Couple want help cleaning up river here

Published 2:58 pm Friday, September 5, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Gus and Jennifer Geisleman have owned Niles Canoe Rental for only four months.
But the South Bend, Ind., based couple, who have been passionate canoers for a long time, have already fallen in love with the Dowagiac River.
That's also why they are making an effort to keep the 26-mile stretch they use for their canoe, kayak and tubing tours clean.
He expects most of the cleaning up will be done around the public access area around the Pucker Street dam, where many people launch their canoes and kayaks.
The Geislemans, who will do clean-up runs at noon and 2 p.m. each day, hope to remove a few tires, old glass beer bottles and other things that people have left behind.
They hope people who are interested in keeping the river clean will take the opportunity to get a day on the river without being charged for canoe rental.
Gus, who logs 500 canoeing hours each year, said the Dowagiac River is unique because it's 80 per cent spring fed, and stays cool and clear all year round.
That is also why he has adopted the river through the Department of Natural Resources river adoption program, to take care of it and do his part to make sure it stays the way it is.
He said on the 26-mile stretch the canoe rental uses, the river landscape changes several times.
That includes straight stretches of river; places with dense forest, as well as some white water stretches.
For the people who decide to take part in the clean up, however, Gus said there will be some waiting.
And, the clean up will include doing some work.
However, Gus doesn't expect there to be a lot of debris in and around the river.
The Geisleman's said family and friends have already promised to help out with the clean up.
Those wishing to take part in the clean up must call and let the clean up organizers know in advance when they will be coming, Gus said.
He said staff will accompany all clean up runs, which will take place unless there is severe weather.
He also said everyone who wish to take part in the clean up should be capable of self rescue.
For more information about the clean up, call 683-5110.