December 2016

Paddle Antrim Awards $3,000 in Ripple Effect Grants

Paddle Antrim announced it will award $3,000 to three projects that benefit Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes region through education, water resources protection, and increasing access to the water.

“We are so excited to support a second round of great projects this year. Our Ripple Effect grant program provides a wonderful way for us to expand our impact by funding projects that support our mission of protecting our waterways and connecting people to these amazing waters through paddling” says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim’s Executive Director. The awards are for the following projects:

  • Three Lakes Association, in coordination with Grass River Natural Area, was awarded $800 to install signage on Grass River which explains the large woody debris project. This demonstration project, implemented by a collaboration of entities, was designed to study whether log structures can improve aquatic habitat in a river with heavy sediment and improve channel navigability by deepening portions of a channel.
  • Milton Township was awarded $1,600 to add kayak racks and a sidewalk connector to their kayak launch at Milton Township Waterfront Park in Kewadin. This will be the first universal access kayak launch on the Chain of Lakes and is slated to be installed in the spring of 2017.
  • The Village of Elk Rapids was awarded $600 toward upgrading the wind screen shades at the Rotary Park Pavilion. This pavilion is adjacent to the existing kayak launch on the Elk River and hosts a wonderful display “Because of Water” which explains the history of water in the region.

“The large woody debris project is a great example of many organizations in the region collaborating on improving our lakes and rivers and we are happy to play a part,” says Jerdee.  “Both the Milton Township and Elk Rapids projects are helping improve access sites for paddlers, which is important as we develop our region into a premier destination for paddlers.”

Paddle Antrim’s Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Program awards grant to local non-profit and governmental organizations whose projects align with their mission to protect the water resources and enhance the economic vitality of the region through stewardship, education, improved water trail access and promotion of the waterways.  The next round of funding will be in May 2017.  To learn more about the large woody debris project, visit To learn more about Paddle Antrim, the Ripple Effect grant program or the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, please visit


Thank you, help us continue to grow

Hello friend,

While out on the water this year we heard so many great stories. We heard from a gentleman who returned to the Chain of Lakes for the first time in fifty years to visit the lake where he spent countless summers at as a child. We heard from paddlers who traveled to participate in the Paddle Antrim Festival having never before been to northern Michigan. We heard from a couple that traveled to the Festival and who got engaged while participating in the event. We heard from experienced paddlers who were proud to complete the 42-mile paddle route at the Festival in September. We heard from community members who are not paddlers who joined the Final Bash in Elk Rapids and shared their excitement about the event and our mission.

Your stories matter to us, and we love to hear them!

Your connection to the Chain of Lakes waterway is why we exist. Like you, we are passionate about the opportunity to protect water quality and connect with nature. Like you, we are proud of the character, people, and businesses in Elk Rapids, Ellsworth, Bellaire, Alden, and Central Lake, and we want to let more people know about these places and how to enjoy them. We are excited to create opportunities for people to get out on the water and have fun. Your support and participation translates this passion and our mission into action.

This year, we celebrated several outcomes and impacts:

  • The Paddle Antrim Festival in September saw a 50% increase in participation from last year. 76% of these paddlers traveled to the Festival from outside of our region.
  • Over 400 paddlers, friends, and local residents participated in Festival events all weekend long.
  • We launched a community paddle series and invited all types of paddle crafts and individuals to join us on the water this year.  Almost 100 people gathered for fun-filled evenings throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
  • We continued the Ripple Effect grant program, which supports mission-focused work led by other non-profits and governments whose work complements Paddle Antrim’s water access, water quality education, and stewardship goals. To date, we have invested over $6,000 in mission-focused projects.
  • We led the process to create a Water Trail Plan for the Chain of Lakes waterway. To date, 14 units of government and non-profit access site owners have approved a total of 74 sites for inclusion on the water trail. Our goal is to work with businesses, organizations, supporters, and champions so we can create, manage, and maintain a premier water trail within the State of Michigan. Our board of directors will review and approve the Water Trail Plan in December. We look forward to unveiling it in 2017, and sharing a plan for access sites, routes, signage, marketing, and water trail stewardship.

With just two years of service as a non-profit under our belts, we are excited about all that has been accomplished with your support and encouragement. We ask you to join us to continue the momentum.

We have an exciting opportunity to double all donations between now and the end of the year.  A generous donor will match all donations from new or existing donors up to $15,000 that are made before the end of the year.  Please help us take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to double your impact today. Your gift will help continue efforts to provide access, education and stewardship of the Chain of Lakes waterway, and will help to kick-start efforts to implement the Water Trail Plan.

You can donate securely at, or by sending a check made out to Paddle Antrim to PO BOX 205, Bellaire, MI 49615.

Your leadership is so important to these efforts. Thank you so much for your support.

With sincere thanks,

Deana Jerdee, Executive Director

P.S. When you make a gift of $1,000 or more, you become part of Paddle Antrim’s Sustainers Circle. Learn more about how you can become a Sustainers Circle supporter at