Location guides sought for Paw Paw River

COLOMA — The Coloma Township Parks and Recreation Committee wants to help travelers on the Paw Paw River so if they run into trouble, first responders can get to them easily.

Trustee Bryan Duffield, who sits on the committee, told the full Township Board on Wednesday night that the committee is working to put some sort of markers or signage along the river.

“We’re just going to put our heads together with the fire departments, public works and the county to see what would help or what could work,” he said. “This could help people who aren’t in trouble, as well as in trouble, tell where they’re at, or how far along in the river section they are, so they know what they’re up against.”

Duffield said the parks committee really wants to do this because it will help prevent tragedies like the one a few weeks ago when a kayaker was in distress and couldn’t be located on the river. A man died after he and his wife had stopped for a brief swim and the man got into trouble while swimming.

Coloma Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski said 911 was pinging the phone in a completely different location than where the kayaker was.

Duffield said most of the river between Watervliet and Coloma is all trees and retaining walls.

“The people that have been in trouble are providing the best information because we asked what would have helped them and signage was it,” he said. “Hopefully we can make this something that’s user-friendly for the public and will aid us in helping people.”

In other business, Duffield reported that the Parks and Recreation Committee is looking for comments from the public on its new five-year parks and recreation plan.

The plan runs out at the end of the year, and to be eligible for grants, the township needs to update it. 

Paper surveys are available at the Township Hall and the Coloma Library. It will also soon be available on the township’s website, www.colomatownship.org. The committee is hoping to get the surveys back before Sept. 16.

The committee will host a public input session on the new plan before the next township board meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 11.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman