Friends of the Rouge create virtual touring option for annual cruise event during pandemic

Posted at 10:57 AM, Jul 26, 2020

PLYMOUTH (WXYZ) — Nonprofit organizations have been hit hard by the economic turmoil the pandemic has caused. Many relying on donations or fundraising efforts were forced to get creative.

That’s what the Friends of the Rouge were faced with since they are not able to host their 12th annual Rouge Cruise event.

So, they’ve come up with a virtual plan to offer an online tour of the river. Starting in August, every Tuesday for five weeks, they will host an “UnCruise” tour online filled with commentary, narration and a question/answer segment.

The group started off as a grassroots organization back in 1986. Today, they offer programs for restoration, recreation, school education and biological monitoring.

Marie McCormick is the executive director of Friends of the Rouge.

“Interactive boots on the ground work that helps improve the Rouge River,” McCormick said.

But to do that, they need to raise funds. The ‘Rouge Cruise’ brings in about $20,000 a year. They are looking for a corporate sponsor for the virtual event that is free for anyone who wants to join. All they ask for is a $5 donation.

The virtual tour is pre-taped with the view from a GoPro on a kayak. The kayak tour starts at Zug Island and ends at the Fair Lane Estate in Dearborn.

They are hoping this drums up more interest to raise much needed funds to stay afloat.

“Every dollar that gets put into the this fundraiser goes directly back to Friends of the Rouge,” McCormick said.

For more information, go to:

Segments include:
Aug. 11 –Zug Island circumnavigation
Aug. 18 – Zug Island to Fort Street Bridge Park
Aug. 25 – Fort Street Bridge Park to the Ford Rouge Complex
Sept. 1 - Schaefer to Hubbell-Southfield CSO Facility
Sept. 8 - Melvindale to the Fair Lane Estate

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.