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Paddle Antrim Festival offers great experience on Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes Water Trail

Paddling is becoming an even more popular recreational activity and Paddle Antrim is offering paddlers a great way to get out on the water with the fourth annual Paddle Antrim Festival, September 13-15th. This Festival celebrates Northern Michigan’s waters and communities and highlights the diversity of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.

The Paddle Antrim Festival is a fun, non-competitive event where paddlers can enjoy being out on Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes. There are opportunities for all levels of paddlers and can choose one or two days with many distance options available. This Festival includes three days of live music, great food and drinks 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 Lake. 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 weekend stress-free, meals and shuttle service can be added.

“We are excited to offer a paddling experience for all levels of paddlers 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 kicks off Thursday night with live music and food available for the entire community. 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 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 supports Paddle Antrim’s mission to protect the waterway by focusing on stewardship, education, and increasing access through development of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.

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.

Local Paddling Classes – Great experience for more fun on the water

Paddle Antrim is excited to offer kayaking and paddleboarding classes this summer in Northern Michigan. These are great classes for beginners and for those who have been paddling for a while but have never had any formal training. These interactive on the water classes are great fun for learning how to paddle more efficiently and make sure you are safe while out on the water.  Classes offered include both adult and kid specific classes.

“Paddling season is here and safety on the water is a high priority for us,” says Deana Jerdee, executive director of Paddle Antrim. “We are pleased to be able to offer these great opportunities locally to give people the information and skills they need to have a fun and safe time out on the water. We are especially excited to offer a fun and unique experience for kids which includes kayaks sized just for them.”

All classes are taught by American Canoe Association certified instructors. Classes are limited, with a maximum student to teacher ratio of 5 to 1, ensuring great interaction and instruction. All kid classes and those taught on July 6th & 7th include all necessary gear free of charge but early registration is recommended.

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

About Paddle Antrim

Paddle Antrim is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to protect our water resources by using paddle sports to connect people to our waterways. Through stewardship, education, improved water trail access, and promotion of our waterways we will increase water resources protection and enhance the economic vitality of the region.

Paddle Antrim Awards over $3,800 in Grants for the Region

Paddle Antrim announced it will award $3,835 to two projects that benefit Northern Michigan’s waterways through its Ripple Effect Mini Grant Program.

“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 Village of Bellaire was awarded funding for continued development of a non-motorized boat launch at Richardi Park for the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.  Antrim County Emergency Management was awarded funding for an 800 mHz radio specialized for emergency communications to be used during special events and trainings for emergency responders.

“We are excited to work with over 17 different partners, like the Village of Bellaire, in developing the Chain of Lakes Water Trail,” says Jerdee.  “It is because of their dedication and the support of many champions and supporters that we will be successful in developing a pristine water trail to provide a quality experience 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 October 2018. 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 abundant paddling experiences this summer in Northern Michigan

Bellaire, MI – Paddling is becoming an even more popular recreational activity and Paddle Antrim is offering many ways for people to get out on the water this year.  “We want to get more people out on the water for a fun and safe experience this summer,” said Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim Executive Director. “From relaxed paddles to classes to large festivals – there is something for everyone.”

Paddle Antrim hosts regular community paddles throughout the region to encourage paddlers to try new areas, including a family friendly rafting trip on the Jordan River. In addition, classes are available for kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing – many include use of gear for those who may not own any yet.

These classes are excellent for those who are new to the sport as well as those who have been paddling but never had any formal training. After 10 years of kayaking, Casey Clement took a class last year. “As our paddle class instructor so eloquently put it, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’,” said Clement. “Turns out I knew even less than I thought! Taking the kayak classes helped make me a more efficient, and safer, paddler.”

Paddle Antrim’s also hosts one of the best non-competitive paddling events in the region, the Paddle Antrim Festival, which attracts paddlers from across the state and the nation. This three day festival, September 13-15, includes a fun, non-competitive kayak event where paddlers can enjoy being out on Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes Water Trail. There are opportunities for all levels of paddlers, from beginners to advanced, to enjoy a great time both on and off the water. People choose to paddle one or both days and choose the distance they want to travel. This Festival includes three days of live music, great food and drinks all weekend long for both paddlers and the entire community.

The Paddle Antrim is launching their summer season on June 7th with a Summer Kick-Off Event at Short’s Brewing Company’s Production Facility, 211 Industrial Park in Elk Rapids, from 6:00-8:30 pm. In addition to information on Paddle Antrim and their events, Short’s will double all donations to Paddle Antrim and each donor will get a beer for just $1. Paddle Antrim invites everyone to come out, enjoy great food and drinks, and get ready for a fun season out on the water.

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

About Paddle Antrim

Paddle Antrim is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to protect our water resources by using paddle sports to connect people to our waterways.  Through stewardship, education, improved water trail access, and promotion of our waterways we will increase water resources protection and enhance the economic vitality of the region.

Paddle Antrim Warns of Cold Water Temperatures

Bellaire, MI (April 26, 2018) – While temperatures in Northern Michigan are warming up, Paddle Antrim warns paddlers to take precautions to protect themselves from heightened dangers of sudden, unexpected cold water immersion while on early season paddling outings.

“As our spring air temperatures are warming, the water temperatures are still cold and so paddlers need to take extra steps to protect themselves from the dangers of being suddenly swamped or stranded in cold water,” Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim Executive Director said. “We want everyone to know the risks of cold water. We ask paddlers to stay off the water until it warms or make sure to take the right precautions which may save your life.”

Right now water temperatures are about 40 degrees and so a full immersion drysuit with insulating layers is necessary. Sudden immersion in cold water can cause gasping and inhalation of water and hypothermia, resulting in unconsciousness or swimming failure as muscles become numb. Wearing a life jacket may keep your head above water and support your body should your swimming ability fail or you become unconscious.

Should you ever find yourself in the water it is recommended that you stay with – and preferably on top of – your boat. Never overestimate your swimming ability. All too often people underestimate the distance to shore or the effects of cold water and unfortunately drown while attempting to make it to safety.

Paddle Antrim makes the following recommendations to boaters heading out on the water:

  • Always wear a properly fitted life jacket. Simply stated, life jackets save lives;
  • Dress for the water temperature;
  • Avoid boating alone and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Have a cell phone or VHF radio accessible, in a watertight bag, should you need to call for help;
  • Carry essential safety gear, signaling devices and whistles; and
  • Refrain from using alcohol.

Finally, Paddle Antrim recommends that all boaters take a safety class. Paddle Antrim is offering classes for all types of paddle sports this year. Registration and more information can be found at www.paddleantrim.com/events or 231-492-0171.

 

Paddle Antrim Festival Updates

We are excited to host the 4th annual Paddle Antrim Festival this September 13-15th.  This is going to be a great year as we took this awesome event and made changes to incorporate even more paddlers while keeping paddler safety our top priority.

This year all types of kayaks and canoes will be able to participate on Day 1, which goes from Ellsworth to Bellaire – up to 15 miles through 5 different lakes. All kayaks and canoes will also be able to participate on Day 2 up to the first checkpoint, Dockside Restaurant Beach.  This is a great 9-mile paddle through Lake Bellaire, the Grass River Natural Area, and Clam Lake.

Past this checkpoint, are Torch Lake, Lake Skegemog, and Elk Lake. These lakes are larger and the course is further from the shore. We have added more stringent requirements to crafts past this point, allowing longer kayaks that have the capability of a deep-water self-rescue to proceed.

The Festival will continue to have great celebrations each day beginning Thursday night in Ellsworth. We are moving the Kick-Off Party to where check-in occurs so after dropping off your boat, you can relax and enjoy time with other paddlers while listening to great live music and enjoy delicious food. Friday will continue with a great time at Bellaire’s Block Party and we will end with a bang at our Final Bash. We are excited to have our top sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company host us for live music, brews, and delicious food to end the weekend right.  We look forward to seeing even more paddlers out on the water this year! You can find the complete updated rules online. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us – 231-492-0171 or info@paddleantrim.com.

Applications Being Accepted for Paddle Antrim’s Ripple Effect Mini Grant Program

Paddle Antrim is accepting applications for their bi-annual Ripple Effect Mini Grant Program. This competitive grant program funds projects that protect the waterways and connect people to them. Potential projects must focus on stewardship, education, or increasing accessibility to the lakes and rivers.

In the past three years, Paddle Antrim has awarded over $15,000 from income earned through their events.  Projects must be focused on the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed or adjacent watersheds which impact Antrim County. Eligible applicants include Michigan-based non-profit organizations or governmental entities.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday April 20, 2018 to be considered. More information can be found online at www.paddleantrim.com/ripple-effect.

Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Awards

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

“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 $2,000 toward the development a non-motorized boat launch at Richardi Park.
  • Antrim Conservation District was awarded $1,000 toward improving the Spencer Creek Rain Garden in Alden, which captures storm water runoff in Spencer Creek before flowing into Torch Lake.

“The Spencer Creek Rain Garden is a great project in the heart of Alden to showcase how rain gardens are beneficial to water quality protection,” says Jerdee.  “It’s a great example for residents who are looking for ideas on how they can help improve water quality.”

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 April 2018. 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 awarded grant for Chain of Lakes Water Trail

Paddle Antrim recently received a Charlevoix County Community Foundation grant to develop wayfinding signs for the upper portion of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail during their 2017 fall grant cycle.

The Chain of Lakes Water Trail is a vast waterway which includes 15 connected lakes and rivers in Antrim, Charlevoix, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse counties. It is designed for people using small, non-motorized watercraft like kayaks and canoes. There are over sixty miles of identified routes with choices for all levels of paddlers to enjoy. While the routes and access sites have been identified, this grant provides the next step to improve the trail by developing wayfinding signs to install so people can have a quality experience while using the trail.

Development of the water trail is one of Paddle Antrim’s program areas whose mission is to protect the water resources by using paddle sports to connect people to the waterways.  “By developing and installing signs, we can engage more people while out on the water,” says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. “When people have fun and positive experiences on the water, they fall in love with a place. It’s this sense of care that leads to a curiosity about what makes a place special and nurtures an instinct to protect it.”

Paddle Antrim is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization who through stewardship, education, improved water trail access, and promotion of the waterways will increase water resources protection and enhance the economic vitality of the region.  More information on Paddle Antrim and the Chain of Lakes Water Trail can be found at www.paddleantrim.com or by calling 231-492-0171.

The Charlevoix County Community Foundation is a local charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all citizens of Charlevoix County by building a permanent endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership resources to serve the community. More information about the Charlevoix County Community Foundation may be found at www.c3f.org or by calling 231-536-2440.

Your end of year support means so much

Recently, I met a woman who shared her excitement about watching minks play along the shore near Central Lake. When I asked where else on the Chain of Lakes she has visited, she admitted that while she was born here, she has not explored beyond her home and Village parks because she wasn’t sure where to go.

We need your support to help us improve access to and protect the water quality of our lakes and rivers.

By improving access, we can engage more people out on the water. When people have fun and positive experiences on the water, they fall in love with a place. It’s this sense of care that leads to a curiosity about what makes a place special and nurtures an instinct to protect it.

In the coming year, we are committed to improving access by creating the Chain of Lakes Water Trail. Our goals for the next two years are real and tangible: by the end of 2019, we will have designed and installed signs for every water trail access site where we have approved agreements with site owners. We need your support to make the vision of an accessible and well-marked water trail connecting villages, parks, and natural areas through the Chain of Lakes a reality.

Help us open the trail and protect the lakes and rivers you love. Please consider supporting all the work we do with a year-end 100% tax deductible donation.

Warmest Regards,
Deana Jerdee
Executive Director

PS. Paddle Antrim relies on donors just like you for supporting our operational expenses so we can focus on implementing the water trail program, outreach/safety events and other great programs.

(Photo Credit: Matthew Malpass)