This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Laird's Landing

Just to the east of Rensselaer, State Highway 114 crosses the tiny Iroquois River. Northeast of the bridge is a public access site to the river named Laird's Landing.

I searched the Internet for any information available about this place, and I expected some because the sign indicates that it has a connection with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. I found almost nothing. I knew that Wally Laird, a local farmer and very early morning radio announcer, was instrumental in establishing this site. So I asked some people who know a lot and I got mixed messages. They told me to talk to Wally Laird.
So I called Wally Laird. He told me that he had donated the land to the city, and the city had transferred it to the Park Board. Wally was on the Park Board at the time and they wanted more parks. Now you know, Rensselaer has a city park outside the city limits. (I still do not know why the sign shown above is there (or Wally Laird was on the Park Board).

Here is Laird's Landing from the highway. In addition to plenty of room for parking and a large, ugly billboard, there is a boat ramp to the river if you are launching a boat from a boat trailer and also a separate place to launch kayaks, canoes, and rafts. Not too many people raft or canoe down through Rensselear, but it is an adventure that is on my list (as an alternative) of interesting things to do in Rensselaer and I may write about that experience in some far distant post.
You might notice a strange antenna on the bridge with a notice to stay away. It is part of the river gauging station. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains an extensive network of these stations across the country. You can access most of the information that they provide from your computer. For example, to see what this station is seeing right now, click here.
I wanted to see if I could find where this station actually measures the water, so I went under the bridge and searched. I did not see anything. Maybe Ed can tell us how it is done--he works for the USGS.

You can walk upriver north and east of Laird's Landing following a two-rut road. There is something historic and maybe even interesting upriver. But that will have to wait for another post.

1 comment:

Ed said...

This is how we measure water levels:

Neat, huh?