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 or contact them at 231-492-0171 or