White River

The Awesome Mitten-White River 01
Photo courtesy of Happy Mohawk

There’s nothing more relaxing than getting away from the rush of everyday events while adding a little nature into life. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in luck.

The White River is located approximately nineteen miles north of Muskegon and flows through the southern tip of the Manistee National Forest.

A trip down the river is the very definition of scenic. The river makes its way through the forest and the rolling topology hides most homes and cabins from view.

I wanted to find someone with some insight into the White River and I got a chance to talk with Joy Cordroy of Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery. Joy and her husband Jim have been running Happy Mohawk for thirty-five years and their campground, White River RV Park & Campground, for thirty-eight years. The couple bought the campground after moving back to Michigan from North Carolina.

The Awesome Mitten-White River 02
Photo courtesy of Happy Mohawk

According to Cordroy, the river is classified as a gentle slope river, with a current of three to five miles per hour.

“To me, it’s safe,” Cordroy said. “You don’t have to be an avid swimmer to enjoy the White River.”

Happy Mohawk rents canoes, kayaks and rafts to visitors to the river. Excursions range between one and seven hours long.

Despite the leisurely pace of the river, a trip down it can still be an adventure.

“The river constantly changes.”  Cordroy said. “ Mother Nature trims trees, re-routes the water from time to time. It is not a straight river – it has bends and curves to it.”

She also described the various obstacles that arise every now and then.

“Sometimes you have to maneuver around a downed tree like we had [this summer],” Cordroy said. “You can expect almost anything.”

But according to Cordroy, such obstacles don’t bother most river enthusiasts. Most visitors decide to make the trip even when they receive the warnings.

The Awesome Mitten-White River 03
Photo courtesy of Happy Mohawk

And why not? Navigating the river is part of the fun, right? Or maybe it is just a small price to pay to take in the natural beauty of the water, the woods, and the wildlife.

Happy Mohawk visitors have spotted eagles earlier this spring and Cordroy hopes they are still in the vicinity.

Along the White River it is not uncommon to find beavers and water fowl, but the river is known for another water-loving creature.

“We have a lot of turtles on this river,” Cordroy said. “They lay their eggs in June, so we know they’re there.”

And in fact, there are fifteen different kinds of turtles on the White River.

But some visitors to the river seek out the game fish that populate the waters. Fishermen catch everything from king salmon to perch along the waterway.

You can check out Happy Mohawk on Facebook or find out more about the White River at the Department of Natural Resources.

~ Jeremy Beyma, Feature Writer