July 2016

Paddle Antrim Hosts More Community Paddle Events

Paddle Antrim is hosting three more community paddle events this paddling season and invites all paddlers to join them.  These relaxed, hour-long paddles are along different sections of the Chain of Lakes.  In June, Paddle Antrim hosted their first community paddle in Ellsworth and are excited to do additional events this summer within the different communities.

“These are the equivalent to community slow rides that the biking community hosts,” says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim Executive Director.  “We hope to encourage people to get out and enjoy their waterways.  Through these events we hope to provide opportunities for people to get out more and maybe try a place they have never been, knowing there is a group there for support.”

All types of paddlers are welcome – canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards.  Paddlers are responsible for bringing their own paddle craft and personal flotation device, as life vests must be worn at all times when out on the water.  All ages are welcome but those under 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian out on the water.  These events are free and no registration is required.

This season’s community slow paddles will be:

  • August 3, 2016 – Meet at 7:00 pm at Dam Beach in Elk Rapids
  • August 16, 2016 – Meet at 6:30 pm at Richardi Park in Bellaire.
  • October 1, 2016 – Meet at 2:00 pm at Thurston Park in Central Lake.

For more information please go online at http://www.paddleantrim.com, email info@paddleantrim.com or call 231-492-0171.


Paddle Antrim leads development of Chain of Lakes Water Trail

Paddle Antrim is leading the effort to create and market a new non-motorized water trail through the Chain of Lakes.  A water trail is a designated route along a river, lake, or bay specifically designed for people using small, non-motorized boats like kayaks, canoes, single sailboats or rowboats. These trails are the aquatic equivalent to a hiking trail. Water trails typically feature well-developed access and launch points, are near significant historical, environmental or cultural points of interest, and often include nearby amenities such as restaurants, hotels and campgrounds.

Paddle Antrim’s role leading the development of the water trail includes working with a long list of public and private sector partners.  Units of government throughout the Chain from Ellsworth to Elk Rapids, along with Chambers of Commerce in Ellsworth, Bellaire, Central Lake, and Elk Rapids, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Antrim Conservation District and Short’s Brewing Company are part of a growing list of supporters who are involved in trail planning in their area.

Many significant shore lands have already been protected as parks and natural areas within the Chain of Lakes which are great assets for a water trail.  In 2014, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy developed an inventory of potential access points for the water trail.  We appreciate being able to use this information as a foundation to continue moving the project forward.

Paddle Antrim is currently developing a water trail plan that will identify all of the different  access points and a variety of potential routes throughout the watershed.  The plan will include a list of recommended future improvements which may include better parking areas, universally accessible kayak and canoe sites, enhanced restroom facilities, signage, and places to clean watercraft to discourage the spread of invasive species.  We look forward to sharing this plan by the end of the year with local units of government and other project partners for their consideration.


Paddle Antrim is deeply committed to the stewardship of the waterways. We are excited about the opportunity to integrate information about water quality protection and stewardship into the planning and marketing effort for the water trail. With the support of many partner organizations, we will prioritize information on invasive species and other concerns into our marketing materials.  We hope to develop and install some modest signage at strategic access points along the route that provides information about ways that recreational users can support and sustain on-going efforts to preserve and manage lands and shorelines to maintain high water quality. This includes sharing information on leaving no trace and paddler ethics as well as about the on-going efforts and leadership of local watershed groups, lake associations, and others and their important water quality monitoring and protection work.