Tag: Chain of Lakes

Improvements planned for Elk Rapids Rotary Park

Paddle Antrim is working with the Village of Elk Rapids to design improvements to Rotary Park. This project will include identified improvements and provide opportunities for community input.  “Improvements to Rotary Park, including a kayak launch, were identified in the Village of Elk Rapids’ Recreation Survey in 2017,” says Caroline Kennedy, Elk Rapids Assistant Village Manager. “We appreciate Paddle Antrim’s support in securing the funding for this project and look forward to working with the entire community to better utilize this beautiful park.”

Paddle Antrim is leading the development of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and Rotary Park is a key access site for the water trail. This water trail is one of eight state-designated water trails and the only one in Northern Michigan. Paddlers can explore over 80 miles of trail through sixteen different lakes and rivers, providing a variety of different paddling experiences for all levels. “The Village of Elk Rapids is a key community on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and Rotary Park is the ideal location for paddlers to begin or end a quality paddling experience, “says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim Executive Director.  “We are excited to work with the Village and other partners to make improvements, including a universal kayak launch to assist those with varying levels of mobility be able to access the water.  This project would not be possible without the generous support of many organizations.” 

Generous funding for this project was provided by Elk Skegemog Lakes Association, Elk Rapids Rotary Club, Community Foundation, Village of Elk Rapids, Disability Network Northern Michigan, Gourdie-Frasier & Associates and individual Elk Rapids Rotarians. “Elk Skegemog Lakes Association is proud to support the improvement of access to our waterways.  We support Paddle Antrim’s water trail efforts and inclusion of stewardship of our resources as part of the trail,” says Mary Beth Kazanski, President of the Elk Skegemog Lakes Association. 

For more information on this project contact Paddle Antrim directly at info@paddleantrim.com or 231-492-0171 or go online at 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.

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.