Monday, March 16, 2009

Charlie's 2008 Odyssey VI

Does Portage Creek deserve to be called a River? (On some old maps it is called Portage River which is confusing since that makes for two Portage Rivers, one in each watershed).
Hugh's Journal April 12 1790 (my "translation"): "We passed the last lake ( Portage Lake) to the west-northwest which, after a traverse of about a league, brought us into a small serpentine river...About 2 leagues up the river we encamped late."
William Atherton was a soldier in the Kentucky Militia who survived the River Raisin Massacre in January of 1813 and was adopted by a band of Indians and taken to their wintering place somewhere in the Grand River valley.  In the spring they constructed canoes (probably of elm bark) to return to Detroit. When they reached the south end of the 
portage which Heward and his crew had crossed 23 years earlier Atherton said "...we took up our canoes and carried them three or four miles...the ridge over which we carried our canoes divides the waters between Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. After entering this stream we advanced finely, finding fish in great abundance...This was one of the most beautiful little rivers I ever beheld---"
Charlie's report of April 17 said "I would call it more of a small river than a creek".
My suggestion: Rename the channelized Portage River in Jackson County Portage Ditch and let Portage Creek become Portage River or at least Little Portage River.

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