June 2017

Paddle Antrim Festival offers great experience on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail


Paddling is becoming an even more popular recreational activity and Paddle Antrim is offering kayakers a great way to get out on the water with the third annual Paddle Antrim Festival. This Festival celebrates Northern Michigan’s waters and communities and highlights the diversity of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.

This two day festival, September 15-16, is a fun, non-competitive kayak event where paddlers can enjoy being out on Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes. There are opportunities for all levels of paddlers, from beginners to advanced, to enjoy a great time both on and off the water. Kayakers can choose to paddle one or both days and choose the distance they want to travel. Those looking for a relaxed paddle may exit after 7 miles, while those looking for a challenge may continue up to 42 miles, with many exit points in between to make it the ideal paddle for anyone. This Festival includes live music, great food and drinks all weekend long for both paddlers and the entire community.

This event highlights the wide-range of paddling opportunities that Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes provides. The first day begins with a series of small calm lakes which is a must-see, perfect for all paddlers. The second day you can explore up to five lakes and two rivers including the tranquil Grass River Natural Area and the crystal blue waters of larger lakes such as Torch and Elk Lakes. Over the two days paddlers will enjoy the charming communities of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden, and Elk Rapids as they make their way down the waterway. To make the event stress-free, meals and shuttle service can be added at the time of registration.

“We are excited to offer a paddling experience for all levels of kayakers to get out on the water”, says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. “This is a great opportunity to highlight the different types of paddling the Chain of Lakes Water Trail offers and have the entire region come together to celebrate the remarkable waterways and region we live in.”

Beyond great paddling, the weekend is filled with great food and festivities.  Beginning Thursday night, each day there are local events with music and refreshments open to all. The Festival ends with a bang at the Final Bash Saturday night in Elk Rapids hosted by the Festival’s top sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company. This all-ages party is for paddlers and the entire community to come out and enjoy live music and great food and drinks. Short’s Brewing Company and Festival sponsor, Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen, will be there serving up the most amazing food and finest brews for all to enjoy.

The Paddle Antrim Festival not only encourages folks to get out and enjoy the lakes and rivers but also raises money to support Paddle Antrim’s mission to protect the waterway, focusing on stewardship, education, and increasing access for all to the waterways through development of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail. The water trail, the aquatic equivalent of a hiking trail for non-motorized boats, provides information on available access sites and paddling experiences for everyone to enjoy all season long. By working with local jurisdictions and other supporters and champions, Paddle Antrim is leading efforts to create a premier water trail for all to enjoy in Northern Michigan.

For additional information on Paddle Antrim, the Chain of Lakes Water Trail or Paddle Antrim Festival, go online http://www.paddleantrim.com or contact Paddle Antrim at info@paddleantrim.com or 231-492-0171.


$3,000 in Ripple Effect Grants Awarded

Paddle Antrim recently awarded $3,000 to three projects that benefit Northern Michigan’s waterways through their Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Program.

“We are so excited to support these great projects. 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:

  • The Village of Bellaire was awarded $1,500 toward the initial planning to develop a non-motorized boat launch at Richardi Park.
  • Conservation Resource Alliance was awarded $1,000 for development of a new recreational access site on the Jordan River at Old State Road.
  • Three Lakes Association was awarded $500 for a water quality study on Torch Lake, Clam Lake, and Lake Bellaire.

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 November 2017. To learn more about Paddle Antrim, the Ripple Effect grant program or the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, please visit www.paddleantrim.com.


Paddle Antrim Offers More Kayaking Classes

Paddle Antrim is excited to offer additional kayaking classes again this summer. They will offer an evening session of the Fundamentals of Kayaking on July 10th in Bellaire. This is a great class for beginners or for those who have been paddling for a while and want to learn basic safety skills and improve technique. Classes will include both land and water instruction. They will also offer a full day Level 1-2 Coastal Kayaking Class on July 11th in Ellsworth. This class will cover the fundamentals but also go into even more detail on paddling and rescue techniques.

“We had great success with the classes we offered in June and want to provide even more opportunities for people to learn how to be safe on the water,” says Deana Jerdee, executive director of Paddle Antrim.

Classes are American Canoe Association certified courses and will be led by Michael Gray of Uncommon Adventures who has almost 30 years of experience. If participants do not yet have a kayak, the instructor will be able to provide one. Class sizes are limited, with a maximum student to teacher ratio of 5 to 1, ensuring great interaction and instruction.  Registration ranges from $95-$155.

For registration or additional information, go online http://www.paddleantrim.com/events-calendar or contact Paddle Antrim at info@paddleantrim.com or 231-492-0171.


Ellsworth Pig Roast Evening Paddle

Paddle Antrim invites all paddlers to join them Friday evening on June 16th for a community paddle, part of the Ellsworth Pig Roast Celebration. This relaxed, hour-long paddle will travel down the calm waters of Ellsworth Lake. All types of paddlers are welcome – canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards. All participants must bring their own paddle craft and personal flotation device (i.e. life vest). All ages are welcome but those under 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian out on the water. No registration is required. To participate, meet at River Park (Bridge St/Rushton Rd in Ellsworth) on June 16th at 6:30 pm to check in and we will leave promptly at 7. Grab your friends, make some new ones, and enjoy a relaxing paddle out on this great lake. For more information please go online at http://www.paddleantrim.com, email info@paddleantrim.com or call 231-492-0171.