Tubing down the Muskegon River

Tubing down the Muskegon River is a popular activity for Ferris students in the warmer months of the year. Many claim it to be something every student must do before graduating.
Tubing down the Muskegon River is a popular activity for Ferris students in the warmer months of the year. Many claim it to be something every student must do before graduating. Torch File Photo

Ferris students spend time participating in an old campus tradition
By: Travis Sacher | Torch Reporter

Tubing on the Muskegon River is one of the best summer activities for Ferris students who will staying in Big Rapids over the summer.

The river winds along the fringes of cam- pus, flowing south from its northern end and usually has a constant current. Students tend to begin their run at Northend Riverside Park, which is the same location as Big Rapids’ disc golf course.

“At the park there are fill up plugs to pump up tubes with air,” according to Ferris Nuclear Medicine major Alexis Areeda, who will be spending her second summer living in Big Rapids. “Tie your tube to your friend’s tube and set sail!”

Ferris healthcare administration gradu- ate Mark Anders will be spending his third summer in Big Rapids this season.

“Once we blow up our tubes at Northend, we tube until we reach Highbanks Park, which is off of M-20 just past Arby’s,” Anders said.

Areeda and Anders mentioned that the sail could take between an hour and a half and two and a half hours, depending on the speed of the currents. This time estimate is with no breaks or stops during the journey, however.

The trip can be prolonged if tubers stop at some popular resting points along the river to get some sun, jump off of trees or scale small cliffs.

Areeda and her friends, who frequently make these stops on their tubing outings, always make a stop at “Asshole Beach.” At this location they get the “best sunburn” you could ever hope for.

Although this activity is a favorite of Anders, he noted that there is one negative that comes with tubing down the river.

“Only bad part is one of the bridges we float under has old concrete that is falling off that could be dangerous,” said Anders. “There is also a huge piece of rebar sticking out of the water right before the bridge that may injure someone eventually. It already popped one of our tubes once.”

Tubing is a great outdoor activity to do with friends on a hot summer day. All you need is one tube per person, a pick up car at Highbanks Park and a drop off car at Northend Park.

The ride is generally harmless as bump- ing into rocks normally doesn’t hurt, especially if you are drinking, which Areeda made clear is commonly associated with tubing.

Grab yourself a tube and give this activity a try this summer if you have yet to do so already.

Have fun and look out for the rebar sticking out of the river!

The do’s and don’t’s of tubing on the Muskegon River
By: Marshall Scheldt | Sports Editor

One of my favorite things to do in Big Rapids is float down the Muskegon River on a warm sunny day. There are things that make it fun and things that make it a drag, so I’ll do my best to give a little advice on the do’s and don’ts of tubing the Muskegon.

Buy a tube renting is a great option, but if you plan on going more than once or twice all year then it is much more cost-effective to buy a tube. Plus, since you can deflate a tube it won’t take up very much space at all.

Make a day out of it – Some of my greatest memories at Ferris happened while floating down the Muskegon and I found out the longer I spent on the river, the more fun I had.

Leave your valuables at home – Last year my friend’s sister was visiting for the weekend so we all went out to tube the river and show her a good time. My friend thought it would be a good idea to hold onto his sister’s car key for her since he had a pocket in his bathing suit. Well, there must have been a hole in his pocket because that key is currently at the bottom of the river.

Bring a floating cooler – Regardless of what beverage you’ll be drinking on the river, it’s important to keep them cool while you’re baking in the heat.

Wear sunscreen – Skin cancer is a real thing whether you believe it or not. Tans are cool until you’re dead.

Litter – By some miracle, Big Rapids was blessed with a beautiful river running through it. Lets keep the river beautiful. Don’t sink your cans and keep your trash in your cooler. Also, this translates to when you’re not on the river too. Just be respectful to your surroundings.

Be an ass – Nobody likes people who act like idiots and try to start drunken fights on the river. Be respectful to the people around you. They’re just trying to have a good time.

Get too drunk – It’s fun to have a couple while floating down the river, but remember that people can drown in rivers, especially drunk people.

Go in without a plan – My buddies and I typically get into the river at Northend Park and leave a car or two at Highbanks Park to bring us back home. If you just grab a tube and hop in the river, you’re most likely going to either get lost or have a tough time getting back to your destination.

Drink and drive – Never drink and drive. Ever. I know people like to have some drinks on the river, but if you plan on drinking then either have a sober driver or call a cab. A $6 cab ride is much cheaper than ruining yours or another person’s life because of a stupid choice.