Category: Blog

Accepting Applications for Fall Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Program


Paddle Antrim is accepting applications for the Ripple Effect Mini Grant Program.  This competitive grant program funds projects that protect waterways and connect people to them.  The program focuses on projects related to stewardship, education and increasing accessibility to the lakes and rivers.

“This is a great opportunity for non-profits and governmental entities to expand existing programs or help fund a new initiative,” says Deana Jerdee, executive director.  “After awarding over $6,800 in our first year, we are excited to embark on our second year of this bi-annual grant program.”

Grants may be use for water resource stewardship projects such as controlling invasive species, education projects for boaters or the community, and improving public access sites for non-motorized boats.  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 November 11, 2016 to be considered in this round.  More information can be found online at


Unique Paddling Experience in Northern Michigan

Paddle Antrim is ready to celebrate Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes at the Paddle Antrim Festival September 15-17th.  This event is highlighted by a two-day kayak paddle through Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes and includes community events all weekend long for the entire community.

This non-competitive kayak event offers paddlers the option to paddle one or two days, September 16-17th, and go anywhere from 7 miles to 42 miles through four quaint villages with many exit points along the route.  This event includes lunch every day for the paddlers as they make their way from Ellsworth to Elk Rapids, where the water enters East Grand Traverse Bay.  To make the event stress-free, shuttle service can be added at time of registration. Registration for the paddling event closes September 8th.

In addition to the paddle, the local communities come together to host events open to the entire community each day along the route.  Thursday September 15th, the event starts off with the Kick-off Party from 5:30-8:00 pm at the Ellsworth Community Park.  There will be great live music from Kellerville as well as opportunities for great food and delectable desserts.  The party continues Friday afternoon from 1:30-4:30 in Bellaire’s Richardi Park with music by Kenny T, outdoor games, and community booths for all to enjoy.

The Festival ends Saturday night with a bang at the Final Bash held at Short’s Brewing Company’s Production Facility (211 Industrial Park Dr. Elk Rapids).  This family friendly event features great food by Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen, brews from Short’s Brewing Company, and live music by Valentiger.  There will be outdoor games for everyone to enjoy.  The Final Bash is from 3:00-9:00 pm and entry is $5, free for those under 12 and a max of $15 per family.  Entry is included in registration for paddlers.

The Paddle Antrim Festival not only encourages folks to get out and celebrate but also raises money for the protection of the waterways and increasing accessibility to the waterways for all.  Paddle Antrim is a non-profit organization and uses a portion of the money raised to providing grants for projects focused on water resources education, stewardship, and increasing access to the water for everyone.

“We are looking forward to another great time both on and off the water to celebrate these amazing waters with the paddlers and the communities.  We appreciate the great support we have the local communities, sponsors, and paddlers for our mission and this unique paddling event,” said Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director.  “We especially thank our top two sponsors Short’s Brewing Company and Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen for all their support.  We look forward to celebrating the pristine waters and enjoying a wonderful paddle and local hospitality.”

For registration or additional information, please go online at, email or call 231-492-0171.

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, email 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.

Spring 2016 Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Awards

IMG_8330Paddle Antrim announced it will award over $2,400 to three projects that will help benefit Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes region through education, water resources protection, and increasing access to the water.

“We are very pleased to be able to award our Ripple Effect grants to these great projects.  Each project helps 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 projects are:

  • Antrim Conservation District, in partnership with Helena Township, will install a kayak slide to provide an additional access point for paddlers on the Chain of Lakes at the Alden Ball Park.
  • The Upper Chain of Lakes Association will be do maintenance on the educational buoys that identify the no-wake zones on portions of the Upper Chain of Lakes.
  • The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will upgrade their Bay Monitor, a 23’ eco-friendly aluminum hulled tugboat which is used for water quality monitoring, research, and educational purposes.

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 the fall.  To learn more about Paddle Antrim or the Ripple Effect Grant Program, please visit


First Evening Paddle June 17th in Ellsworth

Paddle Antrim invites all paddlers to join them Friday June 17th for their first evening 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 paddlers must bring their own paddle craft and personal flotation device (lifevest). 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 17th at 7:00 pm. Grab your friends, make some new ones, and enjoy a relaxing paddle out on this great lake.

Paddle Antrim Awards over $3,900 in Grants for the Chain of Lakes Region

Paddle Antrim announced it will award over $3900 to four projects that will help benefit Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes region through education, water resources protection, and increasing access to the water.

The four awardees are:

Antrim County Emergency Management – To assist with water rescue training for all fire departments, Antrim County Emergency Management will purchase an adult CPR water rescue manikin ($925).

Grass River Natural Area, Inc. – Grass River will launch a “Links in the Chain Outreach Initiative” to educate residents and visitors on water and stream ecology, which will include an interactive stream table ($1,000).

Intermediate Lake Association – Intermediate Lake Association will continue their dissolved oxygen monitoring program in Intermediate Lake ($1,000).

Milton Township – Milton Township will install a universally accessible kayak launch and a water trail head at Kewadin Waterfront Park ($1,000).

“We are very pleased to be able to launch the Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Program in Paddle Antrim’s first year,” says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim’s Executive Director.  “We received many excellent applications and are very excited to help fund four excellent projects for the region.”

Paddle Antrim’s Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Program awards grants through a competitive review process 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 the spring.  To learn more, visit our Ripple Effect Mini-Grant Program.

Because of Water – Elk Rapids Rotary Park

There’s a lot of great things that are happening in Northern Michigan related to water and one group is helping to tell a little of the story.

A dedicated group of individuals from Elk Rapids including the Rotary, Parks and Recreation Commission, Historical Society and local businesses are making history come to life by explaining the history of the area’s relationship with the waterways.  When headed south on  US-31 through Elk Rapids, the first thing you will notice in Rotary Park is the absolutely amazing map showing the region’s lakes which takes up the building’s entire north wall.  Storyboards have be installed in the pavilion’s interior and more are being installed on the outside.  They tell the stories of the river’s stumps, local shipwrecks, and more.  We are excited there is even one with Paddle Antrim Festival route.

In addition to the wonderful information and great pavilion for picnics or resting, there’s a great kayak launch with parking.  This is a great place for paddlers to learn about the area and launch for a trip through Elk Lake.  Next time you are in the area, make sure to stop by and check this great little spot out.

Paddle Antrim Raffling off Kayak & Paddle Board

Win yourself a new kayak or paddle board!  We teamed up with Bellaire Rotary for a Kayak Raffle to raise money for our communities and precious waters here in Northern Michigan.

1st- 12′ Daggar Axis kayak with paddle and car accessories

2nd – 10′ Pelican paddle board and paddle

3rd – $250 cash

4th-10th – $50

We want to especially thank Backcountry North of Traverse City & Alden Marine & Sport for your support with the prizes.

Raffle tickets are available now at: Edward Jones (Bellaire), Paddles & Pedals (Bellaire) or Bellaire Chamber (Bellaire), Alden State Bank locations (Alden, Bellaire, Central Lake & Elk Rapids), Alden Outfitters (Alden & Bellaire) and more locations to come.

Paddle Antrim Offers Intro Kayaking Classes

Ever wanted to learn to kayak?  Maybe you have been out a few times in a kayak but want to feel more comfortable out on the water?

Paddle Antrim is offering half-day Introduction to Kayaking classes on August 16th, 17th, and 18th throughout Antrim County.  Participants will learn the basics to get them out on the water and off to the right start.  The class will go over the equipment, the fundamentals of moving these long boats around, and capsize recovery techniques.  This class is on the water so students will learn and practice basic paddling strokes, rescue techniques, and deep-water re-entry. This ACA-certified course is designed for beginning kayakers looking to get into the sport and give it a try.  Class sizes are limited to just five participants to ensure great interaction and instruction.


For registration or additional information, go online , email or call 231-492-0171.