the Manistee County Community Foundation. “We appreciate the opportunity to work hand in hand with the DNR and all interests to make this a leading Michigan destination.”

For more information about the Little Manistee River Weir (including driving directions to the weir), visitwww.michigan.gov/fishing, click on Managing Michigan’s Fisheries, and then click on Fish Ladders and Weirs.

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