Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynne Heasley

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The decline in Michigan's economy and rapid loss of manufacturing jobs has forced communications to look towards new possibilities. The state's abundant water resources have potential to enhance regional economies and improve the quality of life. The Michigan Heritage Water Trails Program was initiated in 2002 by Michigan Public Act 454 in response to a lack of established routes in the state. The Portage Creek is located within the Kalamazoo River Watershed, which is being explored as a pilot project for a connected system of regional water trails. The study area of the Portage Creek is located entirely within the boundaries of the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage, Michigan. The upstream portions are a coldwater trout stream, while the downstream reach is heavily industrialized and included in the Kalamazoo River National Priorities List site. This study thoroughly examines navigation and potential access points on the Portage Creek. A GPS unit was used to collect crossing and hazard data. Local heritage themes relating to Kalamazoo and Portage were developed for interpretive signage along the route. Projects to improve Creek navigation are suggested, along with a brief evaluation of the impacts of dams on recreation and ecology.

Included in

Geography Commons