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Kensington Metropark Boating

Kensington Metropark surrounds Kent Lake, a shallow, man-made lake built along the Huron River.  There are two large boat launches in the park, with East Boat Launch located just inside the park from the Kent Lake Road entrance, and West Boat Launch, located near the Kensington Road entrance, just past the golf course.

There is also a hand launch, suitable for only canoes and kayaks, located on the north side of the park, where Dawson Road crosses the river, and, when it’s open, there’s also a rental canoe launch inside the group campground which can be used.

Note: Unlike other Metroparks, Kensington often charges people entering the park with canoes and kayaks a “launch fee,” which is separate from the general park admission fee.  Annual permits do not cover this fee.  Although published park policy states that boats carried into the park “in or on vehicles” are not charged this fee, every time I’ve attempted to enter the park with kayaks on top of my car, they wanted to charge this fee.  This launch fee is used to cover construction and maintenance of the two large boat launches used by much larger boats.  Canoes and kayaks rarely, if ever, would want to use them.  For hand-carried boats that are usually launched from a grassy bank, while published park policy says you will not be charged, either due to lack of staff training or some other factor, you will likely either be charged the fee, or have to argue about it.  Neither option is especially fun.  Canoes and kayaks can avoid this fee by simply using the Dawson Road launch, or launching from Island Lake State Park, just to the south of Kensington, across I-96.  Don’t let this discourage you from visiting the park, as it is a great lake for canoes and kayaks, with small islands and plenty of little bays to explore.  If you are charged the fee, and choose to just pay it, please request a receipt and file a complaint with the Huron-Clinton Metroparks office.

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