Not far from here, a beautiful stream flows for many miles on its journey to Lake Michigan. It flows clear and pure over sand and pebbles and under Cedar sweepers, and it is widely known for the trout that live in the shadows of its bosom. Recently, a major effort commenced to demolish and remove three dams that have impeded its natural flow for many decades. In the wake of this rebirth of the Boardman River, a movement has emerged rename the her. The river was named after one Harry Boardman who owned and operated a lumber company upstream from Traverse City. He never lived in the area and only came up on occasion to oversee his business. Four years after starting the business, he sold it to Perry Hanna and Tracy Lay, who are credited with making Traverse City what it is today.
It seems that the Boardman was called the Ottawa or Ottaway river by the native American tribes that lived on its shores and fished its waters. These tribes would have been the Chippewa and Ottawa bands. Ottawa…Ottaway. Both wonderful words and names and they roll off your tongue much easier than Boardman. The Boardman has deep and traditional meaning for many and rightly so. But really, with all that was stolen from the indians, do we have to take their names from them as well. When you get to the heart of the issue, everything had an Indian name before the white man came along and to be fair, many of those names still exist.
I support restoring the river to its natural flow and I support restoring it to its natural name. It just sounds better….