they're likely to know. If I ran smack into one, I might check with them about local river conditions. But having driven around the perimeter of the lower peninsula, and across the top of the UP, without even *seeing* what I would call a real paddling shop (rather than a rec boat rental), I don't believe your claim that Michigan has some wealth of so-called knowledge.
And I can't understand why you think people could get the same questions answered in average paddling shops that they can get answered here. There are precious few paddling shops that have that kind of knowledge.
Free Standing Boat Racks
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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