By David Fleet
For parts of the past 40 years Doc Fletcher has been on, near or in Michigan Rivers.
“It was the Pere Marquette on May 20, 1978,” said Fletcher. “I was just 23 years old and some friends invited me to go canoeing—I just fell in love with it.”
While spending his days in the corporate world of Duracell—Fletcher invested time canoeing Michigan Rivers when ever possible.
“I would average four rivers per year at least,” he said. “About 10 years ago I started to write about it.”
From 6-7 p.m., May 8, the Brandon Township Public Library, 304 South St., will host Doc Fletcher, winner of the 2017 Author Award by the Michigan Library Association, lifelong state resident and PBS-featured canoeing and kayaking author, as he shares stories from his book, “Weekend Canoeing in Michigan.” Virtual tour of several rivers stretching from the Lower to Upper Pennisula.
“My goal is to write so you’ll have a mix of flat or slow water along with a few fast water rivers that are just a little more challenging,” he said. “The book highlights rivers that are no more than two hours from wherever you are in the state.”
A total of 20 Michigan paddling adventures are detailed the book “Weekend Canoeing in Michigan.”
Upper and Lower Peninsula rivers are included from slow meanders to more challenging runs on swift-flowing waters. Only rivers serviced by canoe ‘n kayak liveries are included. Featured rivers include:
Upper Peninsula rivers are the Fox, Manistique, Michigamme, Ontonagon and Two Hearted.
In the Lower Peninsula – AuSable South Branch, Chippewa, Flat, Huron, Jordan, Little Manistee, Little Muskegon, Muskegon, Pere Marquette, Pigeon, Pine, Platte, Rifle, Sturgeon and White rivers are explored.
Fletcher along with wife Maggie have hosted more than 200 talks on Michigan Rivers in the state and five in Wisconsin.
“We are so blessed in this state to have the resources we do,” he said. “Often people come up after the talk and share memories growing up about a specific rivers or community nearby.”
Each chapter opens with a river day trip outline, the histories of nearby towns, to directions to an local old-time tavern. The book also includes trip information including degree of difficulty, liveries to rent a canoe or kayak from, who will help with your own equipment, and key landmarks that act as your “clock on the water.”