Tag: Water Trail

Chain of Lakes Water Trail first designated water trail in Northern Michigan

Paddle Antrim is pleased to announce the Chain of Lakes Water Trail is the first designated water trail in Northern Michigan. The State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources recently designated eight water trails as part of its newly developed statewide water trail program. Water trails, a designated route along a river or lake designed for non-motorized watercraft like kayaks and canoes, positively impact the local economy, encourage healthy lifestyles, provide a sense of community and place, and encourage preservation of waterways.

“Water trails are a wonderful way to connect local residents and visitors to the amazing waters of Northern Michigan,” said Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim Executive Director. “This water trail will not only have a significant positive impact on our local economy but will get people out and active on the water. We believe when people are engaged on the water, they will work to protect our water quality as well as our native plants and animals.”

The Chain of Lakes Water Trail, led by Paddle Antrim, is an extensive trail with over 80 miles of routes through 14 pristine lakes and rivers. This water trail is a regional effort, with 81 access sites owned/managed by 17 governmental jurisdictions and non-profit organizations that stretches through four counties in Northwest Michigan (Antrim, Charlevoix, Kalkaska, and Grand Traverse).

From the small upper lakes to Torch Lake, Michigan’s second largest inland lake, there is an incredible diversity of paddling opportunities, making it a destination for all paddlers. Paddler experiences include wildlife viewing, natural areas best explored paddle craft, sunken ships, island exploration, and great fishing opportunities. The communities of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden and Elk Rapids are located along the trail and make great destinations for launching, exiting, or just taking a break.

Paddle Antrim is dedicated to a quality experience for paddlers out on the water, providing more than just the logistics of the trail.  Whether it is information on where to stop for ice cream, how to remove invasive species from your boat, or what kind of gear should you have, all of those messages are important to have a positive experience. Paddle Antrim continues to work to improve the trail and was recently awarded a grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City to continue this work.

During the paddling season, Paddle Antrim offers community paddle events and classes to get people active, out on the water, and improving their skills.  They also host the annual Paddle Antrim Festival, a two-day non-competitive paddle through the water trail and local events in each of the communities.  For more information on Paddle Antrim and the Chain of Lakes Water Trail go to www.paddleantrim.com

The original Michigan DNR Press Release (12/20/18) can be found at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDNR/bulletins/223bbe4?fbclid=IwAR0I0NN0LT6M0lZxRyIGNv33JxbHjiR4vpPcr4fyu5vJxXaiu3Q-yAhqOf4

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 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 Launches Chain of Lakes Water Trail and Challenge Grant Opportunity

Paddle Antrim is excited to launch the first phase of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, a premier paddling opportunity for paddlers in Northern Michigan. This water trail will provide a wonderful way for both residents and visitors to connect to and enjoy the diverse lakes and rivers of the region.

A 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. The first phase of implementation includes development of directional and informational signage for all access sites, coordination with access site owners, and planning of future infrastructure improvements.

The Chain of Lakes Water Trail highlights the wide-range of paddling opportunities for all levels of paddlers as well as the wonderful hospitality from the small and vibrant communities. With protected shorelines of natural areas, sunken ships, spectacular fishing, and crystal blue water, the Chain of Lakes has it all. Along the route, paddlers can explore the charming villages of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden, and Elk Rapids. These communities offer wonderful facilities for launching as well as provide other needs such as great restaurants, many places to stay and even places to rent equipment.

“Water Trails are a great way to promote stewardship of our resources while improving the economy of the local communities,” says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. The upcoming Paddle Antrim Festival on September 15-16th highlights this where over 150 kayakers will paddle portions of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and enjoy celebrations in the communities all weekend long.

Right now Paddle Antrim is launching the first phase of implementation of the water trail plan and is looking to raise $25,000. To help support Paddle Antrim and the water trail efforts, two generous donors are offering opportunities for donors to double their impact. New donors giving up to $500 will be matched by the Dole Family Foundation up to $1,500. All other donations will be matched by Short’s Brewing Company up to $2,500. Help us reach our take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to double your impact today.

For more information on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, Paddle Antrim Festival or to double your donation, go to www.paddleantrim.com or contact them at 231-492-0171 or info@paddleantrim.com.

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.