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Author Topic:   St Joe, MI July 4?
meridian posted 06-30-2010 05:38 PM ET (US)   Profile for meridian   Send Email to meridian  
Anyone in the area? Fireworks Saturday night. We plan to be there.
1974katama posted 07-01-2010 10:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for 1974katama  Send Email to 1974katama     
Going to try and make it if I don't work all weekend. Hard part is going to be finding a place to park the truck and trailer. The only launch I've ever used there was the public access on Riverview in Benton Harbor and that place fills up quick! Any suggestions?
Buckda posted 07-01-2010 10:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The city of St. Joseph has a fine facility directly across the river from the State facility in Benton Harbor.

There is a significant cost differential, and the cross-current can sometimes be strong at the ramp, however, there is a LOT of parking available, and you can overflow down the road toward Brian's Marina, and even extend toward Pier 33 on the other side of the island, if needed.

Harbor Isle Marina will also let you use their ramp for a fee (or at least, they have in the past).

If you have a smaller boat, I think there is still a ramp up at Eagle Point Marina, and if you're really into riverine boating, the Benton Township Ramp located under the I-94 overpass is good. Take the M-134 exit N one stoplight and turn left toward the Ramada Inn, pass the hotel, turn left and follow the road to that park.

That ramp can be scary at night because the lot is not always lit and it's pretty remote with some rough characters who hang around at times. I used that ramp often in the early 90's when I was in High School because it is free...however, it is NOT convenient.

Terry - I don't think I'm going to make it down that way this weekend.


Buckda posted 07-01-2010 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
You can see the St. Joseph city facility on this map, just south of the Benton Harbor ramp:,-86.46811&spn=0. 007881,0.013797&t=h&z=16

It appears that Eagle Point took out their ramp.

Here is the one in Benton Township:,-86.448219&spn=0. 003943,0.006899&t=h&z=17

1974katama posted 07-01-2010 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for 1974katama  Send Email to 1974katama     
Hey, Thanks! Great information.
Buckda posted 07-01-2010 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
No problem.

Sorry some of my information is's been awhile since I lived in the area.

The river has significant shoaling above the State ramp in Benton Harbor. Unfortunately, the commercial navigation ends very close to the mouth of the river, so they don't dredge it well. You can see the "ruins" of attempted public access points at Riverbend Park (Fairplain) and Riverview Park in St. Joseph Charter Township. Extensive shoaling has made those virtually impossible to use save jet skis and kayaks/paddlecraft.

It is also not bouyed above the island, either (though it never really was). Tough for the bigger boats to get to Eagle Pointe (which was "whispering willows" and VERY rustic when my family had a slip there in the late '70's and early '80's!

Have fun. Looks like a great weekend weather-wise.

meridian posted 07-01-2010 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for meridian  Send Email to meridian     
We plan on getting there esarly afternoon and stay through the fireworks. We will run up to South Haven or down to New Buffalo. I'll bne monitering Channel 9. Call sign is meridian.
Moby Dick posted 07-03-2010 07:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moby Dick  Send Email to Moby Dick     
I come out the St Joe river frequently. I wouldn't put in anywhere other than the DNR state dock in Benton Harbor. Leaving there, stay extremely close to the starboard side of the river until you pass under the 1st bridge. Past the 1st bridge won't be any problem. A couple of hundred yard downriver from the docks (near boat slips) the water is only about 3 1/2 feet deep. I wouldn't recommend starting anywhere further up than the Benton Harbor DNR ramp. One other important point is to not launch from the 2 docks closing to the shore. I sucked up mud with my Montauk with the motor lifted up.

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