‘The Rocks’ get removed from Paint Creek

‘The Rocks’ get removed from Paint Creek
Graffiti or Art? -- Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but these ‘eyes’ are no more after ‘The Rocks’ were removed this week.
Graffiti or Art? — Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but these ‘eyes’ are no more after ‘The Rocks’ were removed this week.

By Jim Newell

 

Review Editor

The large concrete slabs in Paint Creek near the Clarkston and Kern roads intersection have restricted the flow of the creek for decades.

It’s also been a long-standing tradition for vandals to paint graffiti and messages on the rocks, leeching paint into the natural watershed.

Now, Orion Township is removing “The Rocks” from Paint Creek.

Despite the local love of “The Rocks” and the tradition of spray painting graffiti, homecoming proposals and often profane messages on the concrete slabs, the tradition is an ecological nightmare for the creek and its wildlife.

“We’ve been working toward it for quite some time. There’s latex-based, oil-based paint leaking into the watershed – it’s not a natural substance that should be flowing through the creek,” said Orion Township Parks Director Aaron Whatley.

“It’s also one of the last cold water reproducing trout streams in southeast Michigan. We’d like to preserve that resource,” Whatley said.

The remnants of the Rudd Mill Dam – locally known as “The Rock” – have sat in the creek for more than 100 years, according to a press release from Orion Township.

The project is being done pro bono by two companies that agreed to assist the township with the removal of the rocks. Staging to remove the concrete slabs began on Monday, with removal on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Superior Excavating will provide the heavy equipment, with one excavator staged down at the rocks to break up the concrete slabs. A second excavator will be positioned atop the hill, and the first excavator will pass up the debris to the hilltop excavator, which will then load it into trucks.

Orion Township business Warren Aggregates, LLC, will haul away the rocks for crushing.

Orion Township released a statement, dated Sept. 26, about the removal of the concrete slabs:

“After months of planning and coordinating with many local, state, nonprofit and private partners, on September 25, 2017, Superior Excavating began work in the area of Clarkston Road and Kern Road removing the Rudds Mill Dam remnants.

“The removal of the Rudds Mill Dam remnants is truly a great day for our ecosystem. For over 100 years the remnants of the dam has been restricting the natural flow of Paint Creek. We are extremely fortunate to work with so many dedicated individuals in our community.

“Those individuals working on the project donated their time and resources to protecting and preserving our natural resources. We would like to thank Superior Excavating, Jack Warren, DEQ, MDNR, Clinton River Watershed Council, SEMCOG and Paint Creek Trailways Commission.”

Matt Einheuser of the Clinton River Watershed Council said the concrete slabs alter the natural flow of the stream and, along with the debris collecting around the slabs, create a damming-effect.

“The remnants from the Rudds Mill Dam that currently lay in the Paint Creek near the Kern and Clarkston intersection not only detract from the aesthetics of this cold-water stream that runs through Bald Mountain, but also has significant impacts to the ecology of the river and its health,” he said. “Overall, the removal of this debris will restore the natural flows through that section of stream, remove a potential barrier to fish passage, and help restore the natural condition of the stream and its ecology.”

14 Responses to "‘The Rocks’ get removed from Paint Creek"

  1. Molly   September 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    It would of been nice to see the rocks be placed on display for our kids to see and hear the stories behind the rocks… :(

    Reply
  2. Bitch   September 26, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I remember the first and last time I ever visited there, high as fuck on acid, cop stopped us thought we were smoking weed. Searched us and didnt find anything got an official ticket that was for “climbing rocks”

    Reply
  3. lily   September 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    DO NOT TAKE OUR ROCKS *rawr*

    Reply
  4. Suzette Williams   September 28, 2017 at 7:53 am

    This breaks my heart. Been going there for 40 years. My parents took me there, I’ve taken my children there, my daughter takes my grandson there. The ROCKS is a huge part of LO. So much peace & good memories there. I understand about the paint getting in stream but seriously their not holding up or stopping the stram/xreek/river…whatever you may call it. I have and always will consider it the ROCKS. A era is closing out in SO many ways. VERY sad that this is a part of the end.

    Reply
  5. Suzette Williams   September 28, 2017 at 7:55 am

    This breaks my heart. Been going there for 40 years. My parents took me, I’ve taken my children , my daughter takes my grandson there. The ROCKS is a huge part of LO. So much peace & good memories there. I understand about the paint getting in stream but seriously their not holding up or stopping the stream/creek/river…whatever you may call it. I have and always will consider it the ROCKS. A era is closing out in SO many ways. VERY sad that this is a part of the end.

    Reply
    • ecologist   September 30, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      fish cannot pass though an area of water that is too fast to swim through…. the rocks were creating a much narrower channel for the water to flow through, which increased the streams velocity. (think about how putting your finger partially over the opening to your garden house makes the water squirt out much faster and harder even though the water in the hose is still moving at the same speed) Fish were unable to swim through this fast section of the stream, creating a fish passage barrier. This limits their resources and places to spawn.

      Reply
  6. timmy   September 28, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    r.i.p. cultural heritage, this is subtle gentrification!

    Reply
  7. Rick Ross   September 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Noooooo…. :(
    Can’t they just clean up the paint when the water is low? They’d get hundreds of volunteers, if it keeps the rocks there. Where’s the PROTEST people!?!
    I had my 1st make out session there, my first joint and so many memo

    Reply
  8. Rick Ross   September 29, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    (2)… so many memories there, with HS girlfriends. You’re killing my CHILDHOOD.
    Noooooooooo!!!

    Reply
  9. LJ   September 30, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Awesome! I went to the rocks as a teenager too, but I also fished when I was a kid… I’d rather my kids be able to catch fish in the creek (and as adults too) than grafitti rocks as a teenager. More than one cultural aspect is in play here and I think that the living creatures are more important!

    Reply
  10. Jim   October 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Molly needs to get a life!!!

    Reply
    • James Newell   October 2, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Jim,

      I am unsure of why you are referring to Molly. A Molly was never mentioned in connection to the removal of the Paint Creek rocks.

      Reply
  11. John Ryan   November 23, 2017 at 2:02 am

    This place was a part of many people’s life. It was actually a part of culture for Lake Orion. There is no other place like this that I know of on the planet and Lake Orion wants to remove it?

    http://30mom.com/vault/suburban-legend

    Reply
  12. gene   November 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I ride my bike regularly on Paint Creek trail and it’s nice to see that area cleaned up. I was tired of seeing all the “profanity” and “genitalia” spray painted on the fences and trees.

    Reply

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